'Ridiculous': Ronaldo's agent fumes over Player of the Year snub

Steve Nicol believes Cristiano Ronaldo's departure may help Real Madrid

Real Madrid Croatia's midfielder Luka Modric receives the UEFA champions league midfielder of the season award during the draw for UEFA Champions League football tournament at The Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on August 30, 2018.

The former Argentina striker, who scored 20 goals in 49 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, believes the division's teams have overtaken their European rivals.

Barcelona heads a tough-looking Group B with Tottenham, plus former champions PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan.

When one considers the strength of some of the other groups, the City staff may feel satisfied with our fate.

Defending champions Real Madrid were given what looks to be an easy route to the knockout phase, facing AS Roma, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.

Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athen.

"Hoffenheim? I've been there to watch them, even when they had Firmino", Txiki said.

Some suggest the fact Luka Modric won the overall Champions League Player of the Season award weighed on his decision.

Voting was by Champions League coaches and invited journalists across Europe.

Los Blancos took home the honors for best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward, in addition to Modric's player of the year prize.

"I expected a hard group, we have a hard group and that's what the Champions League is all about, " Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said.

The final Spanish club in the draw, Europa League winners Atletico Madrid, face an awkward, but not necessarily demanding set of games against Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and Brugge.

The group stage will kick off September 18 run through December 12.

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