London: Five facts on the Champions League group stage which gets underway on Tuesday:
UEFA cash score up
-- UEFA estimates that it will make gross commercial revenue of EUR1.34 billion ($1.73 billion) from the 2014-15 Champions League and the European Super Cup. Up to EUR530 million from commercial and media contracts will go to competing clubs. The winner of the final in Berlin next May will get EUR37.4 million on top of their market pool share.
Bad News For Real Madrid
-- In the Champions League era, no team has won the title two years running and that is bad news for Real Madrid who were European champions for the 10th time in May. AC Milan in the old European Cup in 1990 were the last team to win back-to-back titles. Since then AC Milan, Ajax, Juventus and Manchester United have all reached the final but lost the year after winning the trophy.
Messi and Ronaldo set for goal record
-- Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid will be looking to become the all-time top scorer in the Champions League. Both are on 67 goals, four behind former Real Madrid star Raul who scored 71 goals between 1995 and 2011. Ronaldo scored a record 17 goals for a Champions League season last year.
Champions League newcomers
-- Malmo, despite winning the Swedish title 17 times, are in the Champions League group stages for the first time. They start against Juventus in Group A. Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria, who go to Liverpool in Group B, are also newcomers and their story is even more incredible. The team was only founded in 2001 and promoted to the Bulgarian top division in 2011.
-- Manchester United will be absent from the Champions League for the first time since 1996-97 and the club estimates it will cost them £48 million ($78 million). This year will see Real Madrid equal United`s record of consecutive participations -- the Spanish side have been ever present since 1997-98.