Fans were left confused while watching the Champions League last 16 draw as Real Madrid were banned from drawing PSV – despite not being in the same group.
The draw process saw the winners of each group drawn against the group runners-up, with those from the same confederation/nation not allowed to face each other.
Real Madrid drew RB Leipzig in the final tie of the draw, with the German side finishing as runners-up in their group behind Manchester City.
PSV, meanwhile, finished as runners-up behind Arsenal, and were drawn against Borussia Dortmund.
But when the Dutch giants were picked out of the bowl by Chelsea legend John Terry, a red square surrounding Real Madrid on the draw graphic – meaning the two teams couldn’t be drawn against each other.
Fans were left slightly confused at this, given that both sides are not from the same confederation nor were involved in the same Champions League group.
Taking to X (Twitter), one fan queried: “Why was Real Madrid not eligible to be drawn against PSV?”
A second added: “I don’t understand – when they took out PSV’s ball, they put it on the TV graphic and confirmed that Real Madrid couldn’t play against PSV.”
And a third spotted that Copenhagen were also banned from facing Real Madrid: “Why could Copenhagen and PSV not face Real Madrid?”
The real reason for the decision was due to the draw rules and criteria.
Bayern Munich were still left to be drawn after the PSV fixture, meaning that, if Real had been drawn against the Dutch side, Bayern could have been able to draw RB Leipzig or Copenhagen.
🏆 #UCL Round of 16 draw:
🇵🇹 Porto vs Arsenal 🏴
🇮🇹 Inter vs Atletico 🇪🇸
🇮🇹 Napoli vs Barcelona 🇪🇸
🇫🇷 PSG vs Real Sociedad 🇪🇸
🇳🇱 PSV vs Borussia Dortmund 🇩🇪
🇮🇹 Lazio vs Bayern Munich 🇩🇪
🇩🇰 FC Copenhagen vs Man City 🏴
🇩🇪 RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/z9kcVYxol0
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 18, 2023
Both those outcomes could not occur, given that Bayern and Copenhagen were in the same group, and Leipzig are from the same confederation.
City were also still in the pot, and they could not draw Leipzig as they were in the same group.
Therefore, if PSV had drawn Real Madrid, one of City or Bayern would have been drawn in a tie that was an impossibility given UEFA’s draw rules.
As it turned out, Bayern drew Lazio, while City got Copenhagen for the upcoming last 16 of the competition, which takes place between February and March 2024.