Elsewhere, Real Madrid players swept the awards n the night.

The UEFA Champions League is back!! The most awaited silverware of the season is up for grabs as the governing body conducted the final 32-team group stage draw today as well as awarding the noteworthy players from the last campaign.

UEFA began the much-awaited gala event by awarding David Beckham the prestigious UEFA President’s Award, previously won by Alfredo Di Stéfano (2007), Sir Bobby Charlton (2008), Eusébio (2009), Raymond Kopa (2010), Gianni Rivera (2011), Franz Beckenbauer (2012), Johan Cruyff (2013) and Josef Masopust (2014) and Francesco Totti (2017). Beckham joins rarefied company.

The other awards up for grabs included the prized possessions for the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward, duly won by players who represented Real Madrid last season, including Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively.

Real Madrid, who cruised to their third consecutive Champions League title in May, were drafted in Group G, besides AS Roma, CSKA Moscow and Plzen from the Czech Republic. Their cross-city rivals, Europa League and Super Cup winners, Atletico Madrid sit pretty tight in Group A. The group may not seem to be lethal, but is unpredictable. The Spanish outfit have been clubbed with Borussia Dortmund, AS Monaco and Belgian champions Club Brugge.

Manchester City are in a relatively easy group with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon and German side Hoffenheim. Their cross-town rivals, Manchester United will host Juventus, Valencia and Young Boys of Switzerland.

German champions, Bayern Munich have been placed with Benfica, Ajax and AEK Athens from Greece, which technically makes them the clear toppers of the group. As far as statistics are concerned, the easiest group is Group D which has Russian champions Lokomotiv Moskva, Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray.


Transfer Talk: Rafinha to Real Betis? No bids for Filipe Luis yet?

Unraveling the conundrum of Manchester United’s starting XI

Through the looking glass: Life after Messi and Ronaldo in the wonderland of football

Group B consists of La Liga winners Barcelona, along with Tottenham Hotspur, PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan. In Group C, Paris Saint-Germain are placed with Napoli, Liverpool and Crvena Zvezda.

Meanwhile, in the most highlighted section of awards, the UEFA Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year were given to Croatian skipper Luka Modric and Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder – for their exceptional displays during the Champions League last season.

Danish international Harder won the double with the Bundesliga outfit and led her team to second place in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Meanwhile, Modric won his third consecutive and fourth overall UCL title and took Croatia to the World Cup final.