NYON, Switzerland — Real Madrid versus Paris Saint-Germain. Cristiano Ronaldo versus Neymar. Historic achievement versus burning ambition.
Two-time defending Champions League winner Madrid was drawn Monday to play the tournament’s standout team in the last 16, made possible because the 12-time champions finished second in their group while PSG won its group.
“They are really very strong in every department of the field,” Madrid director Emilio Butragueno said. “But I have to underline, we are the holders and our players, they always rise to the occasion.”
PSG bought Neymar from Barcelona for a record 222 million euro ($262 million) fee in the offseason. The Brazil striker scored in five straight wins as the team finished ahead of Bayern Munich in its group.
Ronaldo scored in all six of Madrid’s matches.
Barcelona, which leads the Spanish league despite the loss of Neymar, was drawn to face Chelsea in a meeting of recent champions. The English club is one of the few opponents Lionel Messi has failed to score against.