Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Ronaldo's Juventus drawn with Man U in Champions League

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Former Brazilian international footballer Kaka shows the name of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League draw yesterday.

MONACO (AP):

Cristiano Ronaldo is going back to Manchester United and Paul Pogba will return to Juventus after the storied teams were drawn together at the Champions League group stage yesterday.

After winning four titles at Real Madrid, and one with United, Ronaldo aims to end Juventus' 23-year wait for a third European title.

Pogba played for Juventus in its 2015 final loss against Barcelona and won four straight Italian titles before moving back to Manchester - where he was first recruited as a teenager - for a then-world record fee in 2016.

Valencia and outsiders Young Boys, Swiss champion for the first time in 32 years, are also in Group H with United and Juventus.

"We cannot hide the fact that we are among the favourites this year," Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta said.

Three-time defending champions Real Madrid will start their quest for a record-extending 14th European title in Group G with Roma, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.

Barcelona head a tough-looking Group B with Tottenham, plus former champions PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan.

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

Liverpool, the runners-up last season, were the toughest third-seeded team and landed with Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade in Group C.

"I expected a difficult group, we have a difficult group and that's what the Champions League is all about," Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said.

English champions Manchester City got a favourable draw in Group F with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon and Hoffenheim.

Atletico Madrid, whose Metropolitano stadium hosts the final on June 1 are grouped with Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and Club Brugge in Group A.

 

Top Spot

 

Lokomotiv Moscow, seeded in the top spot as Russia's champion, will play Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray in Group D.

The 32 teams will share €1.95 billion (US$2.28 billion) in prize money from UEFA with the winners likely to top €100 million ($117 million) for the first time.

Games kick-off on September 18, and two teams from each group advance to the Round of 16 in February.

Teams from the same country could not be drawn together and teams from Ukraine and Russia were also kept apart due to ongoing political tensions.

This season kicks off a new three-year cycle of broadcasting and sponsor deals that have raised prize money to record levels. All 32 teams get a basic €15.25 million (US$17.8 million) just for being in the draw.

UEFA will also allocate 30 per cent of the total to reward teams for their storied history in European competitions and results over the past 10 years.

Real Madrid are guaranteed to earn at least €50 million ($59 million), plus a share of Spanish TV rights money and results bonuses.

UEFA pays €2.7 million (US$3.2 million) per group-stage win and €900,000 (US$1.05 million) for a draw.