Inter ambassador Luis Figo also defended the competition, which this season offers one sixth of the prize money paid to clubs in UEFA's signature event.
urged the club not to sign black or gay players, while Liverpool forward Luis Suarez served an eight match ban last season for directing racial comments at Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
UEFA also drew the last 16 pairings, putting Inter and Tottenham on course to meet again after thrilling Champions League group stage matches two years ago. Chelsea and Ajax could meet in March if both win through their last 32 matches.
"We're happy to be champions," Atletico director Clemente Villaverde said. "I think there are very, very important teams in it. Rubin Kazan is a very difficult team."
Andre Villas Boas said. Air Max 95 Halloween On Feet "It's a huge fixture and will fuel excitement."
Tottenham's group stage rival Lazio, which was paired with Borussia Moenchengladbach, still awaits details of UEFA disciplinary charges after Italian fans directed abuse at the English club's traditional Jewish following inside the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
"Yes, we probably have some fans who have different opinions about racism," Mitrofanov told AP. "But we are here playing football and we are against racism. Playing in this competition will help."
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino warned clubs to curb unsporting and racist behaviour: "Don't let it spoil the party," he told officials.
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"Liverpool is one of the best European clubs. It is one of the most difficult draws but we are happy," Zenit chief executive Maxim Mitrofanov told The Associated Press.
Zenit, which also started in the Champions League, was content to get an attractive opponent.
Chelsea draws Sparta Prague in Europa League
The Italian club's route to the final in Amsterdam will have to go through England or France.
UEFA President Michel Platini showed his support by meeting with officials from the 32 clubs, arriving after the Champions League last 16 draw ceremony was completed.
Atletico seeks a third title in four seasons in the Europa League, which has often struggled in the shadow cast by the Champions League.
The first leg in Russia will likely be played in around minus 10 Celsius (14 F) temperatures, though Mitrofanov played down the potential advantage.
defend the Champions League title was being drawn on Thursday to play Sparta Prague in the last 32 of the second tier Europa League.
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"Lyon are a club with many trophies and are a top team," Tottenham coach Air Max 98 Supreme Blue
"We are also a very technical team so we also need a good pitch," he said.
The Zenit vs. Liverpool matches are a likely focus for debate about racism.
Zenit St. Petersburg, the 2008 UEFA Cup winner, will face Liverpool, and Tottenham will play Lyon.
"Of course it's a prestigious competition for us," Figo told AP. "You just have to look at the teams in the competition and see it's difficult to reach the final."
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