Champions League draw offers tough groups

By AP August 30, 2018
General view of the final draw for the UEFA Champions League groups A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H on an on an electronic board during the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. General view of the final draw for the UEFA Champions League groups A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H on an on an electronic board during the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. AP Photo/Claude Paris

Cristiano Ronaldo is going back to Manchester United and Paul Pogba will return to Juventus after the teams were drawn together in a Champions League group along with Valencia and Young Boys on Thursday. 

After winning four titles at Real Madrid, and one with United, Ronaldo aims to end Juventus' 23-year wait for a third European title.

Three-time defending champion Madrid will play Roma, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.

Barcelona heads a tough group with Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, while three former European champions Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax are together with AEK Athens.

Liverpool, the runner-up last season, was the toughest third-seeded team and landed with Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade.

English champion Manchester City got a favorable group with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon and Hoffenheim.

Atletico Madrid, whose Metropolitano stadium hosts the final on June 1, is grouped with Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and Club Brugge.

Lokomotiv Moscow, seeded in the top pot, will play Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray.

The 32 teams will share a record 1.95 billion euros ($2.28 billion) in prize money from UEFA.

Games kick off on Sept. 18.

Here is the draw in full:

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge
Group B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV, Inter
Group C: Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade
Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray
Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens
Group F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim
Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen
Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys

Related items

  • Napoli will not sack 'big signing' Ancelotti if they miss Champions League qualification, says De Laurentiis Napoli will not sack 'big signing' Ancelotti if they miss Champions League qualification, says De Laurentiis

    Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis says he will not sack Carlo Ancelotti if the Serie A side miss out on Champions League qualification.

    Ancelotti's team will qualify from Group C if they avoid defeat at last season's finalists Liverpool on Tuesday, or if they lose and Paris Saint-Germain are also beaten at Red Star Belgrade.

    PSG need a win to guarantee their own progress but will also be through if Liverpool fail to beat Napoli.

    Although Napoli are second in the Serie A table having won four of their last five games, they are already eight points behind leaders Juventus, who are hunting an eighth consecutive title.

    But De Laurentiis will keep faith in Ancelotti, who previously said Napoli would be "a*******s" if they fail to finish in the top two in Group C.

    "Going out of the Champions League or continuing does not change anything, for me this year’s big signing remains Ancelotti," the club president, also a film producer, said on Radio Kiss Kiss.

    "I am happy to have found a partner like I did in film. We've been in Europe for nine years. You know I am always thinking differently about football.

    "We are out at sea, it's our natural element, and for the Neapolitans it's important, we hope it's a good omen. I never look back, that's my philosophy: always think about tomorrow."

  • Guardiola not interested in 'exceptional' Saul Guardiola not interested in 'exceptional' Saul

    Manchester City are not preparing to smash their transfer record with a bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

    Reports in Spain suggested City were ready to meet Atleti's €150million release clause for Saul, as they search for a long-term successor to Fernandinho.

    Ex-Barcelona boss Guardiola spoke of his admiration for Saul at a news conference ahead of City's Champions League match against Hoffenheim, but insisted the 24-year-old's long-term future is at the Wanda Metropolitano.

    "Manchester City have interest in 125 players in the last day, so one more," he said in an initially weary response to the rumour.

    "Sometimes I read 'Pep Guardiola is interested in this player'. Still I didn't know him.

    "[Saul] is a fantastic player but we are not interested in him. He is an Atletico Madrid player who is going to stay there for a long time because he is an exceptional player."

    One midfielder set to feature prominently in City's long-term future is Phil Foden, after the England Under-21 international signed a contract extension until 2024 with the Premier League champions.

    Securing a new deal for Foden is a coup for City after his former youth-team colleague Jadon Sancho's departure to Borussia Dortmund last year, while fellow teenager Brahim Diaz is reportedly set to reject an extended stay in favour of a switch to Real Madrid.

    "I'm delighted, I'm happy. It would have been our desire for Jadon to stay here, Brahim to stay here. That was our wish," Guardiola said.

    "With Phil, we convinced him because we believe he has something unique, a special player like Jadon and Brahim.

    "In the next five or six years we are going to help him to be a better player and he is going to help us to be a better team.

    "He is an incredible fighter and he is a Manchester City fan."

    Kevin De Bruyne, Ederson and Raheem Sterling are first-team stars to have signed new long-term deals at City in 2018, with Leroy Sane's future also on the agenda.

    The Germany winger's current terms run until 2021 and he appears set on a stay in Manchester as talks continue.

    "Since the beginning, since I arrived here, I am really happy. I enjoy playing here a lot. The players and the coach are amazing," said the 22-year-old, speaking alongside Guardiola on Tuesday.

    "I felt really at home here from day one and of course [a new contract] is possible."

  • Ten Hag unsure whether to risk Ajax stars against Bayern Ten Hag unsure whether to risk Ajax stars against Bayern

    Erik ten Hag indicated he may rest Ajax stars for their last Champions League group game against Bayern Munich even though top spot in Group E is at stake.

    Kasper Dolberg, Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek are among the players carrying injuries with Ajax needing to beat the Bundesliga champions in Amsterdam to finish first.

    With a place in the knockout rounds already guaranteed for the Eredivisie side, Ten Hag is unsure whether or not players including Ziyech will be risked against Bayern.

    "I think you always come across something. Fortunately, we have a large squad, which enables us to take care of injuries," he told reporters on Tuesday.

    "Last weekend [at PEC Zwolle] we played on artificial grass, or an ice rink if you like. At the highest level, these kinds of fields do not belong, unfortunately this is the case in the Netherlands.

    "We hope that we have everyone on board to take the fight, but we have to wait for the last training sessions, we have no certainty.

    "The first place in the group is important. You can create a better starting position in this. But we also have to deal with a competition.

    "We have to make a good assessment. We cannot exclude anything."

    Ajax lost goalkeeper Andre Onana to injury in the first half of their Eredivisie win at Zwolle on Saturday.

    The 22-year-old, though, expects to recover from a hamstring problem in time to face Bayern.

    "I think I'm ready to play," he told a news conference. "I'll probably be there, but I'm going to train first."

    Ajax are widely expected to lose star midfielder Frenkie De Jong, who has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, either in January or at the end of the season.

    Teenage defender Matthijs de Ligt has also been linked with leaving Ajax but Onana is unconcerned about the prospect of the club being without two of Europe's brightest young talents.

    "Of course we want to do something big for the club," Onana added. "There are a lot of rumours about some players, but in the end we are Ajax players and we want to win everything."

SportsMax Zone

Latest Tweets

Can the Windies use this victory as inspiration for the remainder of the series? https://t.co/6jJXRLKGAs https://t.co/9hlCaNqD11
Big praise for the Jamaican-born player from the world's best football coach. https://t.co/48oAha1lxx https://t.co/mMDYQam0Pl
Can Alia Atkinson take home the 50m breaststroke gold at the World Championships? https://t.co/hy3qcknCKH https://t.co/aeFiwJ92pi
Follow SportsMax on Twitter
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.