Real, Atletico Madrid renew Champions League hostilities
Holders Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals as the rivals do battle once more and French surprise-package Monaco take on Juventus, following the draw on Friday.
The all-Madrid showdown is a rerun of the 2014 and 2016 finals in Europe's top club competition, with a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Real victorious on both occasions in cagey affairs that they failed to settle after 90 minutes each time.
Real —aiming to become the first team to retain the Champions League — will host Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu on May 2 and a free-scoring Monaco side brimming with some of Europe's hottest talent are home to Juventus on May 3, with the second legs the following week.
Real Madrid director and former striker Emilio Butragueno said: "We know each other very well, this is the fourth time we meet Atletico in the Champions League but it will not be a final this time.
"Every detail will count and we will have to be very careful, they defend very well and have high-quality players who know how to take advantage of mistakes," he told BeINSports.
Atletico, who boast one of football's most deadly strikers in Antoine Griezmann, will move next season from the Vicente Calderon, their home for 50 years, to a new stadium.
Clemente Villave rde, a former Atletico player and now a director, said the Real clash would be a fitting farewell.
"Our fans and players have experienced two final defeats and know what it means and takes to get there — a lot of work," he told UEFA.com.
"Hopefully we can give the Vicente Calderon the goodbye it deserves."
Going into the draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland all four teams were making the usual noises: there is nothing to choose between any of them, they said publicly.
But the 39-year-old Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon broke ranks, saying that he would prefer to avoid a wily Atletico side because they are out of the La Liga title race so can rest players for Europe.
Buffon, one of the best goalkeepers of all time but who has never won the Champions League, got his wish in missing out on Diego Simeone's side, who would dearly love to get one over Real and Ronaldo this time on Europe's biggest stage.
Meanwhile, Manchester United have drawn Celta Vigo and Ajax have drawn Lyon in the Europa League semi-finals.
Jose Mourinho's men battled past Anderlecht in extra-time thanks to a winner from young striker Marcus Rashford on Thursday, winning 3-2 on aggregate.
Their semi-final opponents, Spanish side Celta, eliminated Genk 4-3 on aggregate after drawing 1-1 in the second leg in Belgium this week.
United will visit Celta for the first-leg of their encounter on March 4, before welcoming them back to Old Trafford the following week.
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