Champions League: Celtic want to draw Real Madrid, says Leigh Griffiths

Real Madrid's Ronaldo
The Celtic players say they would like to face Real Madrid and Ronaldo in the group stage

Celtic want to be drawn against Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage, says striker Leigh Griffiths.

Brendan Rodgers' side reached the group stage following an 8-4 aggregate win over Astana.

Speaking before Thursday's draw, Griffiths said: "You wouldn't mind one of the big guns: Real Madrid, PSG, one of those.

"Every Celtic fan is sick of getting Barcelona, so we'll try to avoid them. But we're back in the big time."

Having beaten Astana 5-0 in Glasgow, Celtic lost Tuesday's return game 4-3 in Kazakhstan but progressed to the lucrative group stage.

Griffiths said Celtic would "relish the chance" to test themselves against the best sides in Europe.

They finished bottom of a group topped by Barcelona last season, having also met the Catalans on Champions League duty in 2013, 2012, 2008 and 2004.

Team-mate James Forrest said everyone at the club was "buzzing" at the prospect of six Champions League games this season.

"We're looking forward to the draw on Thursday," he said. "We've had Barcelona a couple of times in the last few years, it would be nice to get Real Madrid.

"With the away crowd that we get and the fans we take away from home... it's going to be six games to look forward to - the full squad and the staff will be buzzing."

Callum McGregor added: "Just anybody [in the draw]. you get some good games and we'll take whoever we get and hopefully get a good few games. Real Madrid would be nice - and a change from Barcelona."

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths wants to draw "one of the big guns"

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers wants the club to remain in European competition into the new year.

"It's a wonderful achievement to gain our qualification," said Rodgers. "It's a night to celebrate. What we would like to do is try to progress this year and be in European football after Christmas.

"We're coming into the highest club level - the Champions League - we're going to play against some fantastic players, the players are going to improve, get better, get better experiences.

"If we can be in European football after Christmas then that'll be another great step forward for us."

The Scottish champions will discover their group opponents on Thursday at 17:00 BST. They are expected to be in pot four, the bottom set of seeds.

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