Winners and Losers from Champions League Group Stage Draw
Thursday’s UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw produced the eight groups of four teams for the competition proper—including at least one incredibly tasty bracket—and also crowned Cristiano Ronaldo the Best Player in Europe.
No doubt several clubs will have been delighted with how they fared as the names were drawn out of the pots. Others, meanwhile, will have been less than impressed with the assignments handed them.
Following are some of the winners and losers from the event in Monaco.
Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo, Who Won Another Much-Deserved Award
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 51 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid last season—a record 17 of which came in the Champions League.
For his efforts he received UEFA's Best Player in Europe award, beating out fellow finalists Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben.
Last December the Portuguese international opened his personal museum, and Thursday's trophy will add to what is surely a bursting display.
Loser: Manchester City, Who Just Can't Get a Good Draw
Since qualifying for the Champions League in 2011, Manchester City have been handed a series of difficult group stage draws.
Thursday's result was no different, with the Premier League champions being handed matches against Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and AS Roma.
Last season, however, City finally emerged from the group stage under the guidance of manager Manuel Pellegrini, and they should be considered joint-favourites with Bayern to win Group E this time around.
But it won't be easy.
Winner: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Who Will Get a Pair of Home-Comings
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will face two of his former clubs during the Champions League group stage.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker, who represented Barcelona between 2009 and 2011, will return to Camp Nou this autumn. He'll also go back to Ajax, where he played from 2001 until joining Juventus in 2004.
The 32-year-old scored 41 goals in all competitions last season, including 10 in the Champions League.
Winner: Chelsea, Who Got a Plum Draw
The draw handed Chelsea an easy route to the Champions League round of 16 on Thursday.
Drawn into Group G, the Premier League outfit will face Schalke, Sporting Lisbon and Maribor—opponents they should have little difficulty beating between now and December.
Already favourites to win the English top flight, the Blues look a good bet to succeed on multiple fronts this term.
Loser: Television Viewers, Who Endured Another Tiresome Show
Thursday's Champions League Group Stage Draw included speeches, on-stage interviews, montages, montages and more montages.
And then there was the actual draw itself.
Although it's understandable that UEFA should want to pack as much content into its programme as possible, once again its draw show was more tiresome than entertaining.
Winner: Football Fans, Who Will Be Treated to Some Tasty Matches
With the Champions League Group Stage Draw over and done with, football fans can now turn their attention to the matches they'll be treated to over the coming months.
They’ll see Arsenal battle Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid take on Liverpool and Bayern Munich face Manchester City.
Bulgaria's Ludogorets Razgrad, with heroic defender/goalkeeper Cosmin Moti, will also get at least six more matches on European football’s biggest stage.