Champions League Draw Preview

The final qualification round for the 2011-12 Champions League ended today and now we know a little more about what to expect from tomorrow’s draw. The draw will occur at 11:30 EST and be shown on Fox Soccer for those of us in America. So let us break this down a little.

As you may know, all the teams left in the final 32 are placed into 4 pots based on their UEFA coefficients, drawn into 8 groups of 4 teams, and then scheduled to play home and away games against the other 3 teams in their groups. Barcelona currently sits 2nd in the UEFA coeffecient (not that it matters), mostly due to being the only La Liga team past the final 16 until last year. However, being the title holders, Barcelona are the number 1 team in pot 1. Other sides placed into pot 1 include Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich (qualified yesterday), Arsenal (qualified today), Real Madrid, Porto, and Inter. Barcelona cannot be drawn into a group with any of these sides.

The second group includes Milan, Lyon, Shakhtar, Valencia, Benfica, Villareal, CSKA Moscow, and Marseille. Barcelona cannot be drawn with Valencia or Villareal because teams cannot be drawn against domestic league foes in the rounds of 32 or 16. Group 3 is the shocker here because of its strength: Zenit St. Petersburg, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiacos, Manchester City, Lille, Basel, BATE and Borisov. Barcelona can be drawn against any of these teams. Finally, group 4 contains Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Dinamo Zagreb, APOEL, Trabzonspor (taking over for Fenerbache who are involved in a match-fixing investigation), Genk, Viktoria Plzen, and Otelul Galati. Barcelona can draw any of these sides.

In my opinion, the best case scenario for Barça involves drawing Marseille or Benfica (because I want nothing to do with Eastern European nations or Milan) from Group 2. Drawing Lille, BATE, or Basel (no to City, Ajax, any Greek team, or Zenit). And then drawing any of the Group D teams that is not Dortmund (they are better than a lot of people know).

A worst case scenario involves drawing Milan or Shaktar, Manchester City, and Dortmund. Though I still believe Barcelona would finish up top there, it would be much more difficult and risk the players a lot more.

So sit back, relax, and we will find out very soon where Barcelona lines up for the Round of 32.

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277 Comments

  1. ciaran
    August 24, 2011

    Pot 3 is crazy strong for a change

    • Ryan
      August 24, 2011

      Hoo boy, that Pinto picture is something else!

    • 505
      August 24, 2011

      villa’s hair! it’s probably longer than the grass at the bernabeu πŸ™‚

    • culegirl3
      August 25, 2011

      These are worse than a high school year book photo.

      Pinto and Villa look like they belong on the tv show Cops. I think Villa must be giving some of his teammates bitch face 101 classes

      have mercy…alexis stole my heart with his adorableness πŸ™‚

      • nzm
        August 25, 2011

        I haven’t yet seen a bad photo of Alexis – that boy is gorgeous and so self-assured – and non-egotistical about it too. He’s going to be a great asset to the team.

  2. Judas Pissed
    August 25, 2011

    I wouldn’t mind getting City TBH – seen as I live a bus ride away from their ground!

  3. ElJefe
    August 25, 2011

    Got to say, given past 1st round draw opportunities, this is not very intimidating. Worst case scenario…we draw Milan, City/Bayer, Dortmund. Could we go out in that scenario…of course. Should we go out with the current squad or even half B-team?…no.

    The more notable thing for me…the Nasri news. You see superstars today and while we all suspect they could be spoiled brats or live in a different reality, deep down we all hope mews drama like Tevez is simply media driven, lost-in-translation, or legitimate reasons for being unhappy. But for Nasri to leave an amazing squad like Gunners with one of the best mentors in the sport, for another amazing squad/city like City, and immediately say its for better fans…can you imagine the disrespect and immaturity of such a player? Thank God for Fabregas and Sanchez…all I can say.

    • August 25, 2011

      “I can see they are really passionate and it reminds me a little bit of Marseille,” Nasri told City TV after posing for photographs at Eastlands.

      “Arsenal have good fans but not that passionate since they moved from Highbury to the Emirates (Stadium).

