Cristiano Ronaldo is not the only threat Atletico Madrid will have to contend with against juventus, Jose Gimenez has warned ahead of Wednesday's Champions League showdown.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the last meeting between the two sides in March, securing a 3-2 aggregate win for Juve in Turin.

While that victory sent Juve into the quarter-finals - where they were beaten by Ajax - their reunion with Atletico comes in the opening fixture of Group D, which also includes Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Former Real Madrid star Ronaldo has a great record against Los Blancos' rivals and is the record goalscorer in Madrid derbies.

But Gimenez does not believe Atletico will need to draw any extra motivation from Juve's comeback, and urged them not to focus too much on Ronaldo. 

"The motivation comes from us, the past is the past," Gimenez said ahead of the match at Wanda Metropolitano.

"We want to play with the same desire we have in any game, in any competition.

"He's a great striker, but Juve is not just Cristiano Ronaldo. We can't think of the game that way. The important thing is to do a great group job.

"We are always motivated. But we know how important this game is, it is the first of the group. It's another season, with other players, it's all different."

Coach Diego Simeone echoed Gimenez's thoughts, though conceded Atletico may not be able to keep out Ronaldo if he is in the mood once more.

"It is difficult to prepare a game against him," said Simeone.

"He is a goal animal, he is at a different level and with him in the area he needs attention, he is not easy to control, he has a change of pace and an ability to score that we have suffered as seen."

Portugal's next rising star is Joao Felix, who has scored one goal in four LaLiga appearances so far this season for Atletico following his €126million move from Benfica, but Simeone stressed the 19-year-old will need time to adapt to the intensity of the Champions League.

"Champions are talented players who can make you win games against any rival," he said.

"We are trying to improve, to grow, to adapt to this type of competition, to make young players understand what it is. I think with Joao Felix, it will take time."

An injury-time equaliser from Nicolo Barella denied Slavia Prague a famous Champions League win over Inter at San Siro on Tuesday.

The champions of the Czech Republic were not expected to escape from a daunting Group F that also contains Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona but looked on course for a deserved victory in Milan through Peter Olayinka.

Slavia could have added to their tally and were punished in second-half stoppage time, as Barella's shot bounced through a crowded box and into the left-hand corner to ensure the game finished 1-1.

Inter started slowly until Stefan de Vrij headed over when unmarked six yards out, before Lautaro Martinez fired narrowly wide.

Danilo D'Ambrosio's header was denied by Ondrej Kolar, who was then lucky not to give away a goal as he made a mess of an attempted clearance but Inter were largely lifeless in the first half.

Kolar had to react smartly to stop Stefano Sensi's cross creeping in and then keep out Martinez's rebound, before Kwadwo Asamoah avoided a red card following a VAR review for a foul on Ibrahim Benjamin Traore, who had to be substituted.

It was his replacement, Jaroslav Zeleny, whose first-time shot was superbly saved by Samir Handanovic only for Olayinka to pounce and turn the ball high into the net to give Slavia their shock lead.

Buoyed by the breakthrough, Slavia continued pressing high and should have scored a second through Lukas Masopust, who blazed over the bar from the edge of the box.

It was substitute Barella who rescued a result for Antonio Conte's side, his half-volley finding a way into the net after Sensi's free-kick had crashed off the crossbar.

What does it mean? Conte's Champions League return off to a bleak start

Conte could not match his domestic success in Europe with Juventus and this was an uninspiring start to Champions League life with Inter.

In a group containing Barca and Dortmund, a draw at home to the weakest of the four teams - on paper at least - has put the Nerazzurri at a disadvantage after only one matchday.

Slavia might just fancy one or two more shocks, though, given the nature of their performance here.

Soucek supreme

Slavia captain Tomas Soucek was efficient on the ball and proved a valuable screen to the back four, keeping Inter's limp attack nullified.

Martinez a figure of frustration

Having missed two presentable opportunities, Martinez was booked for dissent after conceding a free-kick near his own penalty area, compounding an unhappy outing.

