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Beckham set for Messi encounter

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15 Mar 2013 19:53:48

Beckham set for Messi encounter

David Beckham, the one remaining English player at a club still involved in the Champions League, is set for a meeting with Lionel Messi after his club Paris St Germain were drawn against Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

The draw kept Barcelona apart from Real Madrid, keeping alive the possibility of an unprecedented meeting between the two Spanish clubs in the final at Wembley Stadium in May.

Madrid will take on Galatasaray from Turkey, and in the other two quarter-finals Bayern Munich's reward for seeing off Arsenal is a meeting with Celtic's conquerors Juventus, while Borussia Dortmund will play Spanish side Malaga.

PSG sporting director Leonardo insisted Barcelona were red-hot favourites, telling uefa.com: "It is the most difficult draw against the best team in the competition.

"We play the return leg at their home ground. It won't be easy, but we are looking forward to it because Paris deserves to be part of what will be a celebration of football. We get the chance to measure ourselves against one of the greatest sides of all time. Barcelona are the red-hot favourites, it's a celebration in which anything can still happen".

Barcelona's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said the experience of being 2-0 down to AC Milan in the last round had hit home with the players, who came close to perfection in their 4-0 second-leg victory. He said: "We have just experienced something in the round of 16 that demands us to be prudent.

"We have to look on playing the second leg in Barcelona as being positive. PSG have very good players with a lot of talent and with their experience and knowledge of playing these types of games I am sure they will be challenging right until the end. They are very competitive and we will be coming up against several players we know quite well."

There was not widespread delight at either Juventus or Bayern. Juventus director Pavel Nedved said: "Bayern are one of the most difficult sides we could have got. I think Bayern are very similar to our team so this will make everything even more difficult for us."

Bayern's chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, admitted: "This was not the draw we dreamed of. Statistically, we do not have a good record against Juventus. We will need to play very well in both games."

Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said his side and opponents Malaga had both been surprises. He added: "Borussia Dortmund and Malaga are two teams that have surprised with their performances in the Champions League this season. So one thing is certain: there will be a surprise team in the semi-final."


PA

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