Cristiano Ronaldo pitted against Lionel Messi in Champions League group stage draw

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will face each other in this season’s Champions League group stage after the draw was announced on Thursday.

Ronaldo’s Juventus and Messi’s Barcelona were pitted against each other in what promises to be an exciting Group G match-up.

Both men have flourished in European football’s most prestigious competition throughout their careers, with Ronaldo winning five titles compared to Messi’s four.

However, spare a thought for both Dynamo Kiev and Hungarian underdogs Ferencvaros who will both be competing with two of Europe’s giants for the top two qualification places from Group G.

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Tough draws

This season’s competition will start again in just three weeks having been delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It was only in August that Bayern Munich was lifting the trophy after beating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in Lisbon and the reigning champion will be among the favorites to win the title once again.

It was drawn alongside Atletico Madrid, Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow in a tricky Group A but will feel confident of progressing into the knockout rounds.

Paris Saint-Germain, last season’s runners-up, will face a difficult group stage against Manchester United, RB Leipzig and Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir.

The Parisians came painfully close to lifting its first European title last season and will be hoping its all-star team can go one better.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid faces a possible hazardous group with Shakhtar Donetsk, a resurgent Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach whilst Liverpool will contend with Ajax, Atalanta and FC Midtjylland.

Meanwhile, Manchester City will be happy with a more favorable draw against Porto, Olympiakos and Marseille.

UEFA awards

Along with the draw, the ceremony also announced a host of awards. Bayern trio Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski were named UEFA goalkeeper, defender, and forward of the year respectively.

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne won UEFA midfielder of the year.

Unsurprisingly, it was last season’s tournament top scorer Lewandowski who was named UEFA’s men’s player of the year.

Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, defender Wendie Renard and midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsán all collected the women’s awards with new Chelsea striker Pernille Harder being named UEFA’s forward and women’s player of the year.

The draw took place behind closed doors in Geneva, Switzerland, with clubs able to follow along online.

The first round of group games is set to take place between October 20-21, but it’s not yet clear whether fans will be able to attend.

The full draw for this season’s Champions League group stage is below:

Group A: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow

Group B: Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach

Group C: Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos, Marseille

Group D: Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland

Group E: Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes

Group F: Zenit St Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Bruges

Group G: Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kiev, Ferencvaros

Group H: Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Basaksehir