Fontvieille, Monaco – Real Madrid will have to navigate three other European league champions in the Champions League group stage, as it was drawn with Manchester City, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.
Record nine-time European and La Liga champion Real Madrid and English Premier League champion Manchester City are the favorites, but Dutch champion Ajax and German champion Borussia Dortmund make Group D the "Group of Death."
Ajax is a four-time European champion, and Dortmund has won the Bundesliga in back-to-back seasons. City was also in the "Group of Death" last season, and finished third behind eventual tournament runner-up Bayern Munich and Napoli.
Bayern is in Group F along with Spain, Lille and BATE. Champions League winner Chelsea was placed in Group E with Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian champion Juventus and Nordsjaelland.
Manchester United received one of the easier draws in Group H with Braga, Galatasaray and CFR Cluj. Barcelona was placed in Group G with Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Celtic.
Also on Thursday, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta was named the UEFA Best Player of the Year. Barca teammate and Argentina international Lio Messi and Real Madrid and Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo tied for second.
Following are all the Champions League groups:
Group A: FC Porto (Portugal), Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine), PSG (France), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia).
Group B: Arsenal (England), Schalke (Germany), Olympiacos (Greece), Montpellier (France).
Group C: AC Milan (Italy), Zenit (Russia), Anderlecht (Belgium), Malaga (Spain).
Group D: Real Madrid (Spain), Manchester City (England), Ajax (Netherlands), Borussia Dortmund (Germany).
Group E: Chelsea (England), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Juventus (Italy), Nordsjaelland (Denmark).
Group F: Bayern Munich (Germany), Valencia (Spain), Lille (France), BATE (Belarus).
Group G: Barcelona (Spain), Benfica (Portugal), Spartak Moscow (Russia), Celtic (Scotland).
Group H: Manchester United (England), Braga (Portugal), Galatasaray (Turkey), CFR Cluj (Romania).