      “I remember when we played against City, when we lost 3-0, the crowd was amazing.

      “That is what I want. When you play football it is for a good atmosphere.”

      These are the direct

      • ElJefe
        August 25, 2011

        True? Perhaps. Should a player receiving over $20MM even broach the subject Day 1? Show’s you’re dealing with an absolute child. This actually makes me feel more strongly about my original point. Adding the detail here only makes it worse and more incriminating for Gunner fans (which I’m not).

      • August 25, 2011

        quotes from Nasri, from his first interview as a City player. They’re not that outrageous, to be honest. I do feel like his intent was to say that City fans are not “entitled” like Arsenal fans are nowadays. Instead, City fans are moreso just “fanatically excited” for their club’s new direction.

        I don’t see as much immaturity and disrespect as the headline titles in the BritPress had insinuated. From what Nasri said, I understand the guy feeling he needed to move from Arsenal. He kept talking about how Vieira convinced him that Man City was the place to be, that they had ambitions and a big project. And that’s something that footballers want, that’s what they’re looking for. We could paint them as merely seeking money but that’s only part of the story. These players want to win trophies.

        And that’s what’s gotten lost I think in transfer news and how clubs handle transfers. Players want those memories, those accomplishments. A lot of them are good enough to win them, but perhaps those around him aren’t looking in that direction. So players want to leave. That’s part of the big Arsenal exodus: it wasn’t just the fact that Arsenal weren’t satisfying wage demands (hell Fabregas left for less money). It’s the undeniable fact that the environment at Arsenal has seemingly been sapped of ambition. And that’s a red flag for star players, as much a red flag as “this club sometimes fails to pay its players”. And it’s a hard one to get out. From what their players in exodus have said, they want to leave because that ambition, that drive, that plan to win trophies and compete–not just to keep trucking on at 3rd or 4th. That excites people. Stars like that idea. It’s sexy. It’s what they dreamed of as a kid.

        Money is involved, yes, but it isn’t a lack of money that has condemned Arsenal. It’s a lack of a plan… a dream… where’s that sweet subtle honey that pours onto your tea and makes you want to be a part of it. Where is it? I don’t know. Maybe it is at Manchester City. They have Earl Grey there, that they served for me when they told me about the stars on the crest they had. They had meaning for what their project was meant to be. See that.

        Three Stars ***

        Right now they don’t talk the Man City talk that we can talk, but no they speak in future tongues. Those three stars are stars that they’ll give us when we lift the UEFA Champions League Cup three times in a row. They put those stars there as a prophecy, not a record book.

        And they say to he, to Sami Nasri, we are on a rocket ship club. I am the captain, and Mancini my number 1. Will you be at your post when we discover these three stars, as the young ensign on the good ship City? Or will you spent your days at the academy, playing with the younglings and training them to better themselves. Until those days come when they are good and leave for the Good Ship City.

        So yeah, I don’t blame the guy, he wants to win trophies. And you know you can get that sweet honey in your tea in Manchester, not London. So he left for the passion.

        • August 25, 2011

          sleep medication made writing this and that so outrageous…

        • Barcaleya
          August 25, 2011

          Hahaha. I was, at some point, wondering whether it was indeed you, Jose, writing.

          “where’s that sweet subtle honey that pours onto your tea”…..”they Had Earl Grey there” (Hahaha)

          And even better:

          “And they say to he, to Sami Nasri, we are on a rocket ship club. I am the captain, and Mancini my number 1. Will you be at your post when we discover these three stars, as the young ensign on the good ship City? Or will you spent your days at the academy, playing with the younglings and training them to better themselves. Until those days come when they are good and leave for the Good Ship City.

          So yeah, I don’t blame the guy, he wants to win trophies. And you know you can get that sweet honey in your tea in Manchester, not London. So he left for the passion.

          I thought I was hallucinating reading all these since I woke up at 5 in the morning. Good one, Jose!

        • mom4
          August 25, 2011

          πŸ˜†

          Jose…poet, troll eliminator, and all around great guy!

