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Champions League soccer draw pits PSG vs. Real Madrid, Inter vs. Liverpool

Champions League soccer draw pits PSG vs. Real Madrid, Inter vs. Liverpool
Star strikers Lionel Messi (L), Kylian Mbappe and French Ligue 1 team Paris Saint-Germain drew Real Madrid of Spain's La Liga as their Round of 16 opponent for the annual European soccer tournament. Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA-EFE

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Lionel Messi will face longtime soccer rival Real Madrid while Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United battle Atletico Madrid in the Champions League's Round of 16, UEFA announced at the draw Monday in Nyon, Switzerland.

UEFA officials voided the original draw Monday due to a software error and redrew for the round three hours later. The first leg for the Round of 16 takes place Feb. 15-16 and 22-23. The second leg is March 8-9 and 15-16.

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"I think it is fair," Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said of the redraw. "It is a mistake, so you have to repeat so there are no suspicions. All the opponents are tough.

"People say one is better than the other, but all of them at this stage are difficult."

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The 16 remaining teams for the annual European tournament each will play one home game and one road game against their drawn foe. The winner of the two-leg battle advances to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal and semifinal draws take place March 18 in Nyon.

Messi and Paris Saint-Germain, of France's Ligue 1, will face Spanish La Liga power Real Madrid in one of the most-anticipated matchups. Messi, a longtime striker for Barcelona, battled Real Madrid for parts of two decades in La Liga before he left the Spanish club for PSG in August.

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Ronaldo also will return to a matchup against a familiar foe. The former Real Madrid striker battled Athletic for nearly a decade when he played in La Liga.

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English Premier League power Chelsea, the defending Champions League champions, will face Ligue 1 team Lille in the Round of 16. Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga drew Austrian Bundesliga team FC Red Bull Salzburg.

Premier League teams Liverpool and Manchester City drew Inter Milan of Italy's Serie A and Sporting CP of Portugal's Premeira Liga, respectively.

"They are the league leaders in Italy; a good team in a good moment," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told LiverpoolFC.com, when asked about Inter Milan. "We will see how things go until we meet in February."

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Benfica of Premeira Liga drew Ajax of the Netherlands' Eredivisie. Juventus of Serie A drew Villarreal of La Liga.

Juventus, Ajax, Liverpool, Manchester City, Lille, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid each won their groups in the last round of the tournament and will play their first leg matches on the road.

They will host in their drawn foes in the second leg.

All Round of 16 matches kick off at 3 p.m. EST. The 2021-22 UEFA Champions League final is scheduled for Saturday, May 28 at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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