David Beckham, the one remaining English player at a club still involved in the Champions League this season, is set for a meeting with Lionel Messi after his club Paris St Germain were drawn against Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
The draw kept Barcelona apart from Real Madrid, maintaining the possibility of an unprecedented meeting between the Spanish clubs in the final at Wembley Stadium in May. Madrid will take on Galatasaray from Istanbul and, in the other two quarter-finals, Bayern Munich’s reward for seeing off Arsenal is a meeting with Celtic’s conquerors Juventus, while Borussia Dortmund will play Spanish side Malaga.
Chelsea’s Europa League opponents Rubin Kazan insist they want to play at their home stadium instead of in Moscow after the teams were paired together in yesterday’s draw.
Rubin, in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, is the furthest east of any European club in the competition but the club played their last-16 home match against Levante at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium due to problems with their pitch.
A decision on where to play the Chelsea game on April 11 will be taken after a UEFA pitch inspection next week.
The game is expected to be in Moscow, which would mean a shorter journey – although still a significant one – for Rafael Benitez’s team ahead of a possible FA Cup semi-final three days later. In the other Europa League quarter-finals, Tottenham appeared to be handed the easiest draw after being paired with Swiss side Basel, while Newcastle will play Benfica from Portugal and Turkish side Fenerbahce will face Lazio of Italy.
Newcastle’s opponents came into the Europa League knock-out stages after finishing third in a Champions League group including Celtic and Barcelona, during which they achieved a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp.
Malaga v Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid v Galatasaray
Paris St Germain v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Juventus
(First-leg ties on 2/3 April, second leg ties on 9/10 April)
Chelsea v Rubin Kazan
Tottenham v Basle
Fenerbahce v Lazio
Benfica v Newcastle
(First-leg ties on 4 April, second-leg ties on April 11)