          • August 25, 2011

            Ja! I will admit that it surprised me this morning to remember writing that, but I would also be lying if I didn’t admit that it is a little embarrassing πŸ™ πŸ˜›

  4. paxtonpale
    August 25, 2011

    I don’t particularly understand the Club ranking system. I would have thought that Barcelona would be on top of Manchester United because they beat them in the final last season and the two seasons before that. Though coming back to the main point, it would be difficult to get through the group stages with Manchester City, AC MIlan and Borto. Manchester City I am particularly worried about with the injuries that happen to defenders like Pique and Puyol. I still think we can go through though it will be diificult to go through.

  5. Gogah
    August 25, 2011

    My favored draw would be
    Barca
    Benfica
    Ajax
    Dortmund

    All teams decent enough that we dont get complacent and get to see some good football. at the same time not so hardcore that pep grows more bald and risk players to injuries and long travels!

    • Barcaleya
      August 25, 2011

      But I want at least 3 if not all of these teams to go through…so I probably don’t want them in the same group.

      Think I’ll opt for:

      Barcelona
      Marseille
      Olympiacos/Basel
      Apoel/Genk

      This grouping means I don’t care about any other team but Barca.

      Have a super soft spot for Ajax. No matter that they’re not good anymore. So I don’t want to have to beat and kick them out. Benfica is ok too cause of Nolito. And Dortmund is playing really well, I think.

      Ummm…..okay! Put one more really good team in our group then and two easily beatable ones.

  6. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    I hope we get Basel! Then i could maybe go watch it live!

  7. Judas Pissed
    August 25, 2011

    European Super Cup Final on Friday night – EE & mourinho accuse UEFA of obvious bias for only letting Barcelona & Porto play for it…

  8. August 25, 2011

    My favorite draw: FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester city, Borussia Dortmund.

    Yes, yes I am serious.

    • Whatever
      August 25, 2011

      That would be killer. I’d like that too. πŸ™‚

    • Barcaleya
      August 25, 2011

      Wow. This is intense. Everyone likely to kill each other.

      And it’s only the group stages.

    • nzm
      August 25, 2011

      Whoa – that would be like mini-clasicos for each game, sans the thuggery. Heart-thumping stuff! πŸ™‚

    • Gogah
      August 25, 2011

      now why would you put our guys through so much intensity so early on

    • The__K__Man
      August 25, 2011

      Great matches sure but do we really need to have that huge amount of difficult matches? We will have more then enough difficult ones in the latter stages. I don’t doubt us passing but we really could use a break from big opponents at the start of the season.

      • August 25, 2011

        Made my reasoning on my twitter @footballmood , so I dont repeat it.

        Its all positives for me. Even games intensity.

        • August 25, 2011

          I see where you’re coming from, and I don’t doubt that we would qualify from such a difficult group. However, historically, having a tough group doesn’t seem to prepare a team for a road to the finals any better, and worse yet could compromise our efforts on the league front.

          I might not be in the majority here, but I have usually been of the opinion that the easier road to the semifinal/final the better.

  9. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    barcastuff
    Valdes Montoya Busquets Xavi Cesc Thiago Iniesta Pedro Villa called up for ESP friendly v CHL on 2 Sep and Euro qualifier v LIE on 6 Sep

    Montoya? Good for him but wow if one of our B teamers is valued that highly by VdB!

    • Jackieboy
      August 25, 2011

      Let’s hope Sergio Ramos gets benched in the near future!

      • mom4
        August 25, 2011

        Trying to find out who else got called up but can’t seem to yet.

    • Ryan
      August 25, 2011

      Wow, so many Barca players and that’s not even counting Pique and Puyol!

  10. Neel
    August 25, 2011

    I know it would be really unfair on the players, but I’d be glad to have all of them – Milan, City and Dortmund. Why the hell not? (except ofcourse being unfair on the players)

  11. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    barcastuff
    The clubs and the players have found a deal this morning. The strike for this weekend is off, the Liga will start on Saturday. #fcblive

    I’m torn. I’m glad to see a game this weekend, but an extra week to train, to rest from the super cup, and an extra week off Pique’s and Puyi’s recovery time would have been nice too.

