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G-8 summit: Hard task for Milan, Real

European champions Barcelona will face Inter Milan, Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine and Russian newcomers Rubin Kazan when they open the defence of their crown following the draw for the Champions League group phase on Thursday.

sports Updated: Aug 29, 2009 01:21 IST

European champions Barcelona will face Inter Milan, Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine and Russian newcomers Rubin Kazan when they open the defence of their crown following the draw for the Champions League group phase on Thursday.

It also brought European giants AC Milan and nine-time European champions Real Madrid together and they will face Olympique Marseille and FC Zurich in their group.

Manchester United, European champions in 2008 and runners-up to Barcelona last season, will play CSKA Moscow, Besiktas of Turkey and Germany's VfL Wolfsburg.

Chelsea, bidding to win the trophy for the first time under new coach Carlo Ancelotti — a previous winner as player and coach with Milan, will meet Porto, Atletico Madrid and APOEL Nicosia, who are taking part for the first time.

The competition starts in mid-September with the final in Madrid next May.

Messi named European Player of the Year

Lionel Messi of European champions Barcelona was named the European Club Player of the Year on Thursday for helping his side lift the Champions League trophy last season.

Argentine Messi was also named forward of the year with his club mate Xavi Hernandez of Spain, who also played a key role for Barca last season, named as midfielder of the year ahead of a third Barcelona club mate Andres Iniesta, also of Spain.

Chelsea and England skipper John Terry was named defender of the year while Edwin Van der Sar, of last season's Champions League runners-up Manchester United, was named goalkeeper of the year.

These awards are for their performances in the Champions League.