Champions League: Chelsea get Barcelona but other English clubs escape big guns

Fernando Torres celebrates the goal that won the 2012 Champions League semi-final against Barcelona

Chelsea were handed the toughest test in the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League as they were paired with five-times European champions Barcelona.

Having finished second in their group behind Roma, Antonio Conte’s men were hoping for a potential tie against Besiktas but instead came out against Lionel Messi’s band of superstars.

This is the sixth time that Chelsea have drawn the Catalan giants and the first time since the 2011-12 season when the Blues won 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final.

In 2008-09 Barcelona went through on away goals after a 1-1 aggregate score, in 2006-07 Chelsea won 2-1 on aggregate, in 2005-06 the Blues lost 3-2 on aggregate and their first meeting in 2004-05 saw Chelsea triumph 5-4 overall.

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Tottenham were also handed a questionable reward for finishing ahead of Real Madrid in their qualifying group as they were paired with last year’s runners-up Juventus.

But Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will be relatively content after being paired with Basel, Sevilla and Porto respectively.

The remaining three ties pit Real Madrid against Paris St Germain, Shakhtar Donetsk with Roma, and Bayern Munich against Besiktas.

The draw is not what Chelsea wanted after Conte conceded that the defence of their Premier League crown was over after this weekend’s defeat to West Ham.

But he will hope to invoke the memory of their remarkable win over the Catalan giants in 2012, when a late goal from Fernando Torres saw them reach the Champions League final on away goals despite the earlier dismissal of John Terry.

Spurs meanwhile can expect to face a sterner test than that posed by Juventus in their last meeting in a pre-season friendly at Wembley in May, which the north Londoners won 2-0.

City will be delighted to land Swiss outsiders Basel. But they will have good cause to be wary against their experienced opposition, who beat both United and Benfica on their way to qualifying as runners-up from Group A.

Full draw: 

Chelsea v Barcelona

Bayern Munich v Besiktas

Juventus v Tottenham

Basel v Manchester City

Sevilla v Manchester United

Porto v Liverpool

Real Madrid v PSG

Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma

More to follow