  12. Jackieboy
    August 25, 2011

    Aaand the strike is over! Villarreal on Monday!

    • Gogah
      August 25, 2011

      so when do we play malaga? and only 2 days to prepare for villarreal?

      • mom4
        August 25, 2011

        barcastuff
        Last week’s postponed Liga games will be played on Sun 22 Jan. Games scheduled for that day will be played on Wed 2 May [via @ricardorosety]
        2 minutes ago

  13. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    HOLY COW!

    laliga_news Three more U21 Europe Champions (Montoya, Botia
    and Dominguez) called by Del Bosque for Spain NT. Full squad
    here http://t.co/G6pbj7t

    I really hope we get Botia back someday.

  14. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    OK, if the Malaga game is to be made up on Jan 22 as an away game, where does that leave those of us who scheduled a trip to Barcelona that weekend to see the Barca v Malaga home game!?!?!

    grrrrrr!

  15. blitzen
    August 25, 2011

    Guardiola: “9 Barcelona players called up for ESP? Well, adding Pique and Puyol, that could be a complete BarΓ§a line-up (smiles)”

    Aaaand the Madridista press spontaneously combusts! πŸ˜†

  16. August 25, 2011

    Ii confess to not seeing anything problematic wuth the Nasri fan quotes. Do we or don’t we want players to speak their miinds?

    Nasri has a right to say fans are blase. Yes, at the core of it is money and championships. But anyone who’s heard Liverpool fans singing to get the players fired up, pre-match, or the FCB Himno, understands how that can really stick with a player.

    • blitzen
      August 25, 2011

      It’s just a bit rude and unnecessary on his first day is all. One is supposed to be gracious to the club one has just left. Burning bridges come to mind. You don’t see Cesc saying things like that.

      • August 25, 2011

        But he did talk of stagnation, and wanting to improve, yes? That doesn’t make fans any less insulted than Nasri quotes.

        • blitzen
          August 25, 2011

          Cesc spoke of personal stagnation and wanting to improve as a player. That’s completely different.

  17. August 25, 2011

    My preference would be the easiest group possible, and let’s get everyone healthy and fully integrated. Knockout stages actually easier, I think.

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 25, 2011

      It does not matter who Barca draw, the only point is that they should get 9 points out of the first 3 games to be ready for the classico. If they leave it to the later games, it could come to bite them towards the end of the year.

  18. August 25, 2011

    Strike is over, and from what I’m reading, La Liga officials agreed to most of the players’ demands. πŸ™‚ They will pay a lump sum of $72M (that’s dollars, so around what they were demanding in euros) that’s owed to players right now, and a new fund will be created using some percentage formula from La Liga’s yearly earnings. Also, players who haven’t been paid for three months can now tear up their contracts and go on the market as free agents.

    • blitzen
      August 25, 2011

      It’s a victory for football! πŸ˜€

  19. blitzen
    August 25, 2011

    Congratulations to Montoya! This is great news for him and another step towards his being promoted to the Barça first team.

    Also notable is that Bartra, Planas, Sergi Roberto and Tello have all been called up for Spain U21 Euro vs Georgia. They were all part of the U20 WC team, so this is a promotion for them, as well as one Oriol Romeu. Barça DNA strikes again! Hopefully Luis Milla will know how to actually use Sergi Roberto, unlike the U20 coach.

  20. Judas Pissed
    August 25, 2011

    After a summer of everyone wishing we had bought a full back we now have a potential international full back in the squad! Well done Montoya!

  21. blitzen
    August 25, 2011

    I was just looking at a picture of the bombastic and overly-ornate Bernabeu Trophy here:

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Mourinho-8216-punished-8217-Casillas-for-mak?urn=sow-wp4350

    And comparing it to our classic and modest Xavi Gamper Trophy. That pretty much says it all.

    I didn’t watch the RM/Galatsaray game, but the prevailing opinion over on Bassam’s site seems to be that it was rather dull. I am just happy that CRonaldo didn’t score, or Marca probably would have tried to add it to his total for this season! πŸ˜›

    • August 25, 2011

      I think the Bernabeu Trophy actually looks good, all things considered…

      Wait that’s what the trophy looks like when it hasn’t been run over by a bus?

      • blitzen
        August 25, 2011

        That was the Copa del Rey, silly.

        • August 25, 2011

          Wait… so what you’re saying is that the Bernabeu Trophy is the same Copa del Rey trophy, but that’s what it looks like after it was run over by a bus?

    • outerspacedout
      August 25, 2011

      Casillas making sure Ramos doesn’t drop it…

      (I know it’s an old old joke by now, but you just have to)

      • nzm
        August 25, 2011

        Ramos didn’t drop the cup – the cup jumped because it was so distraught at being back in Madrid. πŸ˜›

  22. August 25, 2011

    Anyone interested in a LiveBlog for the draw? The draw starts in 15.

  23. Barcaleya
    August 25, 2011

    Me, me! I’m interested!

    Although I’m at work. May not be able to actively participate.

    I like reading people’s instantaneous comments to what’s happening though…:D

  24. August 25, 2011

    Puyol bringing out the trophy…wearing the teams shorts and their travel t-shirt.

    Ooof.

    What is it with our wardrobe issues. Messi and Xavi are wearing formal wear. As is everyone else. And Puyol is wearing brown shorts and a yellow shirt?

    The captain has to do better than that. They even cracked a joke about it on stage!

    • August 25, 2011

      From Henry Winter

      Puyol in shorts/T-shirt.. He hasn’t just come from beach. #FCB travelling garb for Super Cup. Cesc et al wearing it, tho Messi/Xavi suited

      The announcer also said he forgot his suit…but yeah, Puyi. C’mon! πŸ˜€

      The picture if people haven’t seen it [via barcactb] http://yfrog.com/gzaf1pwjj

      • mom4
        August 25, 2011

        Would have prefered his customary t shirt and jeans.

    • nzm
      August 25, 2011

      Yeah – it’s pretty bad, isn’t it? Surely they could have hired him a suit?

      • blitzen
        August 25, 2011

        Stop picking on Puyi! *sob* Meanies!

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      I’m not digging the presenter’s dress either. Giving her a weird shape.

  25. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    Xavi and Messi clean up pretty good.

    • nzm
      August 25, 2011

      They’re up for European Player of the Year – I guess they need ot be scrubbed up!

  26. Ryan
    August 25, 2011

    What’s with the English announcer alternatively pronouncing the Spanish team names with the “th” sound or not?

  27. August 25, 2011

    Barca in group H! Otherwise known as Spain’s group πŸ˜›

  28. Helge
    August 25, 2011

    When will the new UEFA Footballer of the Year (how’s it called, officially???) be announced? I’ve heard it will be voted live by the ‘pundits’ in Monaco.

    • nzm
      August 25, 2011

      After the draw, the vote will be done, apparently.

  29. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    I just came back from tennis, did I miss Melanie Winiger’s speech? #Nooooo

  30. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    I hope we get Benfica or Marseille.

  31. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    We can send a man to the moon but the CL draw is being determined by tiny ball-balls.

    • August 25, 2011

      Even with something so obviously hard to rig, they get complaints of rigging the draw. πŸ˜›

  32. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Real Madrid get Lyon. ARE YOU SERIOUS.

  33. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Well, Benfica get United. Damnit.

  34. nzm
    August 25, 2011

    This is rigged – RM always get the Frenchies! What’s the betting that we meet Chelsea in the knockouts? πŸ™‚

  35. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    And Marseille get Arsenal in group F for Fudge.

  36. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Ah well, at least Im fairly certain its going to be on TV.

    • Eklavya
      August 25, 2011

      I’m sure Ibra is going to be booed.

