Barca, PSG to meet in quarterfinals

March 15, 2013

Barcelona has been drawn to play Paris Saint-Germain in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

''They are the favorites, not only against us but all the teams. But you just have to (treat) these moments like a big party,'' PSG sporting director Leonardo said. ''It's a big event for us, the first year back in the Champions League for so many years.

''If we had to sign for this before the season, it would be perfect. To play a quarterfinal against Barca will be very special.''

The chance of Real Madrid meeting Barca in the final at Wembley remained alive when the Spanish giants were kept apart in Friday's draw. Barcelona will face David Beckham's side PSG - he is the only English player left in the competition - while Real Madrid will take on Galatasaray, who have dangermen Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder and Burak Yilmaz among their ranks.


''We will meet various players we know very well,'' Barcelona sports director Andoni Zubizarreta said. ''The teams that reach the quarterfinals have all played well. The draw is good or bad depending on whether you are back here in three weeks.

''We just had an experience in the last 16 that will make us be very prudent.''

In the other two quarterfinals, Bayern Munich's reward for seeing off Arsenal is a meeting with Celtic's conquerors Juventus, while Borussia Dortmund will play Spanish side Malaga.

'At the moment they are the best Italian team, a really tough opponent. It's a test of caliber,'' said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, whose team has lost in two of the past three finals. ''They will be huge Champions League nights ... It's an even match-up.''

Unlike in previous seasons, UEFA did not also make the draw for the semifinal pairings at the same time - that will now take place next month. Real Madrid head coach Jose Mourinho is aiming to become the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs, having achieved it previously with Porto and Inter Milan.

His side saw off Manchester United in the first knockout round and also qualified from a tough group comprising the domestic league champions of Spain, Germany, England and Holland. Steve McManaman, the former Liverpool and Real midfielder who carried out the draw for UEFA, said: "Real have had to do it the hard way so far - they have beaten a lot of good teams."

Barcelona, who came from 2-0 down in the first leg of the last round to beat AC Milan 4-2 on aggregate, will come up against their former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The first legs will take place on April 2-3, with the return matches the following week.

The Associated Press was used in this report.