Rangers in Champions League: What the opposition have said as Group A profiled

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The Light Blues will face Ajax (Netherlands), Liverpool (England) and Napoli (Italy) in the group stage.

Rangers will mark their long awaited return to the UEFA Champions League group stages in style after they were paired with Premier League giants Liverpool, alongside Ajax and Napoli.

Expectation levels among Light Blues supporters is high in a mouth-watering section, which includes a ‘Battle of Britain’ clash with last season’s beaten finalists, a reunion with former star Calvin Bassey and a trip to the spiritual home of Diego Maradona.

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Ibrox Stadium will host three of the biggest nights in the club’s European history in the coming months as they look to navigate a route to the last-16.

Given that all four teams appear closely matched on paper, it is difficult tp predict who will finish top of the section, but Rangers will certainly be underdogs, which will suit Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his team.

So what have the opposition said about Group A? GlasgowWorld takes a look...

AFC AJAX (Netherlands)

Manager - Alfred Schreuder

Stadium - Johan Cruyff Arena (55,865 capacity)

Star Man - Antony

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The reigning Eredivisie champions believe Liverpool will be slight favourites to progress out of the group but are expecting to go toe-to-toe with Rangers and Napoli.

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Ajax general manager and iconic Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar said: “When I look at the group, I say it’s a fantastic draw for the fans.

“Obviously, British football is known to me from my years in England. The match against Rangers is special to me because of my former teammate GIovanni van Bronckhorst. In fact, he has already texted me! He said ‘Hello!’ It will be nice to see Gio twice.

“Two years ago we played Liverpool in the group stage and it was during Covid so the fans were very disappointed that they couldn’t go to Anfield.

“As for Napoli, I played against them when I was at Juventus and you never get an easy game in the south of Italy. I remember there way always a fantastic atmosphere in Naples.

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“It won’t be any different now. I look forward to all these games. We’re playing Champions League so it’s supposed to be tough.”


Manager - Jurgen Klopp

Stadium - Anfield (53,294 capacity)

Star Man - Mohamed Salah

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Despite their worst start to a Premier League season since 2012/13, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is looking forward to taking part in a “proper football group.”

He said: “The first thing to say is this is a proper, proper challenge. All of the clubs have quality, they all have pedigree and I would say they all have a chance.

“The good thing is that we do also, so it makes sense for us to look forward to the challenge and give it a try. We did not ask for any favoures and we have not been given any but this is not a competition where you can look for easy ways through because the standard is always unbelievably high.

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“The difference this year is that the group stage will be shorter than usual, so we will have to be ready not just for the quality of the opposition but also for the different demands and rhythms.

“Rangers are a new opponent for us but we know them. Their story over the last few years has been really interesting and they did really, really well to qualify for the group stage, given the teams they were up against.

“We also know a couple of their players well. Ryan Kent has had a great development since moving to Scotland and Ben Davies is just starting out on his journey with Rangers, so it will be good to come up against them.

“I’m excited about it. It is a proper football group.”

S.S.C. NAPOLI (Italy)

Manager - Luciano Spalletti

Stadium - Stadio Diego Armando Maradona (54,726 capacity)

Star Man - Victor Osimhen

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The Serie A outfit finished third in Italy last season and head coach Luciano Spalletti insists their opponents are steeped in huge “history and tradition” in European football.

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He said: “We’ve been paired with three very tough teams, but let me also say that I don’t think any of them will be very happy to be up against Napoli.

“It is a very tough group, as they almost all are at this level, but it’s very complicated to guess what our chances are of qualifcation.

“The most important thing will be to ensure we are up to the task when playing in the most prestigious club competition on the planet. If we do that, then we will automatically increase our chances of progress.

“These all represent intriguing journeys for the Napoli fans and players to go on. We are in a group with three teams who represent the best in the history and tradition of European football.

“These are three legendary clubs who play in temples of European football. It’s a real deep dive into the history and tradition of European football.”

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