Maccabi Haifa's Omer Atzili makes one request to Lionel Messi, Neymar; will PSG stars oblige?
Paris Saint-Germain drew into Group H for Champions League 2022-23, where they will face off against Juventus, Benfica, and Maccabi Haifa. Following the draw, the Israeli team's midfielder Omer Atzili has made a unique request to PSG stars Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Israel football club Maccabi Haifa has been placed in Champions League 2022-23 Group H, where it will face off against Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, Italian giants Juventus and Portugal club Benfica.
The Parisian club, which faced a shock exit at the hands of eventual champions Real Madrid last season, has some of the top players in the world of football. Legendary striker Lionel Messi, Brazilian icon Neymar and French sensation Kylian Mbappe are heralded as the best attacking forwards worldwide. The team lost in the Champions League final two years ago, but their formidable squad PSG is being pegged as one of the favourites this year.
Following the much-anticipated draw on Thursday night in Istanbul, Maccabi Haifa's forward Omer Atzili posted a request to PSG's star players Lionel Messi and Neymar. After facing immense criticism last season, the former Barcelona players appear to have found their mojo and are looking threatening this season.
Atzili took to Instagram to post a story where he requested Messi and Neymar's t-shirts, in a gesture that suggests that the Israeli football star is a fan of the Argentine and Brazilian. Although the request appears to have been taken down from Atzili's official account, a screenshot of the request has gone viral on Twitter.
Take a look:
The teams Maccabi Haifa plays against in its remaining games won't have it any easier: Juventus and Benfica are two-time champions and always find their place at the top of the tables in their respective home leagues.
A 90th-minute own goal by Belgrade Red Star on Tuesday gave Maccabi Haifa a 5-4 aggregate victory and guaranteed its place in the Champions League 2022-23 season. The upcoming campaign will be the third time the Israeli team has featured in European football's most elite competition.
In their last appearance, in 2009-2010, Maccabi Haifa failed to score a single goal in all six matches and will hope to eliminate the ghosts of the past when they take on PSG, Juventus and Benfica this year.
Each stage's top two teams proceed to the knockout rounds of Champions League 2022-23. Israel has never had a team go past the group stage.
Owing to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which begins on November 20, this season's Champions League group stage begins earlier than usual on September 6. It ends five weeks earlier than usual on November 2.
The Champions League final will be held in Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium on June 10 due to scheduling conflicts brought on by the first World Cup held during the European winter.
The UEFA prize money for the 32 teams will total nearly 2 billion euros.