Chelsea’s draw for the 2017-18 Champions League group stages could have been a lot kinder.
In order to qualify for the knockout rounds, they’ll need to finish either first or second in a group containing Atletico Madrid, AS Roma and Qarabag.
While Antonio Conte will fancy his side’s chances of taking six points from Qarabag, the Italian tactician will be acutely aware that his players will need to be at their best to beat the other two teams - especially away from home.
Roma finished second in Serie A last season, four points behind champions Juventus, and always give Europe’s top clubs a tough game in the Champions League.
Atletico, meanwhile, reached the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016 and possess one of the best squads in Europe along with one of the best coaches in the form of Diego Simeone.
Thibaut Courtois will be relishing the prospect of playing against the club where he spent three successful years on loan, while Diego Costa may already be an Atleti player by the time their first match against Chelsea takes place next month.
However, the Brazilian won’t be able to play for the Spanish club until January 2018 due to their transfer ban.
The upcoming games also offer a chance for two players in the Atletico squad to reunite with their former employers: Filipe Luis and, of course, Fernando Torres.
Torres' posts message to Chelsea after CL draw
After the draw was made, Torres posted a classy message to Chelsea on Instagram and Twitter.
“Back at #stamfordbridge for the @uefachampionsleague,” Torres wrote, alongside photos of himself celebrating goals for Atletico and Chelsea. “So happy to see the blues back at the competition . See you soon @chelseafc 👍🏻😉“.
Torres may have flopped during his spell with Chelsea, scoring 20 goals in 110 Premier League appearances after his £50 million transfer from Liverpool in January 2011, but he can expect to receive a warm reception from the Blues’ faithful when he returns to Stamford Bridge on December 5.
Chelsea respond to Torres' tweet
Chelsea then reacted to Torres’ classy tweet…
“Thanks Nando,” they wrote, “see you soon! 👍“
Lovely to see.