Man City meet PSG and Messi in the pick of the Champions League groups while Liverpool get Atletico and Chelsea face Juventus… and it’s a dream draw for Man United, who have a Villarreal rematchThe group stage for the 2021-22 Champions League has now been decided Man City, United, Liverpool and Chelsea are the English sides representingThe matches will get underway in September as fans return to the groundsHuge fixtures have been served up with heavyweights meeting each other By Danny Gallagher For Mailonline
Published: 12:52 EDT, 26 August 2021 | Updated: 16:15 EDT, 26 August 2021
Manchester City will face Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain in this season’s Champions League group stage as Thursday’s draw threw up some mouthwatering clashes.
Reigning champions Chelsea will do battle with Juventus after being pitted together in Group H, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be making a return to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium after being draw against reigning Spanish champions Atletico Madrid in Group B, as well as Porto and AC Milan.
But Man City face a battle of the riches after being paired with none other than PSG in Group A, as their north west rivals Manchester United will dive into a re-run of last season’s Europa League final after being drawn against Villarreal in Group F, along with Atalanta and BSC Young Boys.
The eagerly awaited group stage fixtures for this year’s Champions League have been revealed
Chelsea and Juve will be joined in group H by Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg and Swedish titans Malmo.
In Group A City and PSG will also face potential underdogs RB Leipzig who have upset the apple cart in German football in recent years, as Club Brugge make up the group.
The eyes of football fans around the world are likely to be lasered onto Group A, with Messi having made the switch to Paris earlier this summer.
A showdown between City and PSG will be ramped up further if speculation over a shock Cristiano Ronaldo move to Manchester City – to join the rivals of his former club – turns out to be true.
Lionel Messi and Neymar will go up against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the groups
Holders Chelsea find themselves in a group with Juventus, Zenit St Petersburg and Malmo
The draw was assisted by former Chelsea midfield maestro Michael Essien, who helped pluck the balls from the containers and select the match-ups, along with his ex-team mate Branislav Ivanovic.
Across the other groups an interesting showdown has been served up in Group E, with Barcelona and Bayern Munich going head to head with Benfica and Dynamo Kiev thrown into the mix.
Group D sees Real Madrid meet Inter Milan, with Shakhtar Donestk and Moldovan side FC Sheriff Tiraspoll.
Liverpool will return to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium where they won the trophy in 2019
In Group G, perhaps the most kind selection of sides have been picked out to meet one another. Spanish giants Sevilla will very much fancy their chances, in a group which also includes Lille, Salzburg and Wolfsburg.
Completing the full set of fixtures for the first stage of the competition is Group C comprising Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Besiktas.
During the ceremony a run-down of the big individual awards was also announced, for players who performed above their peers during last season’s Champions League competition.
Predictably, the final three-man shortlist in each positional category were largely dominated by the finalists Man City and Chelsea.
Jorginho won the coveted UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award but was unable to collect the honour in person due to travel restrictions in line with Covid-19 guidance
Blues stopper Edouard Mendy took the Goalkeeper of the Year award, while City’s Ruben Dias won Defender of the Year.
N’Golo Kante scooped Midfielder of the Year, while Dortmund’s free-scoring Erling Haaland proudly accepted the Striker of the Year accolade.
The big solo award that everyone had been waiting for – UEFA Men’s Player of the Year – was chopped down to a final three of Kante, Kevin De Bruyne and Jorginho.
Representatives from each competing team watched on as Chelsea general Jorginho won the honour, after his starring role in seeing the Blues triumph in Porto, along with his successful summer of guiding Italy to the title of European Championship winners.
THE 2021-22 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE DRAW GROUP A
FC Sheriff Tiraspoll
BSC Young Boys
Zenit St Petersburg