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Blues handed seeding boost
21 Jun 2007 - 11:29:11
Chelsea have been named among the top seeds for the Champions League alongside Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool for the first time.
The Blues have finally earned enough coefficient points to be ranked alongside England's three other representatives in Europe's flagship club competition.
The points system is based on the last five years of competition - with Chelsea only qualifying for the Champions League from the 2003/04 season onwards.
Last year's beaten finalists Liverpool are the highest ranked English club, followed by 2006 finalists Arsenal, then United and Chelsea, who are level on points.
Elsewhere, reigning champions AC Milan are the highest ranked team and are joined in the eight-strong elite group Barcelona, Internazionale and Real Madrid.
None of the top seeded eight teams will play each other in the initial group stages.
The news will come as a welcome boost to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho who has seen his side drawn in tough qualifying groups in recent years.
"For three years we had the European Champions in our group," he recently admitted.
"The first season we had Porto, the second Liverpool and the third Barcelona."
The draw for the Champions League qualifying rounds will take place on June 29. Next year's final will be held at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow on May 21.