27/08/2009 07:14,
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Europe: The contenders

With the Champions League group stage draw taking place in Monaco tonight (17:00 BST), we’ve picked six dangerous continental challengers to United's bid for European glory...

Who’s in charge? Pep Guardiola. A Treble in his first season has set the bar sky-high. Repeating the European leg would be a fantastic achievement for the 38-year-old, who has no need to tinker with a winning formula.
What’s new? Barça’s big summer signing will have surprised many United fans, thoroughly underwhelmed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s appearance at OT with Inter last term. Still, he scored 25 goals in Serie A and someone thinks he’s worth €70million.
Main man Lionel Messi. Little argument there; the Argentinian offers eye-popping sleight of foot, plus ball-on-a-string control. And as Rio and Edwin will ruefully attest, he’s not bad in the air either.
How they got here By winning the league nine points clear of second-placed Real – with 105 goals to boot.
Last time out Er… they did OK. Beat Wisla Krakow to qualify, topped Group C, crushed Lyon and Bayern, edged past Chelsea in the semis then… oh, let’s move on, shall we?
Verdict Holders, favourites and a team others will want to avoid.

Who’s in charge? Former president and Galacticos godfather Florentino Perez was re-elected Bernabéu president this summer. Perez duly appointed Chilean Manuel Pellegrini as head coach after five years piloting the Yellow Submarine of Villarreal. However, he won’t have that long to deliver trophies in Madrid.
What’s new? Unprecedented summer spending, even by Galactico standards. Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa and Esteban Granero arrived in a monumental summer spending spree.
Main man Who else? The best player in the world. If and when United face Madrid, at least we know all about star man Ronaldo.
How they got here La Liga runners-up, though a

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