What's next?

Inter, who face AC Milan in the derby this weekend, head to Barcelona on Champions League matchday two on October 2. Slavia host Borussia Dortmund.

Memphis Depay's penalty saw Lyon come from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Zenit in the opening round of Champions League fixtures.

Zenit scored the first goal of the group stage through Sardar Azmoun but Lyon hit back six minutes into the second half with a penalty earned and scored by Depay.

Both teams pushed for victory in Tuesday's Group G game but were unable to find a late breakthrough.

Lyon started on top with Moussa Dembele curling a shot narrowly over the crossbar, although Branislav Ivanovic had wasted a free header at the other end.

Marcelo then nodded wide from a Depay corner as Lyon continued to press, but Zenit opened the scoring against the run of play in the 41st minute.

A clever one-two with Artem Dzyuba on the edge of Lyon's box sent Azmoun through and he poked his finish past onrushing goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Lyon pulled level early in the second half, though, Depay coolly converting a penalty he won himself by drawing a foul from Magomed Ozdoev in the area.

The equaliser boosted Lyon and Jeff Reine-Adelaide should have put them in front after Zenit were carved open, the former Arsenal youngster instead firing wide from the edge of the box.

That opportunity proved the clearest chance to score a winner for either side, with the spoils shared after Depay failed to make the most of being played in by Reine-Adelaide.


What does it mean? Group G looks wide open

The result will have pleased all four teams who landed in this group, which looks the most unpredictable of the eight sections. Each club, including Benfica and RB Leipzig, will fancy their chances of progressing with the top two spots completely up for grabs.


Depay leads Lyon recovery

Lyon were on top in the first half without creating a great deal, but after the break Depay stepped up. The Netherlands forward can be inconsistent but won the penalty with a moment of magic that was far too good for Ozdoev to deal with.

Of Lyon's last five Champions League goals, Depay has been directly involved in four.


Zhirkov anonymous for Zenit

One of the most experienced players in the competition, 36-year-old Yuri Zhirkov did not offer enough creativity on the wing for the Russian champions. It was no surprise to see coach Sergei Semak replace him with Daler Kuzyaev midway through the second period.


What's next?

Zenit are at home to Rubin Kazan in the Russian Premier League on Saturday, the day before Lyon host Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. Matchweek two of the Champions League, played early next month, sees Lyon go to Leipzig, while Zenit host Benfica.

Keeping Neymar amid interest from Barcelona was Paris Saint-Germain's most important piece of business in the transfer window, according to his team-mate Marco Verratti.

Brazil star Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Barca, whom he left two years ago in a world-record €222million move.

The two clubs held meetings and Barca confirmed their interest in the forward, but their reported offer of €130m plus Ivan Rakitic, Jean-Clair Todibo and Ousmane Dembele – the latter apparently having been offered on loan – fell short when the former Borussia Dortmund winger rejected a proposed switch.

As such, many consider PSG's Champions League chances to be greater, and although suspension rules him out of their first two games of the European campaign, Verratti believes retaining Neymar's services was the best bit of recruitment work the club did in the transfer window.

"We need players like Neymar or Kylian [Mbappe], who are a bit above everyone else," Verratti told reporters.

"Neymar had a difficult time with off-field moments that have somewhat destabilised him, but when he learned that he was staying, I saw him with a smile as always.

"He loves football, he is a player who will help us a lot. We are lucky to have him in Paris, we must enjoy him. I know the fans have not forgotten [what happened], but I hope Neymar will do everything [to forget the drama] and we will celebrate all this together at the end of the season.

"In football, there are always some nice moments and I hope that it will end well. Neymar will give 110 per cent.

"Neymar is perhaps the most important player we recruited. There are more favoured teams than us, but we will give everything.

"If we go out, it'll because the opponents are better than us, but I do not want to go out and have regrets like last year [against Manchester United]."

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani will all miss PSG's Group A opener against Real Madrid on Wednesday, meaning Mauro Icardi could lead the line at the Parc des Princes.

