Ola By Riise, the assistant coach of Rosenborg BK, was thrilled at the prospect of facing an Internazionale FC side containing Ronaldo, should the Brazilian remain at the San Siro, following today's draw for the first group stage of the UEFA Champions League in Monaco.
Trio of champions
In addition to facing the Milanese giants, twice European Champion Clubs' Cup winners, the Norwegian title winners will also square off against Olympique Lyonnais and AFC Ajax, respective French and Dutch champions, in Group D.
But the talking point afterwards was undoubtedly the possibility of Ronaldo, the leading scorer at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, gracing the Lerkendal stadium. "Obviously that would be the icing on the cake," said By Riise. "It's good fun both for the players and the crowd to face some new teams."
Ronaldo or no Ronaldo, By Risse was undaunted by the task in hand. "None of the sides in our group are unbeatable," he said. "We were bound to face some stiff opposition due to our low seeding." The Trondheim club's assistant coach, however, did lament not being drawn against an English club, saying: "We would have liked it but it wasn't to be."
Few previous meetings
There have been few previous encounters between the quartet of challengers in the section, although Inter defeated Lyon in the UEFA Cup second round in 1997 on away goals after their tie finished 3-3 after two legs.
The Italian side also faced Ajax in the 1971 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, which they won 2-0, but they have never encountered Rosenborg in European competition. Similarly, Lyon tackle Ajax for the first time, and the Amsterdam outfit are on course for their first meeting with Norway's finest.
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