Real Madrid are one of the most decorated sides in the history of the game and their success in European competitions is unprecedented.
Los Blancos secured their 13th European title in May 2018 when they defeated Liverpool in Kiev and they will be back to defend their crown this season. They arrive into this year’s competition under new management and without their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, but will it be enough to stop them becoming kings of Europe once more?
The UEFA Champions League is the creme de la creme of European football and always provides plenty of memorable moments. The 2018-19 field looks incredibly competitive and it could a hugely entertaining season in Europe’s premier club competition.
Manchester City have been chalked up as the early favourites by William Hill and can be backed at 5/1 for success this season, with Pep’s side possessing tremendous strength in depth and they began the season with back-to-back victories in the Premier League.
After topping the league by a 19-point margin, the club will be targeting success in the Champions League although the early-season injury to Kevin de Bruyne is far from ideal. Despite last season’s triumph, Real Madrid’s defence is far from secure and if Manchester City bump into the La Liga outfit during the latter stages of the competition, it could be curtains for Lopetegui’s men.
Liverpool were responsible for eliminating their Premier League rivals last season and they have signed well this summer with the additions of Naby Keita and Fabinho and they’ll be targeting another Champions League final appearance this season. Jurgen Klopp’s side have a tendency to freeze on the big occasion and despite their firepower, it may be best to look elsewhere.
Cristiano Ronaldo swapped La Liga for Serie A this season and his new club were immediately installed as second-favourites for Champions League success.
Juventus have come incredibly close over the past couple of years and the addition of the Madeira-born superstar may just make the difference. He is the perfect man for the big occasion and despite the loss of Gonzalo Higuain, they will be tough to beat in this year’s competition.
La Liga champions Barcelona will come back stronger following their Champions League-disappointment last season but there is a general consensus that they may fall short once again due to their over-reliance on one or two players.
PSG have Neymar and Kylian Mbappe with the latter hoping to replicate his performances from the 2018 World Cup but they always tend to bow out once they start playing the so-called bigger boys and their price of 7/1 looks too short.
Atletico beat Real Madrid in the Super Cup at the beginning of August and have a terrific pedigree in cup competitions; they could be lively outsiders but a small squad may count against them in the long run.
The market appears to have got it correct and Manchester City and Juventus are the likeliest candidates to topple Real Madrid in the Champions League this season but even without Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s incredibly dangerous to write off Julen Lopetegui’s side in this competition and expect them to be involved at the business end once again.
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