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Manchester United vs Barcelona: A tie rich in nostalgia that fuels the Ole love story

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A tie rich in nostalgia that fuels the Ole love story... United land Barcelona to evoke memories of Romario, Scholes and, of course, the Nou Camp in '99Manchester United have been drawn against Barcelona in Champions LeagueOle Gunnar Solskjaer will return to the Nou Camp 20 years on from 1999 finalJurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool's draw with Porto won't be a walkover Manchester City have also been drawn against Tottenham in the quarter finals 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's second coming took another enchanting twist as the Champions League conjured a return to Barcelona to mark the 20th anniversary of his goal to clinch the Treble for Manchester United in the Nou Camp.

Manchester City and Tottenham were pitched into an all-Premier League quarter-final and Liverpool were paired with Porto, a team they beat 5-0 on the way to last year's final.

Not for the first time since he seized control at Old Trafford, however, Solskjaer produced the storyline as United were drawn against the Spanish champions and La Liga leaders, complete with the little genius that is Lionel Messi and arch-villain Luis Suarez.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to the Nou Camp 20 years on from the famous 1999 final

Manchester United have drawn Barcelona in the quarter finals, evoking fond memories

It is a prestigious fixture and rich in nostalgia, which will serve up painful reminders of the lost finals of 2009 and 2011 and the lesson at the hands of Hristo Stoichkov and Romario in 1994, along with fonder memories of a Paul Scholes goal to win a semi-final in 2008 and a European Cup-Winners' Cup final in 1991.

But the image summoned by the prospect of Manchester United at the Nou Camp comes from 1999, with their Norwegian striker in his No 20 shirt, sliding on his knees to celebrate the winner, deep in stoppage time, to complete the most astonishing comeback in the final against Bayern Munich.

'It had to be,' smiled Solskjaer, who has done little wrong since he was appointed caretaker manager in December, losing only once in 13 Premier League games and reaching the FA Cup quarter-final and the last eight of the Champions League with a staggering 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain. 

Paul Scholes scored the winner when the two sides met in semi-finals of 2008 tournament

'I've had so many texts from friends saying this year is going to be the year we get through because of my number 20 and it being 20 years ago. We're off to the Nou Camp again.

'It was the biggest night I've had in football, of course. For all of us in that team, it was an unbelievable night. It's a great stadium — and of course we met them in the group stages as well that year, 3-3 both home and away.

'We want these games against the biggest clubs and the biggest teams. It's these games our fans and this club crave.'

United will play the first leg at home to avoid a fixture clash with Manchester City.

'I'm completely different to 99 per cent of managers,' said Solskjaer. 'I prefer to be away last, like we had against PSG. If you can get a decent result at home, then we know we can go away and hurt anyone, like we did in Paris.'

Barcelona won two most recent Champions League finals against United in 2009 and 2011

If United make it past Barcelona they face a possible semi-final against Liverpool who, despite Jurgen Klopp's caution, will be expected to brush aside Porto as they did last year.

'I could not be further away from thinking it's the best draw because it isn't, it is just the draw,' insisted Klopp. 'It's the opponent we have to prepare for and the first thing you have to do is make sure everybody respects the opponent the right way — and we will do that 100 per cent.'

Manchester City will provide the opposition for the first European fixture at Tottenham's new White Hart Lane, just days after the 62,000-capacity venue opens with a Premier League game against Brighton or Crystal Palace.

The sides will meet three times in 12 days, with a Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium three days after the second leg.

'This will be fun,' said City's former Spurs full-back Kyle Walker as players reacted on social media. 'Bring it on,' roared Harry Kane.

Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool's quarter final draw with Porto will not be a walkover

City have won their last three games against Tottenham and Pep Guardiola said: 'We know each other well. I have a lot of respect for them. We know very well the quality of their team.

'We know how good they are up front with Kane and Dele Alli and Son Heung-min and how good they are at set-pieces because of Christian Eriksen, but it would be the same if you look at my team or any team in the Champions League.'

The winners face a semi-final against Ajax or Juventus and the draw is open for the chance of an all-Manchester final. Or it could be Barcelona and Messi against Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo, in Madrid.

But Solskjaer's scriptwriter appears to be in control of things at the moment.

 

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