Cristiano Ronaldo signs autographs in Monaco ahead of the Champions League draw. Photo: @ChampionsLeague via Twitter
Cristiano Ronaldo signs autographs in Monaco ahead of the Champions League draw. Photo: @ChampionsLeague via Twitter
Lionel Messi made time for the fans in Monaco on Thursday. Photo: @ChampionsLeague via Twitter
Lionel Messi made time for the fans in Monaco on Thursday. Photo: @ChampionsLeague via Twitter

CAPE TOWN – Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City couldn’t have hoped for easier draws for the Uefa Champions League group stage.

The draw was attended by the crème de la crème of world football – including Real Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon – in Monaco on Thursday, with the defending champions Real Madrid facing a stern test in Group H.

Zinedine Zidane’s outfit will have to take on German giants Borussia Dortmund, London side Tottenham and Apoel FC.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be delighted with the Red Devils’ outcome, as they take on Benfica, FC Basel and CSKA Moscow in Group A.

English champions Chelsea, though, face a tough task against Atletico Madrid, Roma and newcomers Qarabag of Azerbaijan, who have South African striker Dino Ndlovu on their books.

Another local player in the Champions League will be defender Rivaldo Coetzee, whose Celtic team are in Group B with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Anderlecht.

That means Coetzee may have to mark Neymar when Celtic face PSG!

There will be a bun-fight for top spot in Group D as well, with Juventus and Barcelona drawing each other, along with Olympiakos and Sporting Lisbon.

Match-day one will take place on September 12 and 13.

Uefa Champions League Draw

Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel, CSKA Moscow

Group B: Bayern Munich, PSG, Anderlecht, Celtic

Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, Qarabag

Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting Lisbon

Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor

Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord

Group G: Monaco, FC Porto, Besiktas, Leipzig

Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, Apoel FC

 

IOL Sport