Ronaldo’s Juventus face Messi’s Barcelona in UEFA Champions League group stage

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Ronaldo’s Juventus face Messi’s Barcelona in UEFA Champions League group stage

Two of greatest names in modern football, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, will face each other in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Ronaldo’s Juventus, who won the 2019-20 Italian Serie A, were drawn against Messi’s Barcelona in Group G, alongside Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev, and Ferencvaros from Hungary.

In Group A, defending champions Bayern Munich will face Atletico Madrid, as well as FC Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow.

English Premier League champions Liverpool play Ajax, Atalanta, and newcomers FC Midtjylland in Group D, while 13-times winners Real Madrid face ties against Shakhtar Donetsk, Internazionale, and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Meanwhile last seasons runners-up, Paris Saint-Germain were drawn against Manchester United, RB Leipzig and debutants Istanbul Basaksehir in a strong Group H.

2019-20 UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla will face Chelsea, and two other first-time group stage teams in Krasnodar from Russia, and Stade Rennes from France.

Porto will host Manchester City, Olympiakos and Marseille in Group C, while Zenit St Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, and Club Brugge make up Group E.

A total of 15 countries are represented, with Ferencvaros giving Hungary just its second entry in the UEFA Champions League group stage in 25 years.

See the full draw below:

Group A: Bayern Munich (Germany, holders), Atletico Madrid (Spain), FC Salzburg (Austria), Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia)

Group B: Real Madrid (Spain), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Internazionale (Italy), Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany)

Group C: FC Porto (Portugal), Manchester City (England), Olympiakos (Greece), Marseille (France)

Group D: Liverpool (England), Ajax (Netherlands), Atalanta (Italy), FC Midtjylland (Denmark)

Group E: Sevilla (Spain), Chelsea (England), Krasnodar (Russia), Stade Rennes (France)

Group F: Zenit St Petersburg (Russia), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Lazio (Italy), Club Brugge (Belgium)

Group G: Juventus (Italy), Barcelona (Spain), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), Ferencvaros (Hungary)

Group H: PSG (France), Manchester United (England), RB Leipzig (Germany), Istanbul Basaksehir (Turkey)

All 32 clubs will receive a basic fee of €15.25 million euros plus more based on match results, shares of national broadcast rights, and a ranking of their historical record in UEFA competitions.

The draw was conducted behind closed doors at the House of European Football, UEFA’s headquarters, on the shore of Lake Geneva.

Group fixtures in the Champions League begin on October 20 and are scheduled to last until early December. The competition usually begins in September was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The top two teams from each group will then progress to the knockout rounds in February, while third-placed teams drop into the UEFA Europa League.

Games will take place behind closed doors until further notice, but UEFA hopes some teams, with approval from local public authorities, can let spectators attend by October.

Some games could also be played in neutral countries if infection rates spike during winter.

This year’s final is scheduled for May 29 in Turkey at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, which had been due to host 2020’s finale.

The stadium previously hosted the 2005 Champions League final, when Liverpool recovered from three goals down to defeat AC Milan on penalties in the so-called “Miracle of Istanbul”.

Saint Petersburg – the prospective 2021 host – will now stage the 2022 event.

Lewandowski and Harder dominate UEFA awards

UEFA also announced the award winners for the 2019-20 season at Thursday’s ceremony in Switzerland.

Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski were named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, while Danish forward Pernille Harder of Wolfsburg was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.

Lewandowski scored 55 goals in all competitions for Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 season, while Harder became the first player to top the journalists and coaches poll for the award.

The two winners were also recognised for last season’s Champions League competition, alongside Lewandowksi’s Bayern Munich teammates Manuel Neuer and Joshua Kimmich, and Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.

Three members of the UEFA Women’s champions Lyon also received awards, in captain Wendie Renard, goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi and midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsán.

Elsewhere Coach of the Year honours were given to Munich’s Hansi Flick, and Lyon’s Jean-Luc Vasseur.

See the full list of winners below:

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, Poland)

UEFA Women’s Player of the Year – Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg, Denmark)

UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year – Hansi Flick (Bayern Munich, Germany)

UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year – Jean-Luc Vasseur (Lyon, France)

Goalkeeper of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season – Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich, Germany)

Defender of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich, Germany)

Midfielder of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season – Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium)

Forward of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, Poland)

Goalkeeper of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season – Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon, France)

Defender of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season – Wendie Renard (Lyon, France)

Midfielder of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season – Dzsenifer Marozsán (Lyon, Germany)

Forward of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season – Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg, Denmark)