The draws for the AFC Champions League were recently declared at an event held in Kuala Lumpur. The AFC Champions League is the equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, except that it is based in Asia, and features the best clubs in the top-flight leagues of multiple countries. India’s only entry in the tournament this season is Mumbai City FC.
Ahead of the draws, there was a lot of excitement amongst fans as well as players as to which team Mumbai City would be paired against in the tournament. The tournament will feature some of the biggest clubs in Saudi Arabia, like Al-Nassr, Al Ittihad, and Al Hilal. These clubs feature some of the biggest global stars in football, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Neymar Jr.
In a video posted on social media, players of Mumbai City FC were asked which team they would love to play against the most in the Champions League. The players had interesting answers up their sleeves. Lalengmawia Ralte said in the video, “First of all, I would like to face Al-Nassr since Ronaldo is there, so Al-Nassr. A couple of other players in the video can also be seen saying Al-Nassr because of Ronaldo’s presence.
Watch the video here:
But after the draws were revealed, it became clear that Mumbai City wouldn’t be able to face Ronaldo in India, in the AFC Champions League, as they were placed in separate groups. But Al-Hilal had found its way into the same group as Mumbai City FC.
After the draws were declared, Rahul Bheke, a Mumbai City FC player, stated in a virtual press conference, “Some players are massive Ronaldo fans, so they wanted to play Al Nassr. We wanted to face one of the three teams, but we are super excited to get Al Hilal.” The 32-year-old mentioned that some of his colleagues wanted to face Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr, as they are 'massive' fans of the Portugal star.
Mumbai City will lock horns against Al-Hilal on October 23 in Riyadh, and on November 6, at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. The match in India is expected to be a blockbuster, as it will be the first time Neymar will be coming to India. The news about the ticket sales is likely to be out soon.