NYON, Switzerland — Real Madrid will face Manchester United in the second round of the European Champions League, a matchup that sends Cristiano Ronaldo back to the stadium where he made his reputation and Jose Mourinho to the club many believe he wants to coach.
Thursday’s draw also paired favorite Barcelona and Lionel Messi against seven-time winner AC Milan.
Arsenal will face Bayern Munich, which lost to Chelsea in last season final, and high-spending Paris Saint-Germain will meet Valencia. Other pairings were Glasgow Celtic-Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk- Borussia Dortmund, Porto-Malaga, and Galatasaray-Schalke.
First-leg matches are from Feb. 12-20, with return legs of the total-goals series from March 5-13.
Madrid, a nine-time champion, hosts three-time winner United on Feb. 13, with the second leg at Old Trafford on March 5. Mourinho faces off against United manager Alex Ferguson and Ronaldo against Wayne Rooney.
“It’s a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with Jose again,” Ferguson said in comments posted on the club’s official website.
The coaches met in Manchester this month, ahead of Madrid’s group match against English champion City, adding to speculation that Mourinho covets the United job.
Mourinho is remembered for his flamboyant victory sprint down the sideline at Old Trafford when
his Porto team eliminated United in the second round in 2004, the first of Ronaldo’s six seasons in England before joining Madrid.
United defender Rio Ferdinand wrote on Twitter: “Oh yes, Madrid!! What a great couple a games that’ll be!! (at)Cristiano see u soon bro!!”
Milan had the misfortune to draw Barcelona again after being unable to beat the Catalan side in four matches in last season’s group stage and quarterfinals.
“They’re not pleased. We’re not pleased, but this is what the destiny is,” Milan director Umberto Gandini said with a smile. “We have to go over the most difficult team on the planet.”
Hours before the draw at the headquarters of the Union of European Football Associations. Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova underwent surgery on his throat and faces weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino opened the ceremony with a message to “a friend of ours. Tito, we are all with you.”
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the runaway Bundesliga leader “can be happy” with facing Arsenal, which has struggled this season.
“We can manage this. We’re going as favorites there,” Rummenigge said. “It’s important that we try to get a good result in London, to score a goal and set down a marker.”