Alex Song hopeful Champions League draw will reunite him with Arsenal

Midfielder left The Emirates for Barcelona during the summer

Barcelona midfielder Alex Song would welcome a return to Arsenal when
the Champions League round of 16 draw is made in Nyon tomorrow morning.

The Spanish giants are one of six teams Arsene Wenger's group runners-up could face, alongside Paris St Germain, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Song swapped the Emirates Stadium for the Nou Camp when he joined the Arsenal exodus during the summer and expects only one outcome if they meet for a place in the quarter-finals.

"Of course I would like to play against Arsenal. For me to go back there, where I had seven magnificent years, would be something very special," the 25-year-old said.

"If we draw Arsenal I'd be happy to see the fans again and go back to the club, even though if we go there it will be to get the best result possible.

"Arsenal's a big club, but Barcelona's a level above because of the talent of the players there.

"That's no disrespect to Arsenal because they have talented players, but I think the Barcelona players are above them. I saw a lot of people come and a lot of people go at Arsenal."

Song's desire will not be shared by the Gunners, who will be desperate to avoid a team that has been hailed by some as the greatest of all time.

Having finished second in Group B, the possibilities facing Arsenal are alarming and Wenger will also be anxious to evade last year's beaten finalists Bayern Munich and Serie A leaders Juventus.

Manchester United are the second Barclays Premier League side to make it through to the knockout stages after defending champions Chelsea and Manchester City failed to progress.

Real Madrid may be trailing Primera Division leaders Barcelona by 13 points but they are still the team Sir Alex Ferguson will want to avoid most, knowing only Champions League glory can redeem Jose Mourinho.

Porto, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia and Celtic are the other possibilities, with the latter setting up a fascinating Battle of Britain contest.

Celtic defied all expectations to qualify as group runners-up behind Barcelona, in the process securing more points than any other Scottish team in the Champions League pool stages with 10.

Other than United, they could meet Malaga, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke or PSG.

Barcelona are favourites to claim their fourth Champions League title since 2006, followed by Real and Bayern, and Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez expects one of the heavyweights to be crowned winners.

"Barcelona, Real Madrid, the English teams, Bayern Munich and Juventus are strong teams," said Benitez, winner of the competition with Liverpool in 2005.

"Obviously they're the big names and they'll be there again, it won't change too much.

"You can find a surprise in some seasons but because those teams are so strong, I don't see there being any surprises this year."

Chelsea are second favourites behind Atletico Madrid to win the Europa League, their reward for finishing third in their Champions League group.

They are joined in the round of 32 by Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle, although none of the Premier League rivals are able to face each other at this stage.

Atletico are a possibility for Chelsea and Liverpool, while big names such as Inter Milan, Napoli, Benfica and Ajax remain in the competition.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people Ex-wife of John Lennon has died at her home in Spain
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?