UEFA have made a calamity of the Champions League round of 16 draw. An error in their software for the “sorting balls” — the buckets for the potential match-up’s for the next round — was found to have errors this morning resulting in a re-draw.
As reported by multiple outlets (MARCA, GOAL Espana, El Chiringuito), Real Madrid requested for their draw with Benfica to remain valid as that sorting was correctly done prior to the error. Real Madrid were said to be furious with the decision to re-draw all of the fixtures and considered UEFA’s incompetence a, “theatre show”. The club sent a message directly to UEFA requesting their match be maintained, but given the strained relationship between Florentino Perez and Ceferin there was no guarantees. Ultimately, UEFA decided to re-draw the entire sorting.
The re-draw has not been favorable to Real Madrid with the club now set to face the likes of Mbappe, Neymar, and Messi. Mbappe will be potentially playing against his future employers while Sergio Ramos may be fit by February and return to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since his departure. It would also be a return for a Caterano, Achraf Hakimi.
The round of 16 fixtures will not begin until February 2022. This will give Carlo Ancelotti and his team amble time to rest and rotate prior to the next round. The key for Ancelotti will be maintaining the good form and squad harmony ahead of the matches in February.