All 5 former winners in same half of Champions League draw

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LaPresse

Atalanta's Luis Muriel celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Serie A soccer match between Atalanta and Sampdoria at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo, Italy, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (Gianluca Checchi/LaPresse via AP)

NYON – All five former Champions League winners were put into the same half of the draw on Friday, setting up a possible semifinal pairing between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich — who have combined to win 26 European Cups — will whittle down one side of the draw to reach the final on Aug. 23 at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon.

The other side will see three-time finalist Atlético Madrid face Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain meet Atalanta. Leipzig and Atalanta are newcomers to this stage.

The single-leg quarterfinal matches will be played on four straight evenings from Aug. 12-15 to start a mini-tournament without fans in Portugal. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 17-18.

Four quarterfinalists are still to be decided, all involving the former champions. Juventus trails Lyon 1-0 ahead of their round of 16 meeting next month in Turin. The winner of the two-leg series will play either Real Madrid or Manchester City in the last eight. City won 2-1 in Spain in February.

Barcelona and Napoli also have a game to play in Spain, tied at 1-1, before heading to Portugal. The winner will likely get a quarterfinal match against Bayern, which won 3-0 at Chelsea in the first leg.

Those four outstanding games will be played on Aug. 7 and 8, hosted by the home teams: Barcelona, Bayern, Juventus and Man City.

The other half of the draw was much more straightforward with all four quarterfinalists set before the coronavirus pandemic shut down European soccer.