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Its just nonsense 
By dengdai on Mar 22, 2014 03:25 AM
MONTE CARLO -- Champions League winner Chelsea will begin the defence of its title at home to Italian giant Juventus, while Real Madrid will face Manchester City in the tournaments toughest group. Thursdays draw for the group stage pitched the holders against a Juventus side that stormed to the Serie A title and was unbeaten in all competitions last season apart from the Italian Cup final. Group E also includes Shakhtar Donetsk and Champions League debutant Nordsjaelland of Denmark. Madrid has been handed the toughest draw -- with three league champions in Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax in Group D. The Spanish champion beat Ajax 3-0 both home and away in last seasons competition. It begins its bid for a record 10th title at home to Premier League champion City. "We didnt have much luck but Im sure our rivals will think the same," Real Madrid director and former playing great Emilio Butragueno said. "Its a very tough group, all of the games are going to be very close, very competitive, very tense. "We have to prepare. Were Real Madrid and we aspire to reach the end of this competition." With all four teams winning their respective leagues last year, it is no surprise Group D has been pinpointed as the toughest group. "This group is a fantastic story. It gives you goose bumps, cramps your nerves," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "Of course Real and City deal in (financial) sums that we cannot match. But this is not going to inhibit us. "We want to be an uncomfortable opponent. We dont want to compete in the sense who is prettier, who is bigger, who is more expensive." Juventus should qualify for the knockout stage, along with Chelsea, which knocked the Serie A side out of the competition in 2009. "Were happy to be back on this stage," Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta said. "All in all were satisfied with this group, although were full of humility and weve got total respect for our opponents." Meanwhile, Nordsjaelland is expected to do little more than make up the numbers in Group E, but the team is keen to enjoy its time in the competition. "It is a great group," midfielder Mikkel Beckhmann said. "It has got to be the second hardest group, but also the second greatest, so I am pleased. Juventus are my favourite team, and I am really looking forward to the away match there and the one against Chelsea. " Bayern Munich, last seasons runner-up, is in Group F with Valencia -- which it beat on penalties in the 2011 final -- as well as Lille and BATE Borisov. "We were in the final last season, we have to advance from the group stage," Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said. "I see Valencia as our toughest rival but our duty is to advance and to be first in the group." Four-time winner Barcelona faces Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Celtic. "It looks like a footballing group, with historic teams and teams with different styles," Barcelona sport director Andoni Zubizarreta said. "It might not have the big names like the other groups but its still interesting." Manchester United, which failed to clear the group stage last season, also has a relatively weak group with Braga, Galatasaray and Cluj. "We have the experience of playing against Galatasaray in the past and we will always remember the Welcome to Hell banners," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "So its always a difficult type of match. "Obviously, weve never played Cluj before but, after the experience of last year, we dont want to make any stupid errors this time. We will play our strongest team to make sure we get through." Seven-time winner AC Milan was drawn with Zenit St. Petersburg, Anderlecht and Malaga -- another Champions League debutant. Milan has had a difficult off-season with the departure of several star players, but should still progress to the knockout stages. "They are three difficult teams, we have to be careful not to undervalue these opponents," Milan director Umberto Gandini said. "Milan is a squad which needs self-esteem and these kind of opponents can help it and make it grow. "They should be faced with the right attitude. We are a different AC Milan, but we are always AC Milan." French champion Montpellier makes its debut in the competition against Arsenal, Schalke and Olympiakos. Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud scored 21 goals for Montpellier last season, finishing as the joint top scorer in the French league. Montpellier winger Anthony Mounier said: "The group features teams with a lot of experience and it wont be easy. Arsenal are obviously frightening but we were expecting to come up against big teams." Arsenal beat Olympiakos 2-1 at the same stage last season before losing the final group game 3-1. It also met the Greek team in 2009-2010. Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain returns to the Champions League after an eight-year absence and will play Porto, Dynamo Kyiv and Dinamo Zagreb. "We will do our best to reach the last 16. Its a new experience for the club," PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "Teams like Porto, Kyiv and even Zagreb have a certain amount of international experience. "All the matches are special in the Champions League, there is a lot of motivation, a lot of commitment. I hope we reach the last 16 and why not finish first in the group." http://www.nikefreerun3portugal.eu/ . The veteran Winnipeg skip finally earned the right to represent Canada at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia next year with an 8-4 victory over Sherry Middaugh in the Canadian Curling Trials final Saturday night. http://www.nikefreerun3portugal.eu/Nike-free-run+-3-kj-94.html . OReilly had two goals, Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves and the Colorado Avalanche beat Detroit 4-2 on Sunday night to end the Red Wings winning streak at seven games.CLEVELAND -- LeBron James could finally be himself. He smiled easily, joked around and blew a few kisses to the crowd. This trip home was different than the others. There was less tension, fewer boos, nothing to fear. This time, James almost felt welcomed. James scored 28 points and seemed more relaxed than in previous games back in Cleveland, leading the Miami Heat to their eighth straight win, 95-84 over the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. He added eight rebounds and eight assists in his fifth game as a visitor against the Cavs, the team that drafted him and the one he led to the NBA finals before leaving as a free agent three years ago to chase NBA championships in Miami. James improved to 11-1 against Cleveland. Unlike his previous four visits, James wasnt the target of nonstop booing or taunts. There wasnt the hatred that filled Quicken Loans Arena the first time he came back on Dec. 2, 2010. "Its been less and less since the first time I was here," said James, soaking his ankles in an ice bucket and drinking a postgame smoothie. "Nothing can be worse than that." Dwyane Wade added 22 points and Michael Beasley 17 for Miami, which coasted during long stretches and never appeared threatened. Dion Waiters, the subject of trade rumours, scored a season-high 24 and Kyrie Irving had 16 for Cleveland. The Heat opened a 15-point lead in the third and responded to every spurt by the Cavs, who got within eight in the final two minutes. James outscored Clevelands starters 28-26, and except for arguing a few calls with the officials that didnt go his way, the four-time MVP and two-time champ enjoyed his visit home as he reminded Cavaliers fans what theyve been missing. After the final horn, James waved to some fans and tossed his headband and wrist bracelets into the crowd the way he always did when he played in Cleveland. "Of late, there have been some cheers here," Wade said. "At the end of the day, hes from Ohio. I think some fans are proud of that." The Cavs, who came in to the season with playoff expectations, have lost four in a row and seven of eight. Six of their 11 losses have been by more than 10 points. "Everyone else can write us off," Irving said. "But in this locker room, we believe in each other. Were going to figure this out." The atmosphere inside the arena was subdued compared to James previous trips. There was energy, but not the same anger as many Clevelanders seem to have moved on and are more concerned with the sstruggling Cavs getting better than venting at James.dddddddddddd. The disgust has decayed. This time it was a game, not an event. In fact, things have cooled to the point that a group of fans have started a campaign to bring back James, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. The group handed out neon green "Come Home LeBron" T-shirts outside the arena before the game. He received the usual boos when he took the floor, but he was soon blowing kisses to fans in the seats as he recognized familiar faces and friends. Before the opening tip, James pointed toward Cavs coach Mike Brown, who nodded toward a former player who has done a lot of growing up. James started slowly, scoring just 3 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Cavs leading 28-22. He changed shoes between quarters, swapping a red pair for black ones. In different kicks, his game kicked into gear. He scored nine points in the second quarter, when the Heat turned up their defensive pressure and held the Cavaliers to 14 points on 5 of 25 shooting. "I didnt feel good early on, but once I got back into the game I started feeling better," James said. "In the second quarter I got into some good rhythm. We started knocking down some shots and I got some rebounds and steals." James seemed intent on ending his night early. He scored Miamis first eight points of the third and fed Chris Bosh for two layups. James dropped a 3-pointer and his free throw gave the Heat their biggest lead at 68-53. The Cavs came in reeling following a 30-point beatdown in San Antonio on Saturday. Adding to their disarray was a report that the club is trying to trade Waiters, who denied he asked to be moved and insists he loves playing in Cleveland. "Its just nonsense," Waiters said. "Theres been things thrown out there that havent been true at all." NOTES: James will host Thanksgiving for his teammates at his 30,000-square-foot mansion in Bath, Ohio, on Thursday. James decided to have his teammates over when he realized the team was headed to Canada to play on the day after the holiday. "Toronto doesnt celebrate Thanksgiving," he said. "It was either do it at a hotel or do it at my house. Id much rather do it at my house." ... Brown said No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett has been making steady progress. "Hes a young guy trying to find his way," Brown said. ... The Heat were without forwards Shane Battier (flu) and Udonis Haslam (back). ' ' '
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