NYON // On loan AC Milan midfielder David Beckham will play his former club Manchester United in the first knockout round of the Champions League. The former Old Trafford favourite - who returns to Italy for a second loan spell from the Los Angeles Galaxy - got exactly the match he hoped for at Friday's draw. "I think David wanted this match and destiny looked after him," the Milan director Umberto Gandini said at the Uefa headquarters.
Italian champions Inter Milan will face Chelsea in a meeting of coach Jose Mourinho's current and former clubs. "Absolutely unbelievable," the Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said of Mourinho's return to the club where he won two straight Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006. "It's a huge game and obviously with Jose it adds even more spice." The first leg in February will be played at the San Siro, where the Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti spent the past eight years coaching AC Milan.
"It is another derby between Mourinho and Ancelotti, but in Milan and in London," the Inter chief executive Ernesto Paolillo said. "Chelsea is the team I wanted to avoid but this is the destiny. Mourinho has a lot of motivation to do well." Defending champions FC Barcelona are drawn to play VfB Stuttgart, who have struggled in the Bundesliga this term and fired coach Markus Babbel this month. "We have to be very smart and not have too much confidence," the Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain said. "They will have time to prepare for these games against us and we must be ready."
Nine-time Europeam champions Real Madrid - whose Santiago Bernabeu stadium will host the final on May 22 - take on Lyon in France in the first leg. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said it would be a privilege to play against Real. "We won't be the favorites but we will try to show that the addition of the greatest stars in the world doesn't make everything," Aulas said of Madrid's ?250 million (Dh1.319bn) offseason spending that lured Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and the former Lyon forward Karim Benzema.
In other ties, it will be: Olympiakos v Bordeaux; Bayern Munich v Fiorentina; CSKA Moscow v Sevilla; and FC Porto v Arsenal. The first legs will be played February 16-17 and 23-24, and the return matches are set for March 9-10 and 16-17. * AP