UCL draw: Real Madrid to face PSG in Group A

Real Madrid will face Paris Saint-Germain, while defending champions Liverpool have been paired with Napoli, Salzburg and Genk in the Champions League group stage this season.

Thirteen-time champions Madrid eliminated the Parisians in the round of 16 in the 2017-18 edition of the competition and have been linked to PSG's biggest stars -- Neymar and Kylian Mbappe -- in recent years.

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Madrid and PSG are joined in Group A by Club Brugge and Galatasaray. The previous two times Los Blancos were placed in the group -- in 2002 and 2016 -- they won the competition.

"We are talking about the Champions League, all the games are always very tough. PSG are obviously a very tough opponent, but also Bruges and Galatasaray are very tough in their own stadiums with their own fans. We must be at our best level to qualify," said Madrid director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno after Thursday's draw.

"Almost every year we play PSG, they are a very powerful team. These games bring you huge motivation as they are among the biggest these days. It will be difficult, but these are the demands of the competition."

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi said he is looking forward to "really great games" ahead.

"We knew that we were going to come up against some big teams, it's the Champions League, and to go far, you have to play great sides. We're looking forward to playing these really great games. Real Madrid are a great club that we know well having played them often," he said via team statement.

Liverpool, who were drawn in Group E, were matched with Napoli at the same stage last season, with the teams splitting 1-0 victories at home en route to the Reds claiming their sixth European title in June.

"Napoli again! I don't know how often I've now played against Napoli, but they're obviously a very experienced side," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said of the matchup.

Klopp added of the draw: "It's how it always is, it's not an easy group and not a group where we can hide behind anybody. We have to try everything to go through, but we are really looking forward to it like always."

Barcelona, who have won the competition five times, will have to navigate a Group E consisting of Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague.

Dortmund captain Marco Reus, was delighted with the psopect of facing Barca.

"A few of us from the team were stood together at breakfast this morning and we all agreed that we'd love to draw Barcelona," he said.

"I am buzzing that it's actually happened. Obviously, the group is extremely difficult. The games against Barcelona will have a party atmosphere for us and our fans. We believe in our quality and our aim is to go through," he said.

Last season's runners-up Tottenham Hotspur will battle five-time champs Bayern Munich, Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade in Group B.

Familiar foes Juventus and Atletico Madrid join Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow in Group D. The Serie A champs eliminated Diego Simeone's side in the round of 16 last season when Cristiano Ronaldo's second-leg hat trick overturned a 2-0 deficit to send the Italian champions through.

"Atletico are a very good team, as we all know, with a very good coach. I played against them many times for Real Madrid; tough games," Ronaldo told Movistar TV.

"Playing Atletico again is tough, but that's how it goes. But the other two teams in the group are tough too."

Ajax made an unexpected run to the semifinals last year, but had to go through qualifying to reach the group stage. The Dutch club was drawn with Chelsea, which qualified as Europa League champion, Valencia and Lille in Group H.

Premier League title-holders Manchester City were placed in Group C, which does not include a former champion.

Group G has no clear favourites among Zenit St. Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon and Leipzig.

The final is at Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium on May 30.

Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray

Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade

Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta

Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow

Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk

Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Prague

Group G: Zenit St. Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon, Leipzig

Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.