Right now, Lionel Messi is right where he deserves to be. La Pulga has returned Barcelona to the top, and is now reaping the fruits of last season’s excellent work. The Argentine was handed UEFA’s ‘Best Player in Europe’ award at the glamorous UEFA Champions League group stage draw gala yesterday, but the Argentine’s first win in the race for the UEFA award looks set to be only the beginning in what promises to be a scintillating year for the 28-year-old.
Málaga CF may have finished ninth in La Liga last season, but they are not to be underestimated. They are the only team in all of Europe to play Barcelona and not concede in 2014-15: The Andalusians took four points off Barcelona in 2014/15 and managed to win 1-0 at Camp Nou. 45-year-old manager Javi Gracia made a massive impact in his first season coaching in La Liga, and under him Málaga have become a superbly organized defensive team. Much like Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid in 2013/14, Málaga had Barcelona’s number last season – so can the Catalans break the curse?
UEFA MVP VOTING
LEO 49 VOTES
CRISTIANO 2 VOTES (ONE FROM PORTUGAL)
D10S SWEEPS CR7
CRISTIANO: “WITHOUT ‘LITTLE’ BLATTER, I’M NOTHING”
THE GREAT TRIDENT RETURNS
THREE CRACKS TO SCORE
Neymar: “I want to make history”
The Trident returns in an official match 84 days after the glorious final in Berlin
UEFA’S GRAND CELEBRATION OF BARÇA IN MONACO BEFORE AN IDEAL DRAW
Messi is the season’s MVP and scored the best goal
This time Cristiano Ronaldo properly congratulated Leo
Topped off with Ter Stegen, who won the prize for best save
BEST PLAYER IN EUROPE
Leo received the trophy while Cristiano scowled after his loss
And here it is!
The group stage draw for the Champions League 2015-2016 season took place tonight in Monaco. The draw, as usual, was filled with suspense and was suitably built up by UEFA, who milked the event for all its worth. Without further ado, here’s what awaits Barça this season!
As top seed, Barça was in Pot 1. The Catalan club were the first drawn by Andoni Zubizarreta and were promptly assigned to Group E. The club was then joined by Bayer Leverkusen from Pot 2, Roma from Pot 3, and BATE Borisov from Pot 4.
Tough? Easy? Remains to be seen? Let us know what you think of the results, culés!
Read on for the full list.
Winning big at UEFA
Earlier today it was announced that Marc André ter Stegen won the UEFA Save of the Season award for his double save against F.C. Bayern Munich’s Robin Lewandowski during the Champions League semi final. Ter Stegen won with 28% of the votes, with Manuel Neuer (20%), Gianluigi Buffon (20%), Thibaut Courtois (11%), and Joe Hart (7%) coming in behind him.