Neymar denied Barcelona return in Champions League group stage
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar gestures during the match against Toulouse (AFP)
Paris - Reigning champions and Spanish title-holders Real Madrid head the pot of top seeds
Published: Wed 23 Aug 2017, 8:54 PM
Last updated: Thu 24 Aug 2017, 1:02 PM
Neymar will be denied an immediate return to Barcelona when the Champions League draw is made in Monaco on Thursday.
Both his Paris Saint-Germain team and the Catalan giants he left earlier this month for a world record 222 million euros ($264m) have been placed in pot two - amongst the second seeds.
Reigning champions and Spanish title-holders Real Madrid head the pot of top seeds - the champions from the eight highest-ranked countries in the UEFA rankings.
England's Chelsea, Germans Bayern Munich, Monaco of France's Ligue 1, Portuguese giants Benfica, Serie A champions Juventus, Russians Spartak Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine make up the rest of pot one.
But if anything, pot two looks even stronger with both Manchester clubs, Borussia Dormtund, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Porto in alongside PSG and Barca.
Dangerous sides including Tottenham Hotspur and Italian pair Napoli and Roma lurk in pot three, with Liverpool potentially joining them if they get past Hoffenheim on Wednesday evening.
The final five qualifiers for the 32-team Champions League group stages will be known later on Wednesday.
Each outfit will be drawn into one of eight four-team groups where clubs from the same country are kept apart.
The draw will take place at 6pm (1600 GMT) in Monaco.
Pot 1:Real Madrid (ESP/champions), Bayern Munich (GER), Juventus (ITA), Benfica (POR), Chelsea (ENG), Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR), Monaco (FRA), Spartak Moscow (RUS)
Pot 2:Barcelona (ESP), Atletico Madrid (ESP), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), Borussia Dortmund (GER), Sevilla (ESP), Manchester City (ENG), Porto (POR), Manchester United (ENG)
Pot 3:Anderlecht (BEL), Basel (SUI), Besiktas (TUR), Napoli (ITA), Olympiakos (GRE), Roma (ITA), Tottenham (ENG), plus one more
Pot 4:Glasgow (SCO/possibly in pot 3), Maribor (SLO), Feyenoord (NED), RB Leipzig (GER), plus four more teams
Group stage fixtures:Matchday 1: September 12-13
Matchday 2: September 26-27
Matchday 3: October 17-18
Matchday 4: October 31-November 1
Matchday 5: November 21-22
Matchday 6: December 5-6