After starting the day with a botched Champions League draw that directly affected Atlético Madrid, UEFA decided to scrap the whole thing and do it over on Monday afternoon.
The second draw saw Atlético paired with Group F winners Manchester United in this year’s last 16.
This will be the third consecutive season in which Atlético will play a Champions League knockout phase tie against a Premier League side, following meetings with Liverpool (2020) and Chelsea (2021) in the past two editions. Atleti and United have faced one another only twice before — in the now-defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1991.
The Rojiblancos advanced 4-1 on aggregate, eliminating the Red Devils in the round of 16.
The obvious narrative centers on Cristiano Ronaldo, who has demolished Atlético in this competition over the years — first as a Real Madrid player, then during his first season at Juventus. It is fitting that Diego Simeone’s men will need to find a way past the Portuguese megastar and whichever team he’s on after so many instances where they fell short.
Manchester United sacked embattled manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær last month and replaced him with German tactician Ralf Rangnick following a poor start to the season. United sit fifth in the Premier League, but Ronaldo’s heroics (late goals against Villarreal and Atalanta) helped the two-time European Cup winners clinch their Champions League group with a game to spare.
Atlético escaped Group B on the final day, beating Porto 3-1 to qualify in second place behind Liverpool. That result condemned the Portuguese giants to the Europa League (where they will play Lazio) and forced AC Milan out of European competition entirely.
As the unseeded group runners-up, Atleti will get to host the first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano on Feb. 23 before traveling to Old Trafford for the return fixture on March 15. Kickoff for both legs is scheduled for 9 p.m. CET.
BREAKING— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 13, 2021
The dates for our #UCL round of 16 fixtures vs Man United have been announced! pic.twitter.com/Vxsv3DOuE6
The complete draw, take two:
Sporting CP-Manchester City
Atlético Madrid-Manchester United
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