Mixed feelings from the three La Liga sides in today’s Champions League draw. All were number one seeds, and they wee looking to avoid Manchester City and Arsenal, the two best number two seeds. Unfortunately for Barcelona they were drawn against Man City while Real Madrid drew Schalke and Atletico Madrid get AC Milan.
It is a tough draw for a Barcelona side whose form has been up and down this season. City have a lot of ties to Barca, as City’s chief executive officer Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain used to work at Barcelona, as well as City star Yaya Toure who used to play for Barcelona.
Begiristain told his club’s official website:
“I think it will be a great match. Ours is a team with a lot of confidence especially after winning against the champions in Munich – that will give us a lot of confidence.
“Our manager knows perfectly Barcelona because he managed in Spain for a long time. In this sense, we are confident.
“If you want to win the Champions League you have to beat the biggest teams, Barcelona are one of the biggest teams.”
City boss Manuel Pellegrini added:
“I think Barcelona will be very concerned that they have drawn us. They are not the team of two years ago.”
Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueño was very cautious about the Whites opponents Schalke saying:
“It’s certainly true that we avoided many of the theoretically stronger rivals, but whenever we have met German clubs in Europe, we have really struggled. (Madrid have only won once on German soil in 23 visits – a 3-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen, on September 27 2000 in MatchDay 3). We will need to be extra careful and prepare well for this tie. One bad night in the Champions League and you can find yourself eliminated. The return leg is at the Bernabéu which gives us a slight advantage. Overall, the draw hasn’t been too bad but you can never tell with football – German teams are very competitive,” Butragueño said.