European football’s greatest were awarded for their phenomenal achievements over the last year in a EUFA Champions League draw and awards ceremony at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Thursday, August 31.

Deservedly taking home the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award was Manchester City star striker Erling Haaland, who beat his teammate Kevin De Bruyne and Lionel Messi to the punch. 23 year-old Haaland scored a record-breaking 36 goals in just the regular 2022/23 Premier League season alone, and extended his goal tally to 52 goals on the European stage. The Norwegian forward’s heroics have also led to him winning the PFA Player of the Season just two days prior.

Thanks in large part to Haaland’s considerable contribution, Manchester City went on to win the Premier League and the Champions League. With that in mind, it is easy to see why Man City coach Pep Guardiola was awarded the Men’s Coach of the Year award. While Haaland was present in the Principality to receive his award, his mastermind manager was unable to attend as he recovers from back surgery.

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmatí won the Women’s Player of the Year award, having spurred each team on to winning the UEFA Women’s Champion League and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Meanwhile, Lionesses’ coach Sarina Wiegman received the Women’s Coach of the Year award,

The awards ceremony was preceded by a draw to decide the groups of the upcoming Champions League tournament. 32 teams were divided into eight groups, bringing together teams from across the continent.

Judging by the groups alone, there are more than a few must-watch fixtures to come over the next couple of months, especially that of Group F, wherein Newcastle United will face top tier clubs from France, Germany and Italy in the form of Paris, Dortmund and Milan.

Featured image: REUTERS/Massimo Pinca