Messi wins Best Player in Europe award

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Lionel Messi has won the Uefa Best Player in Europe Award, beating Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prestigious prize.

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Arsenal face Bayern Munich, Manchester United face PSV: Champions League group stage draw in full

Arsene Wenger’s side will take on the Bundesliga champions while Manchester City take on Juventus and Chelsea face Jose Mourinho’s former side Porto


Arsenal will face Bayern Munich in the group stages of the Champions League having been drawn together in Group F.

The Gunners will also face Olympiakos as they look to plot a way through to the knockout stages.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will take on PSV and CSKA Moscow while Premier League champions Chelsea face Jose Mourinho’s former side Porto and Dynamo Kiev.

Manchester City will take on Juventus and Europa League champions Sevilla, while reigning champions Barcelona face Bayer Leverkusen and Real Madrid have been drawn alongside Paris Saint-Germain.

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Deschamps: You don’t replace Ribery overnight

The Bleus boss admits they miss the Bayern Munich winger but he cannot envisage a day when he will return to the international game

France coach Didier Deschamps has said that it will take some time for them to replace a player of Franck Ribery’s class.

The Bayern Munich winger retired from international football after missing last year’s World Cup with a back injury.

Deschamps concedes that Les Bleus have missed the 32-year-old as they prepare to host Euro 2016, but said he supports his decision to call time on his France career.

“There are not 10 other Franck Riberys out there,” Deschamps told L’Equipe.

“This is someone who is a potential Ballon d’Or, a world class player who was already a finalist in the World Cup in 2006. We cannot replace that kind of player overnight.”

Ribery has not appeared for Bayern since March as injury problems continue to dog him and he is now awaiting tests on an ankle problem. 

“He has accumulated lots of injuries and, today, the most important thing is for him to rediscover the pleasures of playing football,” Deschamps added, before refuting any suggestions Ribery may have exaggerated his previous back problem in order to sit out of the World Cup in Brazil.

“It was said that his injury before the World Cup was diplomatic, but he didn’t play again before the end of September. So I do not ask myself about that.”

Next month will see France continue their preparations for Euro 2016 with clashes against Portugal and Serbia.

Thiago extends Bayern deal

The 24-year-old midfielder has struggled with injuries throughout his time in Germany but has pledged his future to the club by signing a new contract


Bayern Munich have confirmed Thiago has extended his contract with the club to run until 2019.

The midfielder joined the Bavarian side from Barcelona in 2013, where he teamed up with coach Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.

While the 24-year-old has suffered with injury problems throughout his time in Germany, he has impressed when fit and has been rewarded with a new deal.

Here’s some good news to kick off the day: @Thiago6 has extended his contract at #FCBayern until 2019! #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/PCl1T2GqE8

— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 27, 2015

The Spain international was originally tied to Bayern until 2017, but has added another two years onto his deal. The club’s CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, was delighted by the news.

“We are happy that Thiago has chosen to stay long term at Bayern,” he said. “He is young and an important player for the future of the club.”

Thiago has made only 25 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern since his move, scoring two league goals in that time.

When is the Champions League group stage draw?

The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona will find out their opponents in the first stage of the competition proper on Thursday. Check out Goal’s guide!


The Champions League group stages are looming ever larger on the horizon, with Europe’s top clubs set to find out their group stage opponents on Thursday.

With the qualifiers safely negotiated for the likes of Manchester United, Malmo and Valencia, we now know the identity of the 32 teams who will complete this season’s competition.

Ahead of the draw, Goal has put together this handy guide for all of your European needs!


WHEN IS THE DRAW?


The draw will take place on August 27 at 5.45pm UK time. It will be made in Monaco.


WHICH POTS ARE THE ENGLISH CLUBS IN?


As champions of England, Chelsea will be in Pot 1, meaning they will avoid fellow 2014-15 title winners, though they may still be drawn against the likes of Real Madrid or Atletico.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City, meanwhile, go into Pot 2, despite Louis van Gaal’s men having to overcome Club Brugge to qualify for the group stages.

As such, all three sides are guaranteed to face a champion of a European league in the groups this season, with the teams ranging from Bayern Munich and Barcelona to PSV.

Full Pots
Pot 1: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Benfica, PSG, Juventus, Zenit St Petersburg, PSV

Pot 2: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Porto, Arsenal, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester City

Pot 3: Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla, Lyon, Dynamo Kiev, Olympiacos, CSKA Moscow, Galatasaray, Roma

Pot 4: Astana, Bate Borisov, Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Gent, Malmo


WHEN WILL THE GAMES BE PLAYED?


The group stages begins on September 15, with the last matchday coming on December 9.