  37. blitzen
    August 25, 2011

    I will be quite happy to knock Milan out of the group stage. 😈

  38. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    aw…Pep aand BANGS get to see each other again. That will be so touching…

  39. Ryan
    August 25, 2011

    Villarreal vs. Bayern should be good. Hoping the Yellow Submarines top their group!

  40. Lev
    August 25, 2011

    Wow. Milan.

    So anyway guys…BarΓ§a is playing this weekend, right? Cause I heard somebody say they don’t play until Monday πŸ™

  41. blitzen
    August 25, 2011

    I am calling Ajax for the next round.

  42. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    a loveblob would have helped πŸ™

  43. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Why do they keep showing us these slideshows? Just show us the host lady. πŸ™‚

  44. Colby
    August 25, 2011

    La Liga news tweeted that we can’t draw City? Why would that be?

  45. August 25, 2011

    Would have preferred not to see Milan but probably better than a trip to Shakhtar.

    As an aside – how does Galliani get deals done. Supposedly they are close to getting Aquilani for 6M – first year on a free loan and then 6M spread out over 3 years.

    That’s less than Juventus was offering for him earlier this summer.

    • Lev
      August 25, 2011

      I suspect he brings one of Berlusconi’s call girls with him to (sit under) the negotiating table :p

  46. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Ajax, I bet we’re getting them.

  47. August 25, 2011

    Porto has to make trips to russia and the ukraine. That is just painful.

  48. August 25, 2011

    Madrid really getting fortunate. Very easy group for them so far.

  49. Miguel
    August 25, 2011

    Isn’t this the exact same group Madrid got last year? Bull shit.

  50. Ryan
    August 25, 2011

    Ack, group A is looking rough for Villarreal. City and Bayern!

  51. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    Poor Villareal! City and Bayern in their group!

  52. August 25, 2011

    Valenca and Chelsea get the team with the giant pill on their crest.

  53. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    CAN WE GET BASEL? PLEASE OH PLEASE

      • August 25, 2011

        Barca’s kits are based on their, if I recall correctly.

    • outerspacedout
      August 25, 2011

      You also live in Switzerland? Or just cos they’d be easier?

    • Mila
      August 25, 2011

      Well, Bate is ok too, but I wanted Basel!

  54. Helge
    August 25, 2011

    Madrid and ManUtd – easy groups once again *puke*

  55. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    I was hoping we’d meet and tear apart Milan in the knockouts, but well we can tear them to pieces twice in the group stages now.

    I hope we don’t get Dortmund.

  56. Miguel
    August 25, 2011

    That’s in Belarus? Can we drop off Hleb there when we pay them a visit?

  57. nzm
    August 25, 2011

    Damn – a trip into White Russia in the middle of winter for our boys. πŸ™

  58. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    My God Group A looks like an absolute nightmare.

  59. August 25, 2011

    Was hoping for Basel over Bate. That’s going to be a rough trip.

  60. Ryan
    August 25, 2011

    Rossi is going to have to pull out all the stops in Group A. πŸ˜›

    • outerspacedout
      August 25, 2011

      RIGHT?!! I’ll be so ticked off if we get Borussia.

  61. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Otelul Galati. Lets have some fun.

  62. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    I want Genk, dunno who they are but I like the name.

  63. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    Manchester United are already in the last 16, cause their group is almost inexistent…

  64. August 25, 2011

    As usual, we have a group with domestic champions only: Serie A champs Milan, Belarus champs BATE, and Czech champs Plzen.

      • August 25, 2011

        Yup, already predicting punny headlines.

        “Czech mate! Barca defeats Plzen to win its Champions League group”

        “Milan bounces Czechs”

        “Messi scores brace as Barca master BATE”

    • Mila
      August 25, 2011

      Jose, it’s ok, the Belarus and Czech leagues are really not all that…

      • August 25, 2011

        I know, Mila, I meant it as saying I’m happy that we got a team of solely champions in the Champions League again. It’s like a throwback to the time when the European Cup used to just be Champions.

  65. Miguel
    August 25, 2011

    Who the hell’s that? Victoria Pilsner? Where’s that?

