The Champions League round of 16 draw was held at UEFA headquarters in a floating storm cloud lair Nyon, Switzerland on Thursday and the result was either an unusual coincidence or UNDENIABLE PROOF THAT UEFA IS EVIL AND CORRUPT. The fun set of up match-ups that include Real Madrid v Manchester United, Milan v Barcelona and Celtic v Juventus were actually identical to those from the rehearsal draw done the day before and shown on Sky Sports News.
This has, of course, prompted some to claim that the draw was clearly fixed and that the odds of this happening naturally are in the millions, but it actually is conceivable that this could happen without a conspiracy behind it. First off, the restrictions on the draw (from UEFA's official regulations on the Champions League) are as follows:
-Clubs from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.
-The winners and runners-up from the same group (in the previous round) cannot be drawn against each other.
-The group winners cannot be drawn against each other.
-The runners-up must play the first leg at home.
Though that last stipulation is irrelevant to the draw, the other conditions slash the odds of a perfect match from the millions down to 5,000-1, according to The Sun, and 1,679-1 according to bookmaker William Hill. Then again, this is UEFA so nefarious forces can't be ruled out entirely. You might think that, for the sake of appearances, they would have a rule ordering a redraw in cases where this happens, but apparently not.
Whether it was fixed or a coincidence, it's times like these when Didier Drogba really did describe it best.