Barcelona versus Manchester United was the first and most eye-catching pairing revealed in Monday’s draw for the 2022/23 UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The two legs will be played on Thursday 16 and Thursday 23 February, with the winners going into the draw for the Round of 16 on Friday 24 February.
Key details for the two additional fixtures, including kick-off times, will be confirmed in due course.
The Reds have previously faced Barcelona 13 times, including in three finals – the Cup Winners’ Cup of 1991, won by Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, and the Champions League showpieces in 2009 and 2011.
Our five meetings in Manchester so far include some of the most memorable European nights at Old Trafford, such as the thriller in March 1984 when Bryan Robson inspired a superb 3-0 win against Diego Maradona et al and the Champions League semi-final first leg in April 2008 which was settled by a stunning Paul Scholes goal.
Overall the record is three wins to United and six to Barcelona, with four games being drawn.
Eight clubs are already through to the last-16 draw in February after finishing in first place during the group stage, namely Arsenal, Fenerbahce, Real Betis, Union St.Gilloise, Real Sociedad, Feyenoord, Freiburg and Ferencvaros.
Of course, the ultimate aim for United is to reach the final at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on 31 May 2023 and lift the trophy for the second time in our history, having previously won it in Stockholm in 2017.
FULL PLAY-OFFS DRAW
Barcelona (ESP) vs Manchester United (ENG)
Juventus (ITA) vs Nantes (FRA)
Sporting CP (POR) vs Midtjylland (DEN)
Shakhtar (UKR) vs Rennes (FRA)
Ajax (NED) vs Union Berlin (GER)
Leverkusen (GER) vs Monaco (FRA)
Sevilla (ESP) vs PSV (NED)
Salzburg (AUT) vs Roma (ITA)
How did the Europa League knockout round play-off draw work?
The eight Europa League runners-up were placed in the seeded pot; the eight sides transferring from the UEFA Champions League were in the unseeded pot.
One side was drawn from each, with seeded sides playing the return legs at home. Clubs from the same association could not be drawn against each other.