Milan and Madrid fear Group G rivals

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said meeting Real Madrid CF would be "something special", with the presence of AFC Ajax and AJ Auxerre causing Los Merengues concern.

Pato and Milan old boy Kaká in one of last season's meetings between the Group G top seeds
Pato and Milan old boy Kaká in one of last season's meetings between the Group G top seeds ©Getty Images

Having met in last season's group stage – as well as the 1958 European Champion Clubs' Cup final – Group G opponents Real Madrid CF and AC Milan know each other particularly well, meaning both may be more concerned with the other sides in the section, AFC Ajax and AJ Auxerre.

Milan beat Madrid 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabéu last season, drawing 1-1 in the return fixture at San Siro, but much has changed since then, with both sides going into the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League campaign led by new coaches. The traditional giants will of course be wary of each other, yet Ajax and Auxerre will pose just as big a concern, with the Amsterdam side having won their last four games against Madrid and lost just once. Auxerre, meanwhile, have historically had the better of their meetings with the Dutch outfit, twice eliminating them from European competition, most recently in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32.

Massimiliano Allegri, AC Milan coach
Our group is the toughest one, along with Inter's. We are both up against strong opponents. Playing against Real Madrid is something special for us and inspiring for sure. San Siro and the Santiago Bernabéu will be full for those games and we'll witness an extraordinary show in both stadiums. Ajax and Auxerre qualified in style and they will be tough opponents. We have to be ready; we have to approach those games with the right focus and in good shape.

Emilio Butragueño, Madrid sporting director
Our bad luck came from the third and fourth pots. The fact that we drew Milan doesn't worry me as we knew we were going to get a difficult or very difficult team from the top seeds. What I don't like at all in there is Auxerre: they were the trickiest team from pot four.

Martin Jol, Ajax coach
We drew some tough opponents in Real and Milan, but these are incredible names. There are also some Dutch players involved. But at the same time, remembering that you have to win in football, it's really tough. The fourth side in the group are Auxerre and that's a pity. I would have swapped them for a team like MŠK Žilina. You have to bear in mind that you might be playing for third place and that is now more difficult, because Auxerre are about as good as we are. It is a pity that Wesley Sneijder drew us against these teams, but it was nice for him to have won that award.

Ireneusz Jeleń, Auxerre forward
Straight after the draw I was swamped with text messages from friends asking for tickets for the home games against Madrid and Milan. This is the group of death and we are the underdogs, no doubt about it. Then again, I always dreamed about playing against teams like Real Madrid, AC Milan and Ajax. Getting into the group stage means realising my biggest footballing ambition. This is sport and anything can happen, but to be realistic we will be battling for third place.