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Barcelona face toughest rival in Champions League last-16 draw

Catalan side to play Paris Saint German, while Real Madrid take on Napoles

Ruud Gullit at Monday's Champions League draw.
Ruud Gullit at Monday's Champions League draw.FABRICE COFFRINI (AFP)

In contrast, Real Madrid once again went into the final stages of the Champions League against a weaker rival, Italian side Napoles. The team drew against Schalke in both 2015 and 2014 in the last 16, going through easily to the quarterfinals on both occasions.

Atlético Madrid drew Bayer Leverkusen, their opponents in the 2014-2015 last-16, eventually going through to the quarterfinals on penalties. Sevilla will face Leicester City, who were the surprise winners of the Premier League, but made a poor start to the season, recovering over the weekend to beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 4-2. “All the second-classified sides wanted to play us,” warned Leicester’s coach, Claudio Rainieri, adding: “We’re Cinderella.”

Real Madrid once again went into the final stages of the tournament against a weaker rival

Manchester City drew Monaco, prompting the side’s sporting director, Txiki Beguiristain, to say he was happy to have avoided Real Madrid and Barcelona but to warn that Monaco, who twice beat Tottenham en route to topping their group, pose a tough test.

Arguably unluckier than Barcelona was Arsenal, which again faces Bayern Munich in the last-16, reprising ties from both 2013 and 2014, both of which saw them eliminated. Arsenal played Barcelona in last year’s last-16.

The Barcelona-PSG clash promises to be the most exciting of the last-16 stage, and will take place on February 14 in Paris, on the same night as Portuguese side Benfica play Borussia Dortmund. The Germans, who beat Real Madrid to lead their group, are seen as the favorites.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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