Messi vs Ronaldo and the winners and losers of the Champions League group stage draw
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have shared the world's biggest individual honours between them for the best part of a decade-and-a-half. Now very much in the later stages of their awesome respective careers, they come face to face in the Champions League after Juventus were drawn against Barcelona.
Man City, meanwhile, will be happy with their lot as will 2019 winners Liverpool.
Here are some of the winners and losers of Thursday's group stage draw.
Television companies around the world will be happy to see a rematch of the two greatest players of the modern era withRonaldo versus Messi after Juventus drew Barcelona.
The rivalry between the two is huge - with Messi just ahead on Ballons d’Or while Ronaldo has the most goals in the Champions League.
With the uncertainty surrounding Barcaafter their humiliating exit to Bayern Munich in last season’s competition and Messi subsequently asking to leave the club, Ronaldo might just fancy the opportunity to press home his claim to be the greatest of the two.
It should certainly be one to watch.
Frank Lampard’s first season in European football as a coach ended with a heavy defeat to eventual winners Bayern Munich butthere was no disgrace in that as they trounced all opposition.
The Chelsealegend, however,needs to make an impact after a £200 million+ summer splurge on new signings and he will be happy with his chances of reaching the knockout stages again.
Sevilla showed their quality by winning the Europa League and cannot be taken lightly but with Russian side Krasnodar and French side Rennes playing in the Champions League for the first time, Chelsea should have time for his new arrivals to bed in andattack the competition in the second half of the year.
The Catalan coach has one last chance to win the Champions League with Manchester City and has been given a huge chance of breaking into the knockout stages at least based on the draw.
Six months ago, City were banned from the competition but have successfully overturnedUEFA's ban on appeal. Guardiola, who won the trophy twice with Barcelona, has anotheropportunity to deliver the silverware the club wants more than any other.
The Manchester United boss has a balancing act between trying to get his side challenging for a first Premier League title in eight years and progressing in Europe. The draw has not helped his plans.
Solskjaer masterminded a shock victory over the French champions two years ago to virtually land the Old Trafford job on a permanent basis but that victory was as much down to PSG freezing and a controversial penalty as much as United’s quality.
Getting out of Group H will be a huge test of his coaching ability and one that a kinder draw would have seen him avoid.
A lot has changed since Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019 and were knocked out by an injury-time winner, and this draw seems to make it harder of seeing a repeat.
The Dutch club have now lost the quality of Hakim Ziyech, Donny van de Beek and, most recently, Sergino Dest and while their famous academy will no doubt produce replacements in time, Erik ten Hag is facing a major task to get out of Group D.
They face top seeds Liverpool along with last season’s surprise packages Atalanta, who produced some thrilling attacking football to reach the last eight before their own heart-breaking late defeat to PSG.
Zinedine Zidane missed out on winning the Champions League for the fourth time last season and the group draw has not been kind to him again this time.
Madrid will start as favourites for Group B but none of their clashes are straightforward after drawing Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk along with the dangerous pair of Interand Borussia Monchengladbach.
The Spanish champions won just three of their eight Champions League games last season and have won only one of their last six European matches atSantiago Bernabeu.
Source : goal.com
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