Soccer-Champions League draw reaction


(Adds Cristiano Ronaldo reaction)

Aug 28 (Reuters) - Reaction to the draw for the Champions League Group Stage made in Monaco on Thursday: Group A Atletico Madrid (Spain) Juventus (Italy) Olympiakos Piraeus (Greece) Malmo (Sweden)

Atletico Madrid sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero:

"Big teams, all of them champions of their respective leagues. We are going to meet some great players who will make it very difficult but we will compete at our top level, as we always do, to reach the last 16."

Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta:

"Sincerely, it's not too bad a group. Of course, there are pitfalls: Malmo are in full activity in a championship that finishes in November. But we will honor the shirt we wear."

Olympiakos coach Michel:

"Both Atletico and Juventus are very strong opponents. There were easier options for us, but one always has to fight. My hope is that my players will be consistent and produce high-level performances in all encounters."

Group B Real Madrid (Spain) Basel (Switzerland) Liverpool (England) Ludogorets (Bulgaria)

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo:

"It (playing Liverpool) is going to be tough. In general the group is nice, it's good for Real Madrid.

"We are going to try and do the same again this season. It will be difficult but Real Madrid are always thinking big, thinking huge."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers:

"Initially, we're excited. To be back in it again, no matter who we were going to play, it was always going to be exciting. But to have Real Madrid in your group, the champions last season, is going to be special. I'm already thinking of Anfield on that night."

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre:

"We're pleased with the group, it's particularly special to have got Real Madrid in the group. We respect everyone, but obviously we've great memories of games against Real Madrid so it's very special for us."

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher on Twitter: Great draw for LFC decent chance to get through and the experience for the players of playing against Madrid. Real away my first Euro trip as a fan.

Ludogorets coach Georgi Dermendzhiev:

"I'm happy with the draw. Real Madrid will blow up Bulgaria and so many people will be able to see them thanks to Ludogorets. Look what a team, based in a town (with a population) of 30,000 achieved...

"Liverpool are a very strong team too and we know Basel because we met them last year. We'll win some points, I just don't want to play against Real in the first match.

"I can assure you that you'll see a stronger Ludogorets from now on."

Group C Benfica (Portugal) Zenit St Petersburg (Russia) Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) Monaco (France)

Bayer Leverkusen's sporting director Rudi Voeller:

"We've copped the best team in the fourth pot with Monaco. Before that we had perhaps been a bit lucky, but with Monaco in there it's become a very even group. It will be difficult to qualify, but we are optimistic, we have nothing to lose and we want to reach the last 16 like last year."

Bayer Leverkusen forward Stefan Kiessling:

"This is a very interesting group. But independent of the quality of our opponents we have the aim of reaching the round of 16."

Monaco striker Valere Germain on Twitter:

"This is a fairly homogeneous group...I hope we will have our say. We could have fallen on a more difficult group, even if those are teams with European experience."

Monaco vice president Vadim Vasiliev on Twitter:

"We have worked hard to get back to the Champions League. This is a very balanced group. Each team has a chance to get qualified for (the last 16)."

Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Javi Garcia:

"We are in a very even group, I would even say that it is the most even group out of them all. The four teams each have an equal chance of getting through to the knockout stages. Personally, I am really glad that I will get the chance to play in Lisbon again."

Group D Arsenal (England) Borussia Dortmund (Germany) Galatasaray (Turkey) Anderlecht (Belgium)

Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp: "We are meeting some old acquaintances and some fresh faces. I have never played in Anderlecht or Istanbul. Before the draw we didn't really wish for any particular opponents so we are taking it as it happened."

Borussia Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc:

"This looks to me like an evenly balanced group and we should expect a lot of suspense. As for Champions League duels with Arsenal, there we have our share of experience. Borussia Dortmund go into the group stage that is no doubt difficult with a lot of confidence."