The Argentina forward featured as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Strasbourg on Saturday and, although Verratti accepts he is still integrating, he is confident Icardi will prove his worth.

"It takes a little more time to get to know everyone, but it's easy to play with him," Verratti said of the on-loan Inter forward.

"He can score at any time. He can help us, he knows how to play with his team-mates and we are happy.

"We have to wait a bit to see the real Icardi. He has been out for a long time, but he is a magnificent player."

Ansu Fati will become Barcelona's youngest player to feature in the Champions League after being named in their team to face Borussia Dortmund, while Lionel Messi is on the bench.

Messi has yet to feature this term due to a calf injury but has been deemed fit enough to be included on the bench for Tuesday's Group F game in Germany.

His absence has helped clear the path for Fati to come through and the 16-year-old, who has scored two LaLiga goals in three appearances, will get a chance to impress on Europe's grandest stage.

Fati starts in a front three alongside the returning Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, who makes his Champions League debut for Barca. 

Griezmann's fellow new signing Frenkie de Jong also starts.

Suarez, who came off the bench to score twice in a 5-2 defeat of Valencia last time out, replaces Carles Perez in Barca's only change from that game.

Dortmund's XI includes former Barca striker Paco Alcacer, with the Spain international having already hit five Bundesliga goals this season.

Eden Hazard is ready to start Wednesday's Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain, according to Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane.

The Belgium international, who joined Madrid from Chelsea in June, has only recently returned to training following a thigh injury and made his debut in Saturday's LaLiga victory over Levante as a second-half substitute.

The Spanish giants kick off their campaign to win a 14th Champions League title at PSG and Zidane is confident Hazard will feature from the start.

"You will see how we're going to play tomorrow, but Hazard is ready to play and ready to start," he told a media conference. "We've had some good training sessions recently and he's ready."

Zidane was quick to praise French striker Karim Benzema following PSG boss Thomas Tuchel's assertion that he is "fantastic and undervalued".

"It hasn't been easy for him but he's always showed the kind of player he is," he added. "He's a goalscorer but that's not the most important thing in football.

"He's a team player and that's what I like the most. I think he's fantastic, just like Tuchel said. I think the same way."

James Rodriguez played the full 90 minutes of the weekend win over Levante, teeing up Benzema for Los Blancos' second goal.

Zidane would not be drawn on whether he would start against the Ligue 1 champions, but he did praise the Colombia international's versatility.

"We'll see, because he can play everywhere, but it's true that it is easier for him to play up front," he said. "It's important for him to be in good form and he is. His position on the field can change because he is a quality player."

Madrid and PSG are red-hot favourites to progress from Group A, which also includes Club Brugge and Galatasaray, with Zidane suggesting the French champions have enough quality to go all the way.

"PSG is also a favourite in the Champions League because they are a great team," he said. "They are always dangerous although sometimes they do not get the expected results.

"But it is a team that is dangerous, which they show every weekend. With [Edinson] Cavani, [Kylian] Mbappe and Neymar they are better, but they are a team that is at a very high level even without those three."

Mauricio Pochettino says he is refusing to think about reaching another Champions League final ahead of Tottenham's Group B clash against Olympiacos on Wednesday.

Spurs reached last season's final in Madrid after a dramatic semi-final triumph over Ajax but were beaten 2-0 by Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Their 2019-20 campaign kicks off in Athens against last season's Greek Super League runners up, with Pochettino adamant that it is too early to be talking about a second consecutive final appearance.

"It's so early to start talking about the final," he told a media conference. "The most important thing is to talk about our squad quality.

"I don't care if because we reached the final people think we are a contender again. We are focused on trying to win [against Olympiacos] and starting in a good way.

"Of course, it was a long period after the final in Madrid and being honest I was thinking a lot about it during the summer.

"You can't forget the feeling of losing in the final. You have to wait until you start again. It's another massive challenge for us."

Tottenham started last season's Champions League campaign in sluggish fashion, picking up just one point in their opening three group games.

