Milan, Arsenal face tough groups in Champions League group stage
Former European Champions and Seria A winners AC Milan face a daunting task in this year’s Champions League competition after being drawn with four former European Champions.
The seven-time European champions will face Messi and company when they play FC Barcelona and will also face Holland representatives FC Ajax and 1967 European Champions Celtic, who last year reached the knockout stage after beating Barcelona.
The draws were made this evening in Monaco.
Meanwhile, former Champions League finalists Arsenal, who this week confirmed their place in this year’s competition after a 5-0 aggregate win over Fenerbache, have been drawn in arguably the toughest group. The North London side will face last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Olympique de Marseille.
The Gunners, who have had an inconsistent start to the new season, have been drawn in Group F.
On the other hand, Group B sees defending Seria A champions Juventus drawn against Spanish giants Real Madrid. Spearheaded by Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, Turkish champions Galatasaray will pose a stern test to Juventus and Real Madrid while Danish side FC Copenhagen complete the group.
Defending English champions Manchester united and English counterparts Chelsea are expected to go through Group A and E respectively. Manchester neighbours City however, face a tricky test to go through the knockout stage after they were drawn against defending Champions League champions Bayern Munich. Backed by millions, the Sky Blues also face tricky matches against CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.
Group C sees nouveau-riche Paris Saint Germain face Europa League runners up Benfica, Olympiacos and Benfica. Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Austria Vienna completed the draw in Group G.
The ceremony also saw Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery crowned as UEFA’s Best Player in Europe award for 2012/13, ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
GROUP A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad
GROUP B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen
GROUP C: Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiacos, Anderlecht
GROUP D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen
GROUP E: Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest
GROUP F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli
GROUP G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Austria Vienna
GROUP H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic