Paris Saint-Germain will face Manchester City in this season’s Champions League after the two giants were pitted against each other in the group stage draw on Thursday.
Lionel Messi’s arrival in Paris is hoped to provide the missing piece in PSG’s bid to win the Champions League but the club faces a Manchester City side bidding to do the same thing.
City was beaten by eventual winner Chelsea in the final of the competition last season and Pep Guardiola’s side will be hungry to go one step further this year.
The group draw may also see Messi do battle with Cristiano Ronaldo again, with social media speculation linking the Portuguese forward with a move to the Etihad Stadium.
RB Leipzig and Club Brugge face an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stages after also being drawn alongside PSG and Manchester City in a dangerous looking Group A.
Meanwhile, champion Chelsea faces Ronaldo’s current club Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg and Malmo in Group H.
Moldovan side FC Sheriff has already made history after becoming the first club from the country to qualify for the main draw but faces a difficult task in Group D, alongside 13-time champion Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk.
While Messi looks to fire his new PSG side to victory, his former club Barcelona will have to look for inspiration elsewhere to qualify out of Group E. It faces games against German juggernaut Bayern Munich, Benfica and Dynamo Kiev.
Manchester United fans will feel confident that its side can get into the knockout stages after being given a favorable draw against last year’s Europa League winner Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys.
The first round of group stage fixtures is set to take place on September 14 and 15, with the final set for St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 28, 2022.
Along with the draw, the ceremony also announced a host of individual awards for last season’s performances.
Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante won men’s goalkeeper and midfielder of the year respectively. Manchester City’s Ruben Dias was named defender of the year while Erling Haaland was given the forward award.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s Sandra Panos, Irene Paredes, Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso won women’s goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward of the year awards.
Alexia and Chelsea’s Jorginho picked up the overall player of the year awards.
Draw in full
Group A: Manchester City, PSG, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge
Group B: Atlético Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, AC Milan
Group C: Sporting CP, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Besiktas
Group D: Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Sheriff
Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kiev
Group F: Villarreal, Manchester United, Atalanta, Young Boys
Group G: Lille, Sevilla, Salzburg, Wolfsburg
Group H: Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg, Malmo