Messi’s PSG and Manchester City will meet in the Champions League group stage

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, two of the main candidates to win the Champions League, will meet in the group stage of this season’s competition after coming out together in Thursday’s draw.

Pep Guardiola’s City beat PSG in last season’s Champions League semi-finals en route to losing the final to Chelsea in Porto.

Qatar-owned Paris responded to that disappointment with the signing of Lionel Messi, and there is a possibility that the two club encounters could see the Argentine take on great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese forward is strongly linked to a move to Abu Dhabi-owned City from Juventus before the European transfer window closes on Tuesday, August 31.

The clubs are in Group A along with RB Leipzig and Belgian champion Club Brugge.

Leipzig were already in a group with PSG last season, the two teams qualified for the round of 16 ahead of Manchester United.

The Germans, who also lost to PSG in the 2020 semi-finals in Lisbon, lost manager Julian Nagelsmann to Bayern Munich in the summer and replaced him with Jesse Marsch.

Reigning champions Chelsea will play Juventus in Group H and both clubs are expected to advance from a section that also includes Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg and Malmo.

The Swedish champions knocked out Rangers in the third qualifying round.

St. Petersburg will host this season’s Champions League final on May 28 next year.

Thursday’s draw in Istanbul also saw Barcelona in a fascinating Group E alongside Bayern Munich, Benfica and Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kiev.

For Barça it will be a first meeting with Bayern since they were humiliated 8-2 by the German giants at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz in Lisbon in the quarter-finals a year ago.

Liverpool will face Spanish champions Atlético de Madrid, marking a return to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium where they beat Tottenham Hostpur in the 2019 final to win the European Cup for the sixth time.

Jurgen Klopp’s team will also play AC Milan and FC Porto in Group B. Milan return to the Champions League for the first time since 2013/14.

Manchester United came out in Group F with Villarreal, Atalanta and the Swiss champions Young Boys.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team lost to Villarreal on penalties in last season’s Europa League final.

The first round of group matches will be played on September 14 and 15.


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