Follow the latest updates live from the Champions League group stage draw as Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea all discover who they will face in Europe this season.
Reigning Premier League champions Liverpool enter the draw in pot one, where they are joined by last season’s European conquerors Bayern Munich little more than a month on from their final triumph over Paris Saint-Germain – who also occupy a spot among the top seeds courtesy of their Ligue 1 triumph. They are joined by Europa League winners Sevilla and four other league champions in the form of Real Madrid, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Porto, meaning a tricky draw could be on the cards for the other English clubs involved.
City, United and Chelsea all find themselves in pot two, and although that means they will avoid strong opposition such as Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, there are a number of clubs in pot three who will undoubtedly be marked as the clubs to avoid – where RB Leipzig, Inter Milan and Atalanta are the pick of the bunch. Here’s how the pots will be drawn, with live updates of both the Champions League draw and the annual Uefa awards below:
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW
Only 15 minutes to wait until the draw ceremony gets underway in Geneva.
It feels like just yesterday that the 2019/20 campaign finished, and that’s largely because it’s been only 32 days since Bayern defeated PSG 1-0 to win their sixth European crown to pull level with Liverpool and sit behind only Real Madrid and AC Milan in the all-time list of winners.
However, this season’s campaign did not even wait for the 2019/20 one to complete before it got underway, with the preliminary round getting underway back on 8 August with five rounds already in the bag.
UEFA MEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Let’s look a little closer at the top awards.
In the men’s department, three names have been singled out from the rest of the pack as the most influential players to have featured across the 2019/20 European season – the longest in football’s history.
Two of them ended up as Champions League winners, with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski joined by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Lewandowski finished miles clear of his nearest rivals in the race for the top-scorer award, with his tally of 15 unrivalled as Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland followed in second place with 10, while Neuer delivered a memorable performance in the final to keep PSG at bay.
The only man who could spoil the party hails from the Premier League as Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is included on the three-man shortlist, with the Belgian recognised for his impressive form last season in helping City to the quarter-finals, where they were surprisingly bettered by Lyon.
Who gets the vote for your player of the year?
We do already know the identity of one award winner.
Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba is set to collect the 2020 Uefa President’s Award, which will be presented by the current president Aleksander Ceferin for his “commitment to excellence both on and off the pitch”.
Since hanging up his boots, Drogba has been working to improve the lives of children in developing nations through football-based initiatives, and after a trophy-laden career at Stamford Bridge, Drigba has continued to excel in his new challenges.
Speaking after Drogba was announced as this year’s award winner, Ceferin said of Drogba: “Didier is a hero to millions of football fans for his achievements throughout his glittering playing career. He is a leader – a pioneer. I will remember him as a player for his skill, strength and intelligence, but above all for his insatiable appetite to succeed – a trait which is just as present in his desire to help others off the field of play.
“The UEFA Champions League has become the greatest club competition in the world, partly due to our clubs being able to attract the best players from around the world. We have been lucky to have seen the likes of George Weah, Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba play at the very highest level. They in turn, have blazed a trail for African footballers and have given inspiration to a whole new generation who look to follow in their footsteps.”
I know what you’re thinking … 12 awards?!
If there’s one thing we know about Uefa, it’s that they love to put on a ceremony, and although this year’s group stage draw takes place in Geneva behind closed doors due to the coronavirus crisis, the show must go on.
As well as the draw, Uefa’s annual awards will be dished out, with both the men’s and women’s gongs due to be announced this afternoon. Here’s a full list of the awards that still need to be awarded:
- UEFA Men’s Player of the Year
- UEFA Women’s Player of the Year
- UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year
- UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year
- Goalkeeper of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season
- Defender of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season
- Midfielder of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season
- Forward of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season
- Goalkeeper of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season
- Defender of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season
- Midfielder of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season
- Forward of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League season
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Champions League group stage draw, where the four Premier League sides along with the remaining 28 clubs learn who they will face over the coming months in the race for the knockout stages.
Six-time European champions Liverpool find themselves placed in pot one, with the remaining Premier League sides all located in pot two in the form of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
As well as the group stage draw, Uefa will unveil their annual award winners, which will be headlined by the Uefa Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year.
With the ceremony due to get underway at 4pm BST (5pm CET) and no fewer than 12 awards to dish out throughout the evening, there’s no shortage of developments to bring you over the next two hours.
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