  66. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    THANK GOD NOT DORTMUND.

    Not too hard a group. I don’t rate Milan much, and the other two teams shouldn’t cause much problems.

  67. August 25, 2011

    Dortmund goes to Group F with Arsenal, Marseille and Olympiakos.

  68. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    United and Real have groups without ANY great teams!

    I’m happy with this draw. We kick Milanese ass but also look set to qualify without much trouble.

  69. August 25, 2011

    United and Madrid are the big winners of the draw. United especially.

    This will be a slight advantage for Madrid in the Liga title race. But that’s the way it goes.

  70. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    I’ll eat my hat and post a picture on FB if Messi doesn’t win this. I don’t own a hat so I’ll buy one.

  71. andrecito
    August 25, 2011

    seeing some of these small teams in the champs league
    makes me hope to be able to see samuel eto’o again in this
    tournament!

  72. barca96
    August 25, 2011

    Why the hell wasn’t Iniesta nominated?

  73. FalseNine
    August 25, 2011

    OK, well. We shouldn’t have to worry much about making it out of the group stage, but we will need to fight a little to top Milan and win the group. Which will be very important, as the difference in quality between the number one team in some of those groups and the rest is pretty substantial.

    Can’t get over group A. Bayern, City, Villarreal, Napoli. All four teams better than the second-best team in United’s and Madrid’s groups. I’ll be rooting for Rossi and The Yaya…

  74. August 25, 2011

    Are they really having all 3 come on stage? That’s just unnecessary. The two who don’t win just have to stand there.

  75. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    MYYYYYYYYY XAVI!!!

    Sorry, fangirl moment here :)))

  76. Helge
    August 25, 2011

    I’ll boycott any European based sportspaper if CR wins this πŸ˜€

  77. August 25, 2011

    lol, the awkwardness between CRonaldo, Messi and Xavi is hilarious.

    • August 25, 2011

      CRonaldo ends with yes it was an honor to win the European Golden Boot last season.

      Announcer: Thank you, Cristiano. *turns to Messi* Messi, how is it to score such crucial goals in important matches?

  78. barca96
    August 25, 2011

    Damn Ronaldo didn’t look happy when Freddy Pinto said that he would have to be “these guys” (points to Messi and Xavi)

  79. jordiβ„’
    August 25, 2011

    heh Uefa good at these uncomfortable moments.

  80. August 25, 2011

    This is the inaugural award. To have the opportunity to give the first one to Messi and not do so would be an embarrassment to UEFA and delegitimize the award.

  81. FalseNine
    August 25, 2011

    LOL, this shot of Xavi and CR7 leaning away from each other as they stand there, like there’s some kind of repulsive force field in between them… πŸ™‚

  82. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    CR and Leo hate each other, it is so obvious. Xavi is kind of there to stand in between them.

    Leo is so selfless and CR is sooooo egocentric – and it is all there for all to see.

  83. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    @barcastuff: Places 4 to 10 of the UEFA Best Player Award: 4 Iniesta, 5 Falcao, 6 Rooney, 7 Vidic, 8 Ibrahimovic, 9 Pique, 10 Neuer

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      I don’t agree. The player’s fashion sense should be taken into account, aswell.

      • FalseNine
        August 25, 2011

        When is the swimsuit part of the competition?

        • Miguel
          August 25, 2011

          I hope Messi doesn’t have to answer geography questions or anything like that.

          • FalseNine
            August 25, 2011

            Xavi has said he likes to read maps in his spare time… His chance to shine!

            Messi knows where the ball is, where the goal is, and that the first one is going into the second one. For geography, that’ll do.

  84. jordiβ„’
    August 25, 2011

    How come they mentioned Cr’s stats alone, its not like Leo didnt score 52 or whatever himself

    • blitzen
      August 25, 2011

      Because that’s the only thing he won last year….unlike Leo.

  85. FalseNine
    August 25, 2011

    Ah, that goal against Arsenal never gets old

  86. Lev
    August 25, 2011

    I feel bad for Napoli, but then again being in the fourth pool their group was bound to be tough.