They bounced back in style, however, winning seven points from their remaining three games to progress into the knockout stages.

While Pochettino wants nothing less than three points from his side, he admits he would take a similarly poor start if it meant a trip to Istanbul for this season's final.

"I'd sign up to start the same way as last season but finish in Istanbul," he added. "We know we have to start by winning, though. We need to show our quality. We need to show we have learned from the past."

Danny Rose and Serge Aurier have been rested for the clash in Greece, while Juan Foyth, Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso remain sidelined through injury.

John Stones has been ruled out for a month with a muscle injury, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

City's defensive options had already been hit by Aymeric Laporte being ruled out for six months by a knee injury, while no replacement was signed for departed club captain Vincent Kompany.

That left Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as City's only senior centre-backs and the pair looked shaky last time out as the champions went down to their first Premier League defeat since January, losing 3-2 away to promoted Norwich City.

City will be further stretched for the upcoming period after Guardiola told reporters ahead of a Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk that Stones was injured in training on Tuesday.

"A month, four or five weeks," Guardiola said when asked how long Stones would be out.

Guardiola previously indicated full-back Kyle Walker and defensive midfielder Fernandinho - an unused substitute against the Canaries - could be options in the heart of City's defence.

The City boss said he could also turn to teenage duo Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis to address the growing injury crisis at the back.

"[It is a] Big challenge. For me as a manager, it's an incredible challenge: just one central defender in Nico," he added.

"But I believe a lot. People don't know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players are going to come back with Fernandinho, Garcia, Harwood-Bellis.

"It's happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. If they are not able, they are not able. We have to have 11 players on the pitch, and I like it, finding a solution."

Stones will likely miss Premier League games against Watford, Everton and Wolves at least as well as an EFL Cup trip to Preston North End and a Champions League home game against Dinamo Zagreb.

City will also be without Phil Foden against Shakhtar, with Guardiola confirming: "He has a virus, a problem with the stomach. He's not able [to play] this game or I think the next."

Manuel Neuer moved to end his public exchange with Marc-Andre ter Stegen as Niko Kovac gave a strong endorsement of the Bayern Munich man's form.

Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen this week described it as "inappropriate" for Neuer to criticise him for speaking out about a lack of international opportunities.

Germany captain Neuer started ahead of Ter Stegen during the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers and accused his positional rival of putting himself before the team when he expressed frustration with the selection order.

Joachim Low continues to insist the younger keeper's time will come and the experienced Neuer sought to defuse the tension on Tuesday.

"We always talk to each other," Neuer said when asked whether he had made contact with Ter Stegen.

"I don't really want to say anything about it anymore, it was something I said after the [Northern Ireland] game and I've been approached several times now because of that.

"I gave a statement and now I'm going to focus on the games, on the club and on the pitch. That applies to Germany as well as Bayern Munich. You won't hear any more statements from me."

Though under pressure to hold his place for Germany, Neuer faces no such concern at club level.

Bayern boss Kovac has been pleased with the 33-year-old's recent performances and his handling of the Ter Stegen situation.

"I think it was a very clear statement from Marc and then from Manuel," Kovac said.

"I know it's all blown out of proportion. I understand it, I'm not stupid, I know why it's all blown out of proportion, but really I think we should leave these guys alone to do their jobs and they're both doing a fantastic job.

"I said this last season and it's confirmed more and more: Manuel is in absolutely top shape.

"He gave us a sensational performance against RB Leipzig and and he did so for Germany.

"It's difficult and unfortunate for Marc, he's a world-class goalkeeper as well, and unfortunately there is only one goalkeeper per country."

Neuer and Bayern are preparing to host Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Wednesday, their first European outing since losing to Liverpool in the round of 16 last season.

"We were unlucky to go out against the Champions League winners," Kovac said.

"Now it's a new season, everything is back to square one and we want to survive the group stage. I am convinced we will progress further than last season."

