Group A – Barcelona, Inter, Bayer Leverkusen, Newcastle
striker Hernan Crespo: “As always happens in the Champions League,it’s a difficult group. We mustn’t forget what it means to play against a prestigious club like Barcelona.
“Leverkusen are alsoa fearsome opponent, they were finalists last season. I wouldn’t underestimate Newcastle either. We’ll have to give everything in each match by giving the maximum effort.”
Barcelona director general Javier Perez Farguell. “We all have a lot of respect and a lot of affection for him (Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson) inBarcelona.”
“We will look forward to seeing him and his team very much. He was with us for only one season, but he did well and we won two cups and he brought Ronaldo to us.”
Leverkusen general manager Reiner Calmund: “It’s a tough group, there’sno question about that, but we shouldn’t be afraid of anyone.
“Inter top the table in Italy and Barcelona have won their six games in the opening stage.
“That says it all. Having Newcastle in our group is not good news. Of all English cities, Newcastle is the most crazy about football.”
Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson: ‘These are very exciting times for Newcastle United and this is reflected in the draw.
‘All the 16 teams left in the draw are top quality sides, so it was not going to be easy whoever we were drawn against.
‘The dream for me was going back to Barcelona having had two very enjoyable years there and, in particular, renewing my acquaintance with Louis Van Gaal.”
Group B – Valencia, Arsenal, Roma, Ajax
president Jaime Orti: “We have been drawn in the group with the strongest selection of teams.
“It is full of high-quality sides and is very evenly balanced. Every game is going to be difficult but not just for Valencia but for all the teams in the group.”
Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein: “There’s no such thing as an easy draw at this stage of the competition..
“Our previous group stage was difficult. It’s going to be tough, but we’ve got a strong squad.”
“We haven’t played Ajax for 30 years although two of our players came from Ajax, Dennis Bergkamp and (Nwankwo) Kanu. Valenica we played two years ago when we got to the quarter-finals and lost on the away goals rule.
“They’re all good teams and everygame has the same amount of points at stake so it doesn’t matter who you play.”
Ajax president Arie van Eyden: “You cannot say that one opponent is worse than the other one.
“It is nice to play an English team. Although there are less English players in Arsenal, they play in a nice way and it will be very satisfying to play each other.”
Group C – Real Madrid, Milan Dortmund, Lokomotiv
Dortmund’s sporting manager Michael Zor: “We’re the German champions and we must not underestimate ourselves.
“I think it’s a wonderful draw. To play against such top teams is great.”
Lokomotiv technical director Khasanbi Bidjiev: “But I think we can challenge the other teams for a quarter-final place. Our future pretty much depends on our first game (at home to Dortmund).”ÿ
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti described Group C “prestigious” and called on his team “to play the winning football of three weeks ago”.
Emilio Butragueno, Madrid’s team director: “I am sure that all the matches are going to be very even.
“We have to be very careful but I think we can qualify. This is football though and anything can happen.”
Group C – Manchester United, Juventus, Deportivo, Bassle
Basle club secretary Werner Schneeberger: “If you are playing in Switzerland then you are happy that you are entering the second group stage. Group D is perfect. We are going to have six very emotional battles and we are happy.’
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘I am not sick of the sight of Deportivo, just playing them in the second stage means we have progressed.”
“I hope we meet again later on. There was a spell where we got Juventus three years on the trot so it does not bother us.”
Deportivo president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro: “At this stage it is impossible to get an easy group. It is going to be very difficult to qualify, but Manchester United and Juventus won’t find it easy either as both sides have experienced defeat against Deportivo.”