    I would have preferred not to play in Eastern Europe but our group is not that tough. The games against Milan should be exciting! Hopefully Ibra and Gatuso won’t try to injure us, but oh well…

  87. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    DYING from suspence- just pick someone darnit.

  88. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    Messi better win this, or things will get messy!

  89. August 25, 2011

    Messi wins. SHOCKER!! πŸ˜›

    Ridiculous looking trophy…

  90. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Messi won, CR choking on hate πŸ™‚

  91. nzm
    August 25, 2011

    Is that award meant to look like a shirt?

  92. August 25, 2011

    C.Ronaldo looks like he’s in so much pain. They can’t even move Messi closest to the questioner. He’s talking right past C.Ronaldo and Xavi. I’m sure Xavi doesn’t care but for C.Ronaldo…

    • Lev
      August 25, 2011

      Tbh I feel kinda sorry for C.Ronaldo since it is obvious Messi would win why invite him to stand there like an idiot. Everybody knows about the morbo, this is just embarassing for him…

      mmm…

      hehehehehe!

      • August 25, 2011

        Agree – horribly planned event by UEFA. To have the players who lost just stand there is just terrible optics and unfair to them.

        Even the whole issue of talking past them to ask Messi questions is just rude on their part.

        Very amateurish.

    • Mila
      August 25, 2011

      It’s good the invited CR, so we get to him choke on hate and stand there all in pain and envy πŸ™‚

      Honestly though, in any other moment in time, CR would’ve been the absolute best, but he had to be a footballer now, sharing the stage with one man who is better than him… Tough luck!

  93. knifenut
    August 25, 2011

    lol Puyol wearing a yellow collared shirt in what looks like a black tie event. LIKE A BOSS!

  94. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    The real question: Why is the lady host’s dress square around the hips?

  95. barca96
    August 25, 2011

    Platini acting suspicious.:lol:

    I don’t know

  96. footballfan
    August 25, 2011

    For those wondering why City can’t be on Group H, Dale Johnson from ESPNsoccernet talks about ‘TV reason’. Basically there should be two clubs from the same country at each half (ie. A-D and E-F). Since Chelsea and Arsenal are in the latter half of the groups, City can only be placed on Group A, B or D.

    • FalseNine
      August 25, 2011

      Sounds suspicious. I’m sure it’s somehow part of UEFA’s conspiracy to keep Madrid down.

      • footballfan
        August 25, 2011

        I was hoping for EE Milan City and Dortmund. Mourinho must be mad if that happened πŸ˜€

  97. Lev
    August 25, 2011

    so let me ask again…does anybody know when BarΓ§a’s next league game is?

    • Lev
      August 25, 2011

      thnx guys!
      that really sucks though…i won’t be able to watch the game πŸ™

  98. jordiβ„’
    August 25, 2011

    About the voting.Yes it was probably uncomfortable but its hardly giving a kidney.Miss Universe have to go through it πŸ˜€

  99. mei
    August 25, 2011

    via barcastuff :
    Puyol: “I’ve been watching all the suits I have.. and I feel best wearing the one with the BarΓ§a crest close to my heart”
    thats the spirit capitano.

  100. blitzen
    August 25, 2011

    Messi:

    “I keep all these awards at home and I still have some space for more.

    πŸ˜†

    • August 25, 2011

      It sounded really modest when he said it, as it was more like “well I always have space at home, and find somewhere to put each of these awards.” Plus he was really effusive about being able to share this award with his teammate up on stage and the rest of his team.

      • blitzen
        August 25, 2011

        Oh, I know that, it just sounds funny. And of course some people are going to take it the wrong way. It’s just so Messi.

  101. August 25, 2011

    Didn’t like the draw TBH. But we take it as it comes.

    Now waiting the fixtures chart and hoping first game will be away at the Hlebbing club. Better than when it get colder.

  102. ooga aga
    August 25, 2011

    i didnt want milan… not that we won’t win…. i just would like to never, ever see ibra’s face again.

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