After Barcelona’s Champions League elimination, they’ll play Manchester United in the Europa League knockout round in February.
Barcelona dropped into the Europa League again after failing to advance from a Bayern Munich-Inter Milan group. United placed second in their group, behind Real Sociedad.
The first match will be at Camp Nou on Feb. 16 and the second at Old Trafford a week later.
Barcelona and United, two of the tournament’s favourites, would have preferred not to draw.
After spending over €150 million, including €45m on Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona leads LaLiga with just one loss.
Under Erik ten Hag, United have improved this season, but Aston Villa broke their nine-game undefeated run at the weekend.
“The draw gave us the most difficult opponent again,” Barca coach Xavi stated. “We’ll compete and enjoy it. They have outstanding players, are historic, and have flourished since Ten Hag arrived. We drew the worst. Again ” Unlucky. Playing top teams can be beneficial. It may inspire us here and at Old Trafford. Challenging.”
It will be their first match since the Champions League quarterfinal in 2018-19. Barcelona won both games, 4-0 on aggregate.
Barcelona won the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals, while United won the 2008 semifinal.
“We’ll compete. We must win the Europa League since the club has never done so “Xavi.
“Cristiano’s good. He shaped football and can still win games. They have fantastic players and people, however I would emphasise the group ” We’ll investigate. They’re wonderful even without Cristiano. They must win as a historic club.”
Juventus, another huge team to slip out of the Champions League, will play Nantes, while Jose Mourinho’s Roma will play Red Bull Salzburg.
Six-time champions Sevilla will play PSV Eindhoven, while Ajax will play Union Berlin, who led the Bundesliga early but have lost two of their past three matches.
Finally, Sporting play Midtjylland, Shakhtar Donetsk face Rennes, and Bayer Leverkusen play Monaco.
The Europa League playoff round pits the eight clubs that placed second in the group stage against the eight teams that finished third in their Champions League group, sliding down to Europe’s second tier.
Winners will play one of the eight Europa League group winners in the round of 16. Arsenal, Real Betis, Real Sociedad.
On May 31, Budapest’s Ferencvaros will compete in the following round at the Puskas Arena in the season’s final.
Liverpool played Real Madrid and PSG played Bayern Munich in the Champions League draw.
Barcelona-Manchester United Europa League playoff draw
Shakhtar vs. Rennes