Galatasaray midfielder Olcan Adn:

"I believe we can qualify. On paper, Anderlecht might seem like the weakest team in the group but the away game will certainly be difficult. Their domestic league has already started and they might hit top form earlier than us."

Anderlecht coach Besnik Hasi: "It's a tough draw. There are some nice away trips, but these are extremely difficult opponents. Anderlecht have not survived the group stage since 2001, so it will be extremely difficult." Group E Bayern Munich (Germany) Manchester City (England) CSKA Moscow (Russia) AS Roma (Italy)

Bayern sports director Matthias Sammer:

"The group is hugely attractive but also very, very difficult. It is, however, also the right challenge for us."

Manchester City's director of football Txiki Begiristain:

"It's a very, very, tough group. They are very strong teams. I think (it's the toughest group). It's spectacular all the clubs try to play good football. It will be an amazing group. We are happy with the squad we have for this season. We've signed some very good players. We want to improve in the Champions League."

CSKA Moscow head coach Leonid Slutsky:

"Some people dream about flying into space at least once in their lives, however, we are there on a regular basis.

"If I am serious, we have been drawn into an unbelievably tough group. We will wait and see if the gap has widened between the Russian champions and the champions from Germany and England."

CSKA Moscow attacking midfielder Alan Dzagoev:

"Bayern Munich and Manchester City again? I can't believe it. Of course it would have been interesting to test ourselves against other giants of European football. On the other hand we have the perfect chance to gain revenge for last year's below-par performances. I am a realist and understand that this is a very difficult group, however, we will do our best to play to the best of our ability."

AS Roma president James Palottta:

"Will it be difficult for us? It will be difficult for the teams who have to play us. You have to play and beat the best if you want to progress in the Champions League

"It will be enjoyable to meet up with (Bayern and former Roma defender) Benatia again; the whole team is looking forward to the challenge.

"If we don't think we can win the Champions we shouldn't be taking part." Group F Barcelona (Spain) Paris St Germain (France) Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands) APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta:

"When you start your draw with PSG, you know that they have a very difficult opponent. After that, we have Ajax which is a team historically very closely linked to Barca. We had never played against them in Europe and this is the second season running that that happens, history repeats itself. Apoel is a novelty for us but my memory tells me that Apoel in Europe is always a very difficult team to beat. We will play in the same way against PSG as against Ajax or any other team."

PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi:

"I don't think this is going to be easy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will rediscover his old teams, Ajax Amsterdam and Barca, who we played two years ago. This year I hope we have a better team to win against Barca. I am very proud of PSG and it makes me proud when I sense the respect of other clubs.

Ajax coach Frank de Boer:

"We showed last year that we can cause surprises, but with these teams (PSG and Barcelona) it will be difficult to come first or second in the group.

"PSG have ambitions to win the Champions League within four or five years. I think we are now in the third year. They certainly have a very strong team. A good team with many stars, but we are also a good team."

APOEL captain Constantinos Charalambides: "This is a very tough draw for us. We face three sides with rich traditions in world football, but we still see this as a great moment for us. It will be a challenging experience for the players, the coaching staff, the board and of course our fans."

Group G Chelsea (England) Schalke 04 (Germany) Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) Maribor (Slovenia)

Schalke 04 sports director Horst Heldt:

"We still have a bill to settle with Chelsea. They are the favourites in the group and for us it is about performing well against the other clubs and again go past the group stage."

Group H Porto (Portugal) Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) Athletic Bilbao (Spain) BATE Borisov (Belarus)

Porto coach Julen Lopetegui:

"We know that the Champions League is always complicated. It's a difficult, tough group and I think it will be very even.

"Athletic are a team with tremendous energy and great power who deserved to get to this stage against Napoli."

On visiting the Basque country (where he is from): "It's a return to Euskadi (the Basque country), my land, which is always nice. But the really good thing is to play a good game, in a spectacular stadium, and marvellous supporters against a good team." (Compiled by Toby Davis)

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