Football

Published on February 8th, 2018 | by Vieri Capretta

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Five contenders to take Real Madrid’s Champions League throne

🕓 Reading time:2 minutes

The business end of the Champions League is upon us and there are five sides with the aim of ending Real Madrid’s remarkable run 

Paris Saint-Germain

Edinson Cavani. Kylian Mbappé. Neymar. Without forgetting Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti and the rest.

The best attacking trio in the world, at least in terms of goals scored in Europe, as well as a solid and increasingly more experienced team. Yes, it could really be the year of PSG, after crashing out of last year’s edition in the most unbelievable way, with that 6-1 loss to Barcelona. The opponent in this round of 16 is also Spanish, but the current form of Real Madrid suggests Unai Emery’s men can get past the champions and from then on, anything will become possible.

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Barcelona

Not as aesthetically pleasing as in the past, but extremely efficient. Oh, and they have the best player in the world, too. Barcelona have tons of experience, undeniable class and the mindset to go all the way. The midfield is incredible, with the added goalscoring power of Paulinho, the attack is insane, with Luis Suarez next to Lionel Messi.

The La Liga title is already in the bag, and this will give the Catalan side the chance to focus on the Champions League, last won in 2015. Since 2006, the Blaugrana have won four editions, so the maths would suggest they are ready to land another one.

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Manchester City

The most prolific attack in Europe, the most beautiful football played, a record-breaking team in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola is doing a phenomenal job, as often, with the Citizens, a team that lacks experience in top European competition, but who wants to give their everything after having wrapped up the domestic league already. Kevin De Bruyne is at the top of his game, Sergio Aguero is a deadly striker, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane guarantee unparalleled pace. Guardiola has everything to win it again.

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Manchester United

The Premier League title is basically impossible, and United should be able to get a top four finish. So the next thing to focus on is the Champions League, and Josè Mourinho is always a serious contender in this competition. Nemanja Matic has brought experience and strength to the midfield, Eric Bailly needs to be recovered at the back. David De Gea is a fantastic goalkeeper and Paul Pogba a brilliant midfielder. If Alexis Sanchez lights up the attack it will be tough for everybody against United.

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Bayern Munich

The Champions League is always home for Bayern, who have won five and don’t fear the competition at all. The Bundesliga is over (18-points advantage for the Bavarians) and Jupp Heynckes knows how to win the Champions League. Robert Lewandowski is a phenomenal number 9, and the team has overall quality and depth. The Bavarian mind will be clear from pressure and they will be there until the very end.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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