Ronaldo's Juventus gets Messi's Barcelona in CL group stage
GENEVA, Switzerland (AP):
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will face each other in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time, and fans could be allowed back in to watch.
Messi's Barcelona were drawn from the pot of second-seeded teams Thursday into the group where Ronaldo's Juventus team were already placed as a top seed. The group was later completed by Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencváros.
The 35-year-old Ronaldo and the 33-year-old Messi had a nine-year rivalry in Spain's LaLiga when the Portugal star was with Real Madrid. However, they could never face each other so early in the Champions League then because clubs from the same country are separated in the draw.
They did meet in the 2009 final, when Messi scored as Barcelona beat Ronaldo's Manchester United 2-0.
Dates for the games in Turin and Barcelona will not be confirmed until Friday, but there could be fans on hand to watch the high-profile clashes.
UEFA said stadiums can be filled to 30 per cent capacity for all matches it organises, including the Champions League, Europa League and national team games. However, only home fans will be allowed, and local authorities have final approval.
No fans were allowed into stadiums in the final stages of the Champions League or Europa League in August, nor in qualifying rounds in recent weeks.
Juventus and Barcelona were paired in the group stage of the 2017-18 season -- Ronaldo's last in Madrid when he helped Real win a fourth Champions League title in five seasons. Messi scored twice in a 3-0 home win over Juventus, before the teams drew 0-0 in Italy.
UEFA Champions League groups
Group A: Bayern, Atlético Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moskva
Group B: Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Internazionale, Mönchengladbach
Group C: Porto, Manchester City, Olympiacos, Marseille
Group D: Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland
Group E: Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes
Group F: Zenit, Dortmund, Lazio, Club Brugge
Group G: Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv, Ferencváros
Group H: Paris, Manchester United, Leipzig, İstanbul Başakşehir