Yeah, its time now for everyone's favourite club competition in the world. I keep thinking as if it was only yesterday that Carlos TEVEZ lifted the Champions League trophy after that final in Moscow. What a great moment it was to witness such a thing.
Yesterday after viewing the group stage draw, I felt there was a need for me to write a preview on this competition. Looking at some of those groups, there is definitely going to be plenty of excitement during the coming months.
Here is my preview on each of the group
Group A – Chelsea, AS Roma, Bordeaux & CFR Cluj
If what Coco BASILE said was true, that Fernando CAVENAGHI will have a hard time getting into the National Team because he plays in the French league, well now's the time for him to prove him wrong. Don't forget that Diego PLACENTE is also on the French club's roster
Hopefully Franco DI SANTO well get some first team action. On the other hand, the Romanian side CFR will have a total 6 Albiceleste players on their squad (Sebastian DUBARIER, Sixto PERALTA, Cristian Sanchez PRETTE, Emmanuel CULIO, Gustavo OBERMAN & Diego RUIZ)
Group B – Inter Milan, Anorthosis Famagusta, Panathinaikos & Werder Bremen
With Jose MOURINHO on board and boosting the likes of Javier ZANETTI, Nicolas BURDISSO, Walter SAMUEL, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Hernan CRESPO & Julio CRUZ, I do hope to see Inter going far this season.
Apart from Bremen, I don't see much problem for them in this group. Not sure what plan does the so-called Special One had in mind with our players (remember CRESPO never enjoyed his company at Chelsea).
Group C- Sporting Lisbon, FC Basel, Shaktar Donetsk, FC Barcelona
What a relief, Barca finally made it through!!! (After all the fuss they had to do with Lionel MESSI). With a gold medalist, Gabriel MILITO, a new coach and a new look team; they should have no problem topping this group.
There could face some tough challenge from Sporting Lisbon who has Leandro GRIMI and Leandro ROMAGNOLI. FC Basel has four Albiceleste on their side with Franco COSTANZO, Marcos GELABERT, Federico ALMERARES and David ABRAHAM.
Group D – Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, Atletico Madrid, Olympique Marseille
The main topic in this group must be Fernando TORRES making a return to the Vicente Calderon, as a Liverpool player.
It will be interesting to see Javier MASCHERANO & Emiliano INSUA facing Kun AGUERO, Maxi RODRIGUEZ, Leo FRANCO and Atletico latest acquisition, Ever BANEGA (he joined the club on loan from Valencia).
Another player that will featured in this group is Renato CIVELLI of Marseille
Group E – Aalborg, Manchester United, Villareal & Glasgow Celtic
Most certainly the highlight from this group must be "The Battle of Britain" between United and Celtic.
The last time when both Man Utd and Villareal were group together, it was the Red Devils that got knocked out of Europe while the Yellow Submarine (Roman was playing back then) when all the way to the semi-final.
Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ will likely be given the task to mark Carlos TEVEZ when both sides play each other. Don't forget the other two players from Villareal, Ariel IBAGAZA and Fabricio FUENTES
Group F – Fiorentina, Steaua Bucharest, Bayern Munich & Lyon
I'm happy to see both Bayern and Fiorentina back in the competition.
The Florence club will have Mario SANTANA on the wings and in central midfield Sergio ALMIRON, on loan from Juventus.
Martin DEMICHELIS will be the cornerstone of Bayern's defense and hopefully new coach Jurgen KLINSMANN will give Jose SOSA more first team appearance.
Not to forget, 2004 Athens gold medalist winner Cesar DELGADO will appear from Lyon.
Group G – Arsenal, FC Porto, Fenerbahce & Dynamo Kyiv
Forca Forca FC Porto!!! If there is one thing that the Dragons have learned is that they can only be one way and that is the Albiceleste way.
Porto has the most number of Albiceleste in their squad, seven players to be exact. This season they've brought in Nelson BENITEZ and Tomas COSTA to play alongside Lucho GONZAKEZ, Lisandro LOPEZ, Mariano GONZALEZ, Mario BOLATTI and Ernesto FARIAS.
Alongside Arsenal, they should progress to the next round though the other two can be unpredictable.
Group H – BATE Borisov, Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg & Real Madrid
As the UEFA Cup winner, Alejandro DOMINGUEZ and his teammate will have mountain to climb if they were to survive in this group.
In past I have always supported Juve whenever they played against those El Galaticos of Madrid. Now with the likes of GAGO, SAVIOLA, HEINZE & HIGUAIN on board, I might need to use the white paint to cover those black stripe.
BATE might be making up the numbers here but I wouldn't want to underestimate anything that has to do with Belarus after our recent goalless draw against them.
Overall, there is total of 51 players from 18 different clubs that will be involved in this season Champions League. I'm sure the numbers will change as time to come.
Though it is still a very long way from now and Rome, which of these players, do you think that will lift the trophy come the 27th May 2009?
And don't forget tonight's European Super Cup between Manchester United and Zenit St. Petersburg.