Champions League group stage draw; Cristiano Ronaldo to face former club Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo Reuters

It was the group draw that a lot of Manchester United fans seemingly are happy about. The Red Devils will play against Juventus in this season's Champions League group stage.

Valencia and Young Boys are pushed to the sidelines as fans rave about Cristiano Ronaldo's return to the club where he established himself as one of the world's top players in a span of six years.

Between 2003 and 2009, the Portuguese superstar scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for United.

He ensured that United was at a par with Roman Abramovich's rising Chelsea and moved ahead of Arsene Wagner's declining Arsenal.

Ronaldo was also a leading light in United's victorious Champions League campaign in the 2007-08 season.

In Ronaldo's last season at Old Trafford, he got United in the final of the Champions League where they lost to Barcelona. It was a withering loss and Ronaldo soon sought out green pastures.

Real Madrid came calling and Ronaldo was sold to them in the highest selling transfer deal at the time.

While Ronaldo improved considerably at Madrid scoring goals for fun in the La Liga United entered a regressive stage from where they are yet to get out of.

A couple of league titles and a solitary Champions League runners-up spot are the best that the club has managed since he left. The absence of Sir Alex Ferguson is often cited as a primary reason for the fall in results but the club never got around to replace Ronaldo either.

The gap was felt in Ferguson's last season where Madrid knocked out United in the round of 16. Ronaldo scored two decisive goals and refused to celebrate endearing him further to his old club.

Ferguson's hugging of Ronaldo after the match portrayed the goodwill that exists between Ronaldo and United. This is a rare close tie in the often incendiary club rivalry era.

Ronaldo has often talked about how much he enjoyed his time at United and how Ferguson shaped him to be the player he is now.

There has often been speculation about how Ronaldo might want to finish his career at Old Trafford. Ronaldo's determination to win the Champions League with a third different club was always going to win out though.

Thus his summer transfer to Juventus which has an impressive Champions League record in recent times.

Things are pretty dark at United now with the club having lost two of its three league matches. United manager Jose Mourinho's anguish with his club's transfer market dealings refuses to fade.

Mourinho and Ronaldo worked together at three years in Real Madrid. There is nowhere near as much bonhomie between the two Portuguese as there is between Ronaldo and Ferguson.

Ronaldo will want to play a decisive role again in his current club's duels against his struggling former club.

Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys.


Matchday one: 18-19 September

Matchday two: 2-3 October

Matchday three: 23-24 October

Matchday four: 6-7 November

Matchday five: 27-28 November

Matchday six: 11-12 December