Champions League draw preview great games

United will face Ronaldo and Juventus in the Champions League group stages this season, first at Old Trafford on October 23 and then at the Allianz Stadium on November 7.

Thursday's Group Stage draw saw Barca join Tottenham, PSV and Inter in Group B while reigning champions Madrid meet Roma, CSKA and Viktoria Plzen in Group G.

Real Madrid, who beat Liverpool 3-1 in last year's final, cleaned up in the Uefa awards, with their players winning in all the categories. LaLiga side Valencia and Young Boys, of Switzerland, are United's other opponents.

Three more former European champions Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax are together with underdog AEK Athens in Group E.

They drew Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, ensuring that one of the world's top teams won't make it to the round of 16. The Champions League is the most hard European competition and you can see that looking at the group.

Beaten finalists Liverpool don't have it much easier, picked in Group A alongside Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Club Brugge as they aim to go one step further than a year ago.

"They're a club that are always in these rounds of the competition and in recent years have produced brilliant performances".

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge.

Lokomotiv Moscow, seeded in the top pot as Russia's champion, will play Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray in Group D. The group includes Manchester United, one of the teams Ronaldo played for early in his career.

Matchday 1: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Hoffenheim and Manchester City vs. Olympique Lyonnais.

"When the group stage finishes you have the knockout stage".

The Champions League has been altered this season, with more places given to teams from the bigger leagues - Spain, England, Germany and Italy now have four guaranteed slots apiece - and fewer from Europe's less glamorous competitions.

Red Star, former club of Reds midfielder Marko Grujic, are in the Champions League for the first time since 1992.

  • Steve Townsend