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Real Madrid and rivals await Champions League draw in Istanbul

Real Madrid players celebrate after beating Liverpool in the Champions League final at the Stade de France in May. (Photo: AFP)

ISTANBUL: Title holders Real Madrid and the rest of Europe’s elite clubs will be able to start plotting their route to Champions League glory when the draw for this season’s group stage is made in Istanbul on Thursday from 1600 GMT.

All going to plan, the journey will end back in the Turkish city on June 10 next year for the final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, the same venue where Liverpool defeated AC Milan on penalties in 2005.

Istanbul was supposed to host the final in 2020 and again in 2021, but on each occasion Uefa moved the game to Portugal due to pandemic-related restrictions.

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