MILAN - Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho was pleased to be paired with holders Manchester United and old foe Alex Ferguson in the Champions League last 16 draw on Friday. Mourinho's Chelsea beat United to the 2005 and 2006 Premier League titles before Ferguson's men won the championship in 2007 with Mourinho leaving the London club the following season. "I am satisfied, I wanted the best and I have got the European champions who maybe in two days will be world champions," he told a news conference. "It is a team with the current Ballon D'Or winner (Cristiano Ronaldo), a great coach in Alex Ferguson and a stadium with a fantastic atmosphere. It will be unforgettable returning to Manchester. "Some say I have a good record against Alex Ferguson but the record isn't mine, it's Chelsea's." Portuguese Mourinho was also victorious over United in the 2004 Champions League last 16 with Porto, who went on to win the trophy. United, who visit the San Siro in February's first leg, beat Inter in the quarter-finals when they triumphed in 1999. Mourinho, whose side are six points clear at the top in Serie A but stumbled through the Champions League group stages, also remarked on Arsenal against AS Roma and Chelsea versus Juventus. "They are three 50/50 matches, anyone can win. Roma, however, will meet an opponent a little easier than ours or Juve's because Arsenal are neither Chelsea nor Manchester United," he said. Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri, manager of Chelsea from 2000-2004, was intrigued to draw his former club and last season's runners-up. "The draw puts our championship against the English one, which is certainly richer with teams that have the chance to spend lots," he told Juve's website. "Chelsea are a strong team at the back, very strong with a midfield five and with a forward that ought to be Drogba. The club have tried to find the best that are in circulation." Roma coach Luciano Spalletti was untroubled by Arsenal. "It seems that people want to talk about an unlucky draw. The draw has been really good," he told Roma's television channel. "They have ambitious youngsters and they will become great champions."
19 December 2008
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