With the Champions League group stage draws being done and dusted, the football world is set for yet another exhilarating campaign. Group B(Barca, Inter, Tottenham, PSV), Group C(Liverpool, Napoli, PSG, Belgrade) and Group H(Man Utd, Juventus, Valencia, Young Boys) in particular, promise to make this year’s tournament a special one from the very start.
Homecomings of former players are always emotional for many football fans. There’s a pang of sadness mixed coupled with a joy of watching a player return to his former home to play against his ex-teammates. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
4 Thomas Lemar (Monaco vs Atletico Madrid)
Thomas Lemar raised eyebrows of the world’s best clubs with his impressive performances in the three-year stint at Monaco from 2015 to 2018. He joined Atletico Madrid this summer and will be more than keen to replicate his heroics in Spain.
An early test he has been put up against is facing the club that made him a superstar; Thomas Lemar will be crucial for Atleti when they face Monaco at the Wanda Metropolitano and the Stade Louis II in the UCL. The Frenchman appeared 127 times for Les Rouges et Blancs and scored 22 goals.
3 Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City)
The Champions League group stage draws this season have ensured that Brazilian anchorman Fernandinho will visit the Donbass Arena, the home of Ukraninan heavyweights Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Brazilian served Shakhtar from 2005 to 2013, turning out 284 times for the club and scoring 53 goals. Ever since his move to Premier League champions Manchester City the 33-year-old has transitioned into one of the finest players in his position.4
2 Paul Pogba (Juventus vs Manchester United)
Paul Pogba’s famous fall out with the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson is common knowledge for football fans. Manchester United lost the Frenchman on a free transfer to Juventus in 2012.
Pogba left no stone unturned in proving how wrong United were in cashing in on him. An instant hit with the Bianconeri fans, he played a crucial role in Juve’s road to the finals in the UCL 2015.
With the Red Devils already under pressure after losing two of their opening three games in the league, they will be under increased pressure to perform in one of the toughest groups of the competition.
1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United vs Juventus)
Juventus being drawn in the same group as Manchester United will mean another bitter-sweet experience for the Red Devil fans. Cristiano Ronaldo will be coming home to Old Trafford for the second time since saying goodbye to the club in 2009.
He faced United for the first time back in 2013, playing the most crucial part as Real Madrid trumped his former club to advance to the quarterfinals.