John Stones has been ruled out for a month with a muscle injury, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

City's defensive options had already been hit by Aymeric Laporte being ruled out for six months by a knee injury, while no replacement was signed for departed club captain Vincent Kompany.

That left Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as City's only senior centre-backs and the pair looked shaky last time out as City went down to their first Premier League defeat since January, losing 3-2 away to promoted Norwich City.

City will be further stretched for the upcoming period after Guardiola told reporters ahead of a Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk that Stones was injured in training on Tuesday.

"A month, four or five weeks," Guardiola said when asked how long Stones would be out.

David Alaba will miss up to three weeks with the thigh tear he suffered on Saturday, Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac has confirmed.

Austria international Alaba was forced to skip the Bundesliga draw against RB Leipzig after injuring his left thigh during the warm-up at the Red Bull Arena.

Kovac's timeline potentially rules the left-back out of action until after the October international break.

He will miss Wednesday's home meeting with Red Star Belgrade and is in doubt for the club's second Champions League encounter, a trip to Tottenham at the start of next month.

"David will be out for two, maximum three weeks," Kovac said.

"Obviously, David is a really important player for us. Unfortunately he's going to be out for a couple of weeks but Lucas Hernandez won the World Cup in that position.

"He has a different interpretation of how to play at left-back than David does but he does a very good job.

"Alphonso [Davies] can play in that position, that's actually why we fielded him against Leipzig. He didn't play as a left-back but we fielded him so that he could work together with Lucas. Tomorrow is a Champions League game, it might be a bit different."

One man who could benefit from Alaba's injury is Jerome Boateng.

The centre-back, routinely linked with a move elsewhere during the transfer window, stepped into the starting XI at late notice against Leipzig and impressed Kovac.

"I keep saying the same thing about Jerome Boateng - he's a part of this team and as a part of this team I treat him like everyone else," the Bayern boss said.

"Everyone has the right to play here. Jerome didn't play a lot in the last couple of weeks, however, on Saturday he had to play from the first moment to the last and it was a class performance. I want to emphasise that.

"Of course, I have a lot of very good players. It was his first game [in the Bundesliga] and he played 90 minutes. That's a different rhythm from someone who plays once or twice a week.

"We'll have to see how he copes. I am happy with him and he will get chances to play, that's all I can say really."

Jesus Navas says years of covering for Dani Alves at Sevilla made it easy for him to become a full-back for Manchester City.

Having spent his earlier career as a winger, Navas was deployed as an emergency right-back in Pep Guardiola's first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium due to injuries.

Navas returned to Sevilla after the 2016-17 season and has mostly been used in defence for club and country since, including in all four LaLiga appearances this season and the 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Romania on September 5.

The 33-year-old says it was a natural progression for him to become a defender, partly because of his experience of covering for the marauding Dani Alves during the Brazilian's time at Sevilla between 2002 and 2008.

"There were players injured [at City] and he [Guardiola] asked me if I could play there," Navas said, courtesy of LaLiga. "I told him that I could do it without a problem because when I played with Dani Alves he used to attack a lot, so I normally covered him in the defence.

"I did not have any problem doing it. Everything went well."

Navas won six trophies in his first spell with Sevilla before helping City to one Premier League and two EFL Cup triumphs.

However, his crowning achievement came when his burst forward from his own half led to Andres Iniesta's winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.

"Thinking about that play, for me to have won a World Cup is the biggest thing ever as a player," he said. "You dream of that from when you're a child. It was a dream that became true. It was incredible. The greatest moment for me.
 
"My next dream would be to win another title with Sevilla and with our fans. That would be something big."

Navas twice won the UEFA Cup with Sevilla before it was rebranded as the Europa League and he now wants to lift the trophy for a third time this season.

He also predicts a Spanish team can triumph in the Champions League - as well as former club City.
 
"Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona or another team that's always on top can win the Champions League," he said. "The Spanish teams always fight for this title.
 
"[The Europa League] is very special for us. We have won it on various occasions and feel very comfortable playing it. We know that it is difficult and a long tournament, so we have to go game by game. The truth is that this competition has given us a lot of happiness."

