By Mukwuzi Joseph
Manchester United has been handed a mouth-watering Champions League tie against Paris St Germain, but only after UEFA officials appeared to make a mistake during Monday’s draw.
United was first erroneously drawn against Villarreal – a side they had already been paired with within Group F.
Former Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin was asked to draw again, and neighbors Manchester City will instead head to El Madrigal, but for reasons which are unclear, United was not then put in the pot of potential opponents for Atletico Madrid, who instead got Bayern Munich.
UEFA has been contacted for comment on the draw procedures.
Liverpool will travel to face RB Salzburg, while Chelsea will continue the defense of their title against Lille, with the first legs due to being played in late February and the return fixtures in March.
United and PSG were the last two sides left in the pot at the end of the draw, setting up a fascinating tie in which Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi can renew their long-standing rivalry.
United and PSG met in Group H of last season’s Champions League. United’s 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes was among the highlights of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign, though they lost the home fixture 3-1.
But this time the build-up will be dominated by Ronaldo and Messi, who have both changed clubs since then.
The pair have met in 36 previous games, with Messi finishing on the winning side 16 times compared to Ronaldo’s 11, with Messi also having 22 goals to Ronaldo’s 21 in those matches.
The intrigue does not stop there, of course, as United’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick will come up against Mauricio Pochettino, a man known to be interested in the permanent job at Old Trafford.
Champions League Last 16:
The following is the draw for the Champions League last 16, held on Monday in Nyon, Switzerland:
Ajax Amsterdam v Inter Milan
Bayern Munich v Atletico Madrid
Juventus v Sporting Lisbon
Liverpool v RB Salzburg
Lille v Chelsea