Real Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Lucas Vazquez receives a yellow card from the referee during the Spanish league football match between Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Madrid CF at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on September 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE
Europe’s best teams will enter the fray today as the search for the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League kings begins across the continent.
Spanish giants, Real Madrid won the competition for a record 12 times last season and will look forward to defending their crown despite losing their key man and world best player, Cristiano Ronaldo to rivals, Juventus.
This season’s competition already looks fascinating as the group stages of the elite competition were created a couple of weeks ago in Monaco.
The award for the UEFA best player was also announced that same day with Croatian midfielder, Luka Modric winning the prestigious award and edging out Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last season’s finalists, Liverpool are in the same group as French champions, Paris Saint Germain as well as Italian outfit, Napoli.
It is expected to be a tough group due to the wealth of talent these teams possess.
Juventus, who broke their transfer record fee of €117 million for Cristiano Ronaldo, hope to win the title this season after a disappointing end to last season’s campaign, where they were beaten in the semi-finals by Real Madrid.
They are in the same group with three-time UEFA Champions League winners, Manchester United, as well as Spanish giants, Valencia and Swiss club, Young Boys FC.
This group also sees Cristiano Ronaldo make a return to former club, Manchester United.
Real Madrid are expected to win their group, which also has Italian side, AS Roma, CSKA Moskva and FC Victoria Plzen.