Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad have all to be happy with Thursday’s Champions League draw. The most challenging rivals in their path are Manchester United in the case of Real Sociedad, and Juventus in the case of Real Madrid.
In Group A, Real Sociedad will also be joined by Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayer Leverkusen, whilst Real Madrid’s group, Group B, will also include Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen. Atlético came off lightly in Group G, thrown together with FC Porto, Zenit and Austria Vienna. And lastly, Barcelona was drawn against AC Milan, Ajax and Celtic.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have to be happy to avoid tricky opponents in pot three like Borussia Dortmund or Manchester City. Atlético was particularly fortunate to steer clear of some of the more formidable seeded teams such as Chelsea or Bayern Munich, as was Real Sociedad.
Of the rest of the groups, the other talking point was the fact that José Mourinho’s Chelsea, featuring Spaniards Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and César Azpilicueta, ended up in what is on paper one of the easiest groups, namely Group E. The teams standing in Chelsea’s way are Schalke 04, Basel and Steaua Bucarest.