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Ronaldo scoops UEFA’s awards
MONACO, Aug 29 (Agencies):
Published on 29 Aug. 2008 11:26 PM IST
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Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo was named UEFA’s European Club Footballer of the Year on Thursday after scoring 42 goals last season including eight in the Champions League. The award was made during the draw for this year’s group phase at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Ronaldo was also named as the forward of the year for helping United win the European Cup for the third time. Three Chelsea players who were in the side beaten by United in the Moscow final in May, won awards. John Terry was named as defender of the year, Petr Cech goalkeeper of the year and Frank Lampard midfielder of the year. United to face Celtic Defending champion Manchester United will face British rival Celtic in the group stage of the Champions League. United will also meet Villarreal and Aalborg in the 32-team phase, with the first round to be held on Sept. 16-17. “We always love to draw the champion of Europe as we did last year (with FC Barcelona),” Celtic striker Scott McDonald said. “All of those things add up to good things and get us to the next round again. They’re going to be fantastic games.” United’s trip to Villarreal in Group E will revive bad memories of striker Wayne Rooney’s sending off there in September 2005 as Alex Ferguson’s side failed to progress into the knockout phase. Chelsea, which lost May’s final on penalty kicks to the Red Devils, also has a relatively easy Group E, featuring AS Roma, which hosts May’s final at the Stadio Olimpico, Bordeaux and newcomer CFR Cluj. “Chelsea certainly has a leg up on the other teams in the group, but we have to count on the hard work that we have done in the past few years,” Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. “We are ready for this challenge.” Five-time champion Liverpool will meet Marseille for a second straight season, and striker Fernando Torres will return to former club Atletico Madrid. Group D also features PSV Eindhoven. That means Liverpool’s star striker Fernando Torres, who scored the winner for Spain against Germany in the European Championship final, gets a chance to face his former team, having joined Liverpool from Atletico prior to last season. Juventus has a tough return to the lucrative competition after a two-year absence in Group H. The Italians will have to overcome nine-time champion Real Madrid, UEFA Cup winner Zenit St. Petersburg and Belarussian champion BATE Borisov. New Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will be pleased with Group C, which includes Sporting Lisbon, FC Basel and Shakhtar Donetsk. Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho, looking to repeat his 2004 Champions League triumph with FC Porto, will have to negotiate Werder Bremen, Panathinaikos and Anorthosis Famagusta in Group B. Bayern Munich striker Luca Toni will play former club Fiorentina in Group F, which also includes Lyon and Steaua Bucharest. “Lyon is a tough nut to crack, Fiorentina has its appeal because of Luca Toni,” Bayern Munich coach Juergen Klinsmann. Arsenal, FC Porto, Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kiev meet in Group G.

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