Manchester’s braced for return of Ronaldo

FORMER Manchester United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Old Trafford in February when Real Madrid take on Alex Ferguson’s side in their last 16 Champions League tie.

Arsenal, meanwhile, will have to overcome Bayern Munich to keep alive hope of a Wembley final, with the first leg at the Emirates. Celtic have been drawn against Italian giants Juventus.

In the Europa League, two-time winners Tottenham have been paired with Lyon, while reigning European champions Chelsea will play Sparta Prague.


Lukas has a point to prove
Arsenal’s pairing with last season’s Bundesliga and Champions League runners-up Bayern Munich means a reunion for Gunners forward Lukas Podolski with the club he left under a cloud in 2009. The 27-year-old fell out of favour with then-boss Jurgen Klinsmann at the Bavarian giants and returned to first club Cologne in a €10m deal – partly funded by the club’s supporters, who bought pixels of an online image of their hero.

Blues target rare double
Chelsea begin their quest to follow up last season’s Champions League triumph with the Europa League title with a last 32 tie against Sparta Prague. Goalkeeper Petr Cech, capped 98 times by the Czech Republic, will play against one of his former clubs. Meanwhile Jiri Jarosik, who won the Premier League title at Stamford Bridge in 2005, is likely to feature for Sparta. Ajax or Steaua Bucharest lie in wait in the next round.

Hugo is heading home
France captain Hugo Lloris has recently made the No1 spot at Spurs his own and will hope to keep his place between the sticks for the last 32 tie against former club Lyon. Should the Lilywhites progress a potential meeting with Inter Milan awaits, which will no doubt have Gareth Bale licking his lips after the winger hit a hat-trick in Spurs’ 4-3 defeat at the San Siro in the Champions League two seasons ago. Inter play FC Cluj in the round of 32.