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Who will win the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League?

Steve Shoup

With a total of 79 teams from the continent competing, the  Champions League is arguably the biggest club competition in Europe. Although there are numerous teams taking part in the competition, the favourites on the Champions League betting sites are the usual ‘big names’ that you’d expect. Every team has had the opportunity to show what they’ve got, but which one will end up on top?

Real Madrid

Although the current holders are experiencing a dismal season following the departure of manager Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, it would be unwise to dismiss the Spanish giants. The short reign of Julen Lopetegui at the start of the season was a complete disaster and led to the club having their worst start to a season in years. The appointment of Santiago Solari seems to have stopped the decline, but there are still a number of issues surrounding the club. Their dismal start to the season means that the club aren’t the favourites to win the Champions League despite winning the previous three tournaments. Despite this, the squad is still world class and has the ability to reach the final stage of the tournament and even win it if things go their way.

Barcelona

Similarly to Real Madrid, Barcelona haven’t been playing to their full potential. Although they are second in the La Liga league after 13 games, the Catalonia side have already dropped 12 points and recently suffered a shock 3-4 defeat at home to Real Betis just before the international break. In the entirety of last season they only dropped 21 points and were unbeaten at home.

Their Champions League campaign has been considerably better with the Spanish club already securing their place in the knockout stage with two games still to go. They might not be playing to their full potential at the moment, but any side with Lionel Messi can’t be written off, with the Argentinian magician capable of producing moments of magic at any time in the match.

Liverpool

A few years ago not many people would have considered Liverpool as the favourites to qualify for the Champions League let alone win it. However, the appointment of Jürgen Klopp in 2015 has turned the club’s fortunes around and he led the Merseyside club to the Champions League final last season. Although Liverpool fell to a 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid, it was proof as to how much Klopp has improved the squad since his arrival. The trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah is one of the deadliest strike forces in Europe and was a key part of their run to the final last season. Their record away from Anfield in Europe raises some question marks, but they certainly have the ability to make it to the later stages of the competition.

Manchester City

Last season was certainly one to remember for Manchester City fans. After a disappointing first season under Pep Guardiola, the club wasted no time in buying the players he needed to bring them the success they craved. As a result, large sums of money were spent on players like Kyle Walker and Ederson. Their faith in the Spaniard was repaid as the club had a record breaking campaign with a record points total, but fell short in the Champions League.

This season the Citizens will be hoping to go even further and secure their first ever Champions League trophy. Although they haven’t spent nearly as much as they did last year, the arrival of Riyad Mahrez adds another dimension to their already deadly attack. It seems almost impossible to stop their attack at the moment which will be beneficial to them in the later rounds.

Juventus

Our final featured team is Italian club Juventus. Since the turn of the decade, the Turin-based club have recovered from the Calciopoli scandal and turned themselves into Champions League contenders. In the past four seasons, the team have reached the final twice (losing both times) as well as reaching the semi-final and Round of 16 stage in the other two seasons.

They’ve come close but they’ve fallen short right at the end. However, that looks all set to change following the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. The £100 million fee is the biggest in Italian history, but the signing of the Portuguese superstar could be all they need to secure the biggest trophy in European football.

 

 



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