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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Ronaldo set for Man United reunion in Champions League group stages

The four English clubs discovered their opponents for this year’s group stages in Monaco this evening.

Kaka during this evening's draw in Monaco.
Kaka during this evening's draw in Monaco.
Image: Harold Cunningham - UEFA

MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE been handed a tough draw for the Champions League group stages, with Jose Mourinho’s side set for a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo in Group H.

United were drawn alongside Italian champions Juventus, Valencia and group-stage debutants Young Boys of Switzerland in the 2018/19 group stages, which get underway on Tuesday 18 September.

Ronaldo spent six years at United, winning the Champions League in 2008, before moving to Real Madrid in 2009.

He will come up against his compatriot Mourinho, under whom he played during his time at Real, while United midfielder Paul Pogba can also look forward to facing his old team.

Liverpool, meanwhile, will face Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade in Group C as Jurgen Klopp’s side bid to go one step better than last season and lift a sixth European crown. 

Premier League champions Manchester City will be pleased with their draw after being pitted against Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon and German outfit Hoffenheim in Group F, while Tottenham face a formidable challenge in Group B alongside three former European champions in Barcelona, PSV and Inter. 

Inter are returning to the competition for the first time in seven seasons. They were in the same group as Tottenham in 2010/11, with the Italian side memorably winning 4-3 at San Siro despite Gareth Bale scoring a hat-trick.

Holders Madrid begin their bid to win a fourth consecutive Champions League crown in a kind-looking Group G, featuring Roma, CSKA Moscow and the Czech side Viktoria Plzen.

Changes brought in for this season mean half of the clubs in the group stage were allocated to the top four sides in the four best-ranked leagues: Spain, England, Germany and Italy.

It is becoming ever harder for clubs from elsewhere to compete, but this draw ensures there will be some variety on into the knockout rounds, not least with Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto and Galatasaray joining Bundesliga side Schalke in Group D.

The first round of group games will be played on September 18 and 19, with Uefa due to release the fixtures later on Thursday evening.

Champions League 2018/19 group stage draw:

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Ryan Bailey

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