CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW: Epic clashes light up the path to Euro glory

19 March 2011 01:39
The sense of excitement that spread across Europe on Friday was the result of a Champions League draw that offers so many intoxicating possibilities.

Imagine a final between Chelsea and Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid; or a European appearance for Manchester United at Wembley 43 years after Best, Charlton, Aston and Kidd destroyed Benfica in extra-time.

For now, we have Redknapp v Mourinho (with Guardiola possibly waiting in the next round) and Ancelotti versus Ferguson. Rich personalities, talented and experienced managers, and football that could shake this competition to life.

Spot of bother: Chelsea's John Terry missed his penalty as United won the 2008 final after a shoot-out

Quarter-final drawReal Madrid v Tottenham

Chelsea v Manchester United

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter Milan v Schalke

First leg April 5/6

Second leg April 12/13

Certainly, the FA will be fascinatedobservers as Harry Redknapp confronts a double Spanish inquisition.Beat Real Madrid and Barcelona and he can start ordering new wallpaperfor Fabio Capello's office.

United will meet Chelsea in aquarter-final that gives John Terry and his colleagues a chance to gosome way to erasing the painful memories of Moscow. A quarter-finalthat could end in a penalty shoot-out, with Terry invited to eliminateSir Alex Ferguson's side in front of the Stretford End.

With the winners of a last eightencounter between Inter Milan and Schalke awaiting them, both Fergusonand Carlo Ancelotti will fancy their chances of reaching the final andsecuring an opportunity to lift the illustrious trophy for a third timeas managers.

It was put to Ancelotti that itwould be a clash between a calm Carlo and a fuming Ferguson, even ifthis is the one competition when United's manager will be allowed tostand on the touchline.

'I was disappointed when he got thefive-game ban because I think he didn't deserve that,' said Ancelotti.'Usually, I don't like to speak about the referees after the game but Iwas sent off once when I was manager of Juventus.

'I said to the referee a bad word.The problem is I didn't say it, but he read my mind. I said, 'Bravo'.He thought it was a different word. He thought I'd said what I wasthinking, not what I said.'

Pedigree: Carlo Ancelotti will fancy his chances of leading Chelsea to the trophy he won twice with AC Milan

Counting against Chelsea is the factthat the second leg will be at Old Trafford and that the impressiveDavid Luiz will be ineligible. But they will be encouraged by theirrecent win over United, and the number of injuries in Ferguson'sdefensive ranks.

Semi-final drawInter/Schalke v Chelsea/Man U

Real/Spurs v Barca/Shakhtar

First leg April 26/27

Second leg May 3/4

That said, Sir Alex's declarationthat Rio Ferdinand is out for the season with a calf problem couldprove to be incorrect. Sources at United still believe he could make areappearance sooner rather than later.

Tottenham might be the leadingscorers in the competition after beating Inter and AC Milan en route tothe last eight but Madrid come first and then possibly Barcelona.Unless Shakhtar Donetsk produce the shock of the round.

Redknapp seemed worried enough aboutgoing to Madrid this weekend to see Mourinho's men meet Atletico. 'Thelast time I went I was mugged,' he said. 'So maybe I'll take Joe Jordanand not Kevin Bond this time.'

Bemused by Jordan's UEFA touchlineban for his clash with Gennaro Gattuso, Tottenham's manager did suggestJordan would still travel.

'Today Joe said, 'I've never been tothe Bernabeu before'. And I said to him, 'You're not gonna make it thistime either!' But Joe will be with us and be part of everything.'

Italian job: Peter Crouch was the Spurs hero with the only goal against AC Milan over two legs in the last round

Redknapp is relishing the prospect of facing Mourinho again.

'He was fantastic,' said the Spursboss. 'Look at what he achieved with Chelsea and at Porto and InterMilan. It is an amazing record. I liked him, I like his style. Ithought he was great, he livened the place up.'

The players will liven the place up too.

'Ronaldo is amazing,' said Redknapp.'It is a toss-up between him and Messi. Messi has probably got the edgeat the moment but there wouldn't be a million miles between them as towho is the best player in the world.

Deadly double act: Standing in Tottenham's way are two of the very best in the business

'We just want to give ourselves a fighting chance with the second leg at White Hart Lane.'

There is mutual respect from hisopposite number, Mourinho saying: 'Harry is a real friend and I ampleased he is doing so well.'

And Pep Guardiola also sees Tottenham as a major threat to Madrid.

'Tottenham were so good againstMilan and if you knock out one of the best teams in the world then ofcourse people will start taking notice,' said the  Barcelona coach. 'Wehave to do our job against Shakhtar, then it will be a case ofwatching  Tottenham's game because it will be a great spectacle.'

It should be one of many.

 Chelsea meet Manchester United in Champions League as Spurs are paired with Spanish giants Real MadridLIVE: Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draw as it happens in NyonShock as UEFA slap Jordan with ban. for being the victim of a headbutt!Sportsmail's guide to the eight teams left in Europe's showpiece competitionAll the latest Chelsea news, features and opinionAll the latest Manchester United news, features and opinionAll the latest Tottenham news, features and opinion

 Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, John Terry, Fabio Capello, Harry Redknapp, Rio Ferdinand, Kevin Bond, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti Places: Madrid, Barcelona, Moscow, Europe

Source: Daily_Mail