Messi vs Ronaldo and the winners and losers of the Champions League group stage draw

Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Barcelona Juventus GFXGetty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have shared the world's biggest individual honours between them for the best part of a decade-and-a-half. Now very much in the later stages of their awesome respective careers, they come face to face in the Champions League after Juventus were drawn against Barcelona. 

Elsewhere, holders Bayern Munich won't have it easy in a group containing Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid face some potentially tricky opposition in the form of Inter and Manchester United are cursing a nightmare draw. 

Man City, meanwhile, will be happy with their lot as will 2019 winners Liverpool. 

Here are some of the winners and losers of Thursday's group stage draw. 

Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo 2017Getty

Television companies around the world will be happy to see a rematch of the two greatest players of the modern era with Ronaldo versus Messi after Juventus drew Barcelona.

The rivalry between the two is huge - with Messi just ahead on Ballons d’Or while Ronaldo has the most goals in the Champions League.

With the uncertainty surrounding Barca after their humiliating exit to Bayern Munich in last season’s competition and Messi subsequently asking to leave the club, Ronaldo might just fancy the opportunity to press home his claim to be the greatest of the two.

It should certainly be one to watch.

Winners: Chelsea

Frank Lampard ChelseaGetty Images

Frank Lampard’s first season in European football as a coach ended with a heavy defeat to eventual winners Bayern Munich but there was no disgrace in that as they trounced all opposition.

The Chelsea legend, however, needs to make an impact after a £200 million+ summer splurge on new signings and he will be happy with his chances of reaching the knockout stages again.

Sevilla showed their quality by winning the Europa League and cannot be taken lightly but with Russian side Krasnodar and French side Rennes playing in the Champions League for the first time, Chelsea should have time for his new arrivals to bed in and attack the competition in the second half of the year.

Winner: Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola Manchester CityGetty Images

The Catalan coach has one last chance to win the Champions League with Manchester City and has been given a huge chance of breaking into the knockout stages at least based on the draw.

Six months ago, City were banned from the competition but have successfully overturned UEFA's ban on appeal. Guardiola, who won the trophy twice with Barcelona, has another opportunity to deliver the silverware the club wants more than any other.

Portuguese champions Porto are the biggest rivals along with Greek side Olympiakos, but City will be favourites to top Group C and progress to the last-16 as a seeded team.

However, they must be wary of Marseille, who finished higher in Ligue 1 than Lyon, the side that shocked City in last season’s quarter-finals.

Loser: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Solskjaer Luton Manchester United 2020Getty

The Manchester United boss has a balancing act between trying to get his side challenging for a first Premier League title in eight years and progressing in Europe. The draw has not helped his plans.

United cannot take the competition lightly but a draw against last season’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain and quarter-finalists RB Leipzig will be a huge test.

Solskjaer masterminded a shock victory over the French champions two years ago to virtually land the Old Trafford job on a permanent basis but that victory was as much down to PSG freezing and a controversial penalty as much as United’s quality.

Getting out of Group H will be a huge test of his coaching ability and one that a kinder draw would have seen him avoid.

Loser: Ajax

Andre Onana Ajax

A lot has changed since Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019 and were knocked out by an injury-time winner, and this draw seems to make it harder of seeing a repeat.

The Dutch club have now lost the quality of Hakim Ziyech, Donny van de Beek and, most recently, Sergino Dest and while their famous academy will no doubt produce replacements in time, Erik ten Hag is facing a major task to get out of Group D.

They face top seeds Liverpool along with last season’s surprise packages Atalanta, who produced some thrilling attacking football to reach the last eight before their own heart-breaking late defeat to PSG.

Loser: Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane Eden Hazard Real MadridGetty Images

Zinedine Zidane missed out on winning the Champions League for the fourth time last season and the group draw has not been kind to him again this time.

Madrid will start as favourites for Group B but none of their clashes are straightforward after drawing Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk along with the dangerous pair of Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Spanish champions won just three of their eight Champions League games last season and have won only one of their last six European matches at Santiago Bernabeu.

A similar record could see an unthinkable early exit for the 13-time record winners.

Where should Lionel Messi play next season?

141881 Votes

Thanks for voting.

Results will be shared soon.

Where should Lionel Messi play next season?

  • 7%PSG
  • 58%Barcelona
  • 8%Inter Miami
  • 18%Saudi Arabia
  • 10%Other
141881 Votes