 

Atletico Madrid captain Koke insists revenge is not a motivating factor ahead of the Champions League rematch with Juventus on Wednesday.

The Spanish side entertain the Serie A champions just over six months on from their capitulation in the second leg of last season's rollercoaster round-of-16 tie.

Diego Simeone's men appeared on course for the quarter-finals following a 2-0 home win but collapsed in the return encounter as a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick earned Juve a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The turnaround in Turin extended Atletico's wait for Champions League glory, yet Koke is not worried about getting one back on the Bianconeri.

"Not, revenge no. Every year is different," the midfielder told Marca.

"It is true that we are going to play against one of the best teams in the world, with great players, and it will be a nice game.

"But what matters to us is to try to get out of the group, which is our goal, and to beat Juventus or whoever we come up against."

He added: "To tell the truth, it was inexplicable [to lose].

"Just like anyone, one day on the job is not the same as another. We had a bad day, they were good and the goals were in specific moments, in the middle of the first half, at the beginning of the second and then at the end."

Stefan Savic watched the match unfold from the bench and views it as the "worst" of his four years at the club.

The centre-back appears likely to start this time around and warned his team-mates against focusing solely on stopping Juve star Ronaldo.

"Juve are much more than Cristiano," Savic said. "They have great champions in their team. Ronaldo is one of the most important players in history and we will be watchful."

Atletico Madrid captain Koke insists revenge is not a motivating factor ahead of the Champions League rematch with Juventus on Wednesday.

Diego Simeone's side entertain the Serie A champions just over six months on from their capitulation in the second leg of last season's rollercoaster round of 16 tie.

The Spanish side appeared on course for the quarter-finals following a 2-0 home win but collapsed in the return encounter as a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick earned Juve a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The turnaround in Turin extended Atletico's wait for Champions League glory, yet Koke is not worried about getting one back on the Bianconeri.

"Not, revenge no. Every year is different," the midfielder told Marca.

"It is true that we are going to play against one of the best teams in the world, with great players, and it will be a nice game.

"But what matters to us is to try to get out of the group, which is our goal, and to beat Juventus or whoever we come up against."

He added: "To tell the truth, it was inexplicable [to lose].

"Just like anyone, one day on the job is not the same as another. We had a bad day, they were good and the goals were in specific moments, in the middle of the first half, at the beginning of the second and then at the end."

Stefan Savic watched the match unfold from the bench and views it as the "worst" of his four years at the club.

The centre-back appears likely to start this time around and warned his team-mates against focusing solely on stopping Juve star Ronaldo.

"Juve are much more than Cristiano," Savic said.

"They have great champions in their team. Ronaldo is one of the most important players in history and we will be watchful."

Neymar has had his European suspension reduced from three matches to two on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The ban, extending across all UEFA competitions, was imposed upon the Paris Saint-Germain forward following his foul-mouthed Instagram outburst about the match officials who presided over the club's Champions League loss to Manchester United in March.

Neymar was upset with the awarding of a late penalty in the second-leg meeting at Parc des Princes, which knocked PSG out of the competition at the last-16 stage.

"This is a disgrace, they put four people that know nothing about football in charge of looking at the replay for VAR," he wrote at the time.

"There is no penalty. How can it be a handball when it hits his back! Go f*** yourselves!"

Neymar's initial appeal was rejected by UEFA in June but CAS has seen fit to lower the ban to two European games, the smallest possible sanction under the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

The decision means the Brazil international will be eligible to feature in the Champions League trip to Club Brugge on October 22, PSG's third Group A fixture.

Thomas Tuchel's men first face Real Madrid in Paris on Wednesday and Galatasaray in Istanbul on October 1.

Having attempted to secure a return to Barcelona during the close-season transfer window, Neymar only returned to the pitch for PSG over the weekend.

The 27-year-old marked his club comeback with a spectacular stoppage-time winner in the 1-0 victory over Strasbourg in Ligue 1.

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