NYON, Switzerland — Manchester City’s reward for winning its Champions League group is a guaranteed last-16 pairing with a team that finished as a runner-up. It got Real Madrid when the draw was announced on Monday.
Madrid, which has won the title a record 13 times, will host the first leg on Feb. 26. Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champion, has never won the European Cup,
The matchup will pit Madrid Coach Zinedine Zidane against City Manager Pep Guardiola. Zidane has won three Champions League titles in three attempts with Madrid, while Guardiola has been seeking his third title for almost a decade after winning twice with Barcelona.
City’s best run in the Champions League was reaching the semifinals in 2016, losing by 1-0 over two legs against Madrid. That was soon after Zidane took over in Madrid, and just before Guardiola was hired to replace Manuel Pellegrini in Manchester.
Also, Liverpool was sent back to the Spanish stadium where it won the title last season. The first leg against Atlético de Madrid will be at the Metropolitano Stadium on Feb. 18.
“I think that Liverpool know the stadium very well,” said Atlético’s director, Clemente Villaverde, who described Liverpool, the unbeaten Premier League leader, as “at this moment the best team we have in Europe.”
Liverpool Coach Jürgen Klopp said there were “pretty much four or five potential finals already in the last 16.”
Barcelona, the Spanish league leader, will face Napoli with the first leg in Italy, and Chelsea will face Bayern Munich in a rematch of the 2012 final. Chelsea won that title in Bayern’s home stadium, which will host the second leg on March 18.
In other matchups: Paris St.-Germain Coach Thomas Tuchel will face his former club, Borussia Dortmund; Lyon will take on Juventus; Tottenham will play Leipzig; and Atalanta will meet Valencia.
Lyon will face Juventus, a team led by Cristiano Ronaldo, without its own star forward. Memphis Depay left Sunday’s French league game with a season-ending knee injury.
The Juventus games will be played on the same days — Feb. 26 and March 17 — when Madrid plays Man City.
“The whole world will be watching, no doubt,” Madrid’s director, Emilio Butragueno, said. “We will experience football at its best, and then the fans will be lucky to enjoy this kind of game.”
Two pairings feature teams playing in the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time. Leipzig will play the first leg at Tottenham, and Atalanta will face Valencia.
For the first time, the 16 remaining teams are from the five wealthiest European leagues. The first legs will be played between Feb. 18 and 26, with the return games from March 10-18. The final on May 30 will be at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.