Real, Barça kept apart in draw
Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid have been kept apart in the draw for the UEFA Champions League quarter and semi-finals, setting up the possibility of a final showdown between the two in Munich.
Real Madrid drew Cypriots APOEL Nicosia, while Barcelona landed Italian powerhouse AC Milan. Chelsea, the sole English survivors, will take on Benfica of Portugal, while the remaining tie sees Marseille up against Germany's Bayern Munich.
Despite facing the competition's underdogs in the next round, Real club director Emiliano Butragueno is not prepared to underestimate Apoel. "We have to be extremely respectful," he told Sky Sports. "Of course on paper there were stronger teams that Apoel, but it is the quarter-finals and they are a very strong team."
Butragueno also refused to address the prospect of a Real-Barça final. "The final is too far ahead," he said. "We have to be very focused on the next game and try to reach the semi-finals. That will be a difficult tie according to the draw. After that, if we are lucky enough to reach the final then we'll think about it."
Cypriot minnows APOEL put on a brave face following the draw on Friday, saying they were "proud" to come up against Spanish giants Real Madrid.
"I am proud of APOEL and of Cyprus. We are proud to play a team like Real Madrid," the club's president Fivos Erotocritou told Sport FM radio from Switzerland. "This is something incredible for us and for Cyprus. Before the draw we were congratulated for what we have achieved so far. The emotions we are going through are unique."
AC Milan director Umberto Gandini insisted they were not disappointed to draw the European champions. He said: "At least it will be easy to organise the away game as we have been there recently and we know the place. We faced them in the group stage and the aggregate score was 5-4, so I think it will be balanced.
"We drew 2-2 there and played well also at home despite losing 3-2, so we have confidence because I think we have also improved since then. It's a game every player dream to play, both teams will be very motivated and we will see the winner of Benfica-Chelsea in the semi-finals!"
APOEL (CYP) v Real Madrid (ESP) A
Marseille (FRA) v Bayern Munich (GER) B
Benfica (POR) v Chelsea (ENG) C
AC Milan (ITA) v Barcelona (ESP) D
Winner of B v Winner of A
Winner of C v Winner of D