Fergie relishing reunion with Jose and Cristiano
SIR ALEX Ferguson joked he will have to order some fine wine after Manchester United were drawn against his old adversary Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid in a Champions League contest that will see Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford for the first time.
The two managers had a tradition of sharing a glass of red after their teams' encounters in the Premier League – though Ferguson described the first wine Mourinho ever provided him as being "like paintstripper".
Mourinho made amends with a £300 bottle of Portuguese red the next time around and the last-16 match in the Champions League should be as mouthwatering as the wine.
Ferguson said: "Well, it's the tie of the round. It's a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with Jose again – I'll need to order some good wine!"
United will hope there was a lucky omen in the draw – their one victory over Real Madrid in the European Cup was the year they first won the final, also at Wembley, where next year's final will be held, in 1968.
But United have learned to fear players called Ronaldo from this club in this competition. The Brazilian striker took the honours when the teams last faced each other in 2003, scoring a hat-trick at Old Trafford as Real went through 6-5 on aggregate.
Rio Ferdinand played in the 2003 match against Real, as did Ryan Giggs, while Darren Fletcher was a substitute, though he did not come on.
Ferdinand welcomed the draw on Twitter saying: "Oh yes, Madrid!! What a great couple a games that'll be!! @Cristiano see u soon bro!!"
Emilio Butragueno, Real Madrid's director of institutional relations, said it would be a special match for Ronaldo – and for the two managers.
He said: "I am sure it will be a special game for him. He's a great professional. I'm sure he's going to do his best to help us qualify. It's going to be very, very special for him."
The only other English side, Arsenal, will face last season's beaten finalists Bayern Munich, while Celtic will take on Italian champions Juventus as they look for a place in the quarter-finals.