Nightmare draw for Leeds as Istanbul beckons again

Eight-time defending champion Real Madrid got a relatively kind draw in the Champions League - but for Leeds United it could hardly have been worse.

Eight-time defending champion Real Madrid got a relatively kind draw in the Champions League - but for Leeds United it could hardly have been worse.

As if two of Europe's powerhouse teams - AC Milan and Barcelona - were not enough, the club must also travel to Besiktas Istanbul, and the city where two fans were stabbed to death on their last visit.

Two Leeds supporters were killed in clashes in the city before the UEFA Cup semifinal last season between the Yorkshire club and another Istanbul team, Galatasaray.

Friday's draw in a convention center in Monaco determined the eight Champions League groups of four teams each.

Galatasaray, which won the UEFA Cup and has qualified for the Champions League this season, got a group with another British side, Glasgow Rangers. That group D also includes French champion Monaco and Sturm Graz of Austria.

Manchester United, the seeded team in Group G, must travel to Dynamo Kiev, and also faces Eindhoven and Anderlecht.

Real Madrid, top-seeded in Group A, faces Bayer Leverkusen of Germany, Sporting Portugal and Spartak Moscow.

In Group B, Lazio Rome, the Italian champion, and Arsenal will be favorite to advance against Sparta Prague and Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.

Valencia, last season's runner-up to Real Madrid, should also advance from a Group C that includes Heerenveen of the Netherlands, Olympique Lyonnais and Olympiakos Piraeus.

Group E brings together two finalists from 1983, Hamburger SV and Juventus Turin. Hamburg won the title in 1983 but has not played in Europe's top club competition since then.

The other two teams in the group are Deportivo La Coruna, the Spanish champion, and Panathinaikos Athens of Greece.

Bayern Munich, runner-up two seasons ago, got old rival Rosenborg of Norway and will also face another Scandinavian team in Helsingborgs, which knocked out Internazionale in qualifications. Paris Saint-Germain completes Group F.

The draw was one of the highlights of a busy UEFA weekend, which began with a gala ceremony to honor the outstanding personalities of the past season.

Zinedine Zidane, the French superstar, was voted top player of Euro 2000 for guiding his team to the title.

Bayern Munich's Oliver Kahn was voted the top goalkeeper of last season's Champions League, Jaap Stam, the Dutch pillar of Manchester United, was voted the top defender, while Valencia's Gaizka Mendieta was the top midfielder.

Real's Raul Gonzales got the best forward honors, and his former teammate Fernando Redondo was named the Champions League most valuable player. Redondo has left Real for AC Milan.

The European Champions League draw:

Group A Real Madrid (holders) Spartak Moscow Bayer Leverkusen Sporting Lisbon

Group B Lazio Arsenal Sparta Prague Shakhtar Donetsk

Group C Valencia Lyon Olympiakos Heerenveen

Group D Monaco Galatasaray Rangers Sturm Graz

Group E Juventus Deportivo La Coruna Panathinaikos Hamburg

Group F Bayern Munich Paris St Germain Rosenborg Helsingborgs

Group G Manchester United PSV Eindhoven Dynamo Kiev Anderlecht

Group H Barcelona AC Milan Leeds Besiktas