Real Madrid opposed UEFA Champions League re-draw and pay price with Lionel Messi reunion

Champions League ties in full after redraw fiasco

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Real Madrid have reportedly described UEFA’s decision to re-draw the Champions League Round of 16 fixtures as a “scandal,” before they were pipped against Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain side. Carlo Ancelotti’s men were understandably, furious when news first broke of a “technical error” causing the first draw of the knockout-stages to be redrawn.

At first, Los Blancos were afforded a tough, but still favourable, draw against Portuguese giants Benfica.

Unfortunately, they were anything not so fortuitous the second time, as they were pitted against Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

This means they will be reunited with former Barcelona foe Messi, who has performed impressively during the Parisians’ Champions League campaign.

And this would have further infuriated the already irate Real board who, according to GOAL, said the re-draw was a scandal, before they were even chosen to face PSG.

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Upon realising the apparent error amongst the fixtures, UEFA released a statement announcing a redraw to be made around two hours later.

“Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League round of 16,” UEFA said after the fiasco.

However, northern sports correspondent for the Independent Mark Critchley believes the humiliating mistake was actually involving Manchester United’s ball not being put included amongst Atletico Madrid’s draw.

“It definitely looks like #MUFC (Manchester United) ball – in the second pot from the right, back row – was not included in the Atletico Madrid draw,” Critchley tweeted after the incident. This resulted in Ralf Rangnick’s side being excluded from Diego Simeone’s men’s potential opponents, even though they were eligible to play against each other.

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However, Real believe their original draw against Benfica should have stood, as it was made before the problems around Atletico and United emerged.

It means they now face the horrendously ominous prospect of facing PSG, who were arguably the most difficult opponents they could have possibly faced.

Unfortunately, Real’s protestations will likely count for nothing when the round-of-16 fixtures get underway in March. Before UEFA drew out the teams for a second occasion, deputy general secretary Giogrio Marchetti apologised and clarified what had reportedly caused the draw to be redone.

“As many of you will have noticed there were some errors made in the original draw caused by a malfunction of the software which went through an outside provider to tell us which teams are eligible to be drawn against each other,” said Marchetti.

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“After the draw, the external independent auditor couldn’t guarantee the problem with the IT did not exist from the start and as a result, the full draw needs to be redone.”

United were originally pitted against PSG in what would have been a stunning reunion between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but they will instead face the very team they were excluded from, Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea breathed a sigh of relief as they drawn against reigning French champions Lille, having initially been picked out the bowl to face them in the first draw. Liverpool were handed a sterner test, as they went from originally facing RB Salzburg, to being pitted against Serie A champions Inter Milan, while Manchester City will now take on Sporting Lisbon.

Real’s original opponents Benfica will now face Ajax, while Villarreal and RB Salzburg will take on Juventus and Bayern Munich respectively.

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