The beginning of the season for European soccer clubs is just around the corner! With the Premier League and France’s Ligue 1 getting underway this weekend, with La Liga, Bundesliga, and Serie A to follow next weekend, fans will soon get their first glimpse at their favorite clubs on the pitch.
It won’t be long until the European competitions get underway, either. Champions League and Europa League action kicks off next month, with the continent’s top clubs looking to claim the crowns as Europe’s best sides.
After Liverpool took home the 2018-19 edition of the Champions League, there are plenty of contenders for the crown this season. Here’s a look at the top five favorites to hoist this year’s trophy.
5. Paris Saint-Germain
The French side, as always, is stocked with talent. Even if Neymar does leave (which looks unlikely at this point), PSG has a stable of stars including soccer’s brightest young star in Kylian Mbappe. They have an edge on their other CL competition, as they are forced to pay much less attention to their domestic league than other competitors from more competitive leagues. Will this be the year that the talent finally meshes and PSG makes it deep in the Champions League?
The Reds will probably take exception to come in fourth on the list after winning last year’s trophy, but it’s not easy to repeat. Jürgen Klopp still has his top stars from last season, including Mo Salah and Sadio Mané, but they’re a year older and will have plenty of teams looking to take them down. Could they win back to back crowns? It certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but it won’t be easy.
Juventus bowed out early in last year’s Champions League despite the addition of five-time CL winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star was reportedly furious at the team’s shock exit at the hands of Ajax, so you can bet that he’ll be trying harder than ever to win the trophy this season. The amount of talent on their squad got even better with the summer addition of center back Matthijs de Ligt, and they’ll be considered one of the favorites this year.
Few could believe it when Barcelona blew a 3-0 first-leg advantage to bow out of the Champions League last season at the hands of the eventual champions in Liverpool. A team with talents such as Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, and Gerard Pique had to have been better than that, right? Well, even if they weren’t, they’re certainly one of the top favorites to take home this year’s crown after retaining their core and adding Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong. This is a team to reckon with, but can it get over the hump?
1. Manchester City
Pep Guardiola has won everything at Manchester City, including the past two Premier League crowns, except for the Champions League. 2019-20 looks to be the year that this could change. The dizzying talent contained in its roster combined with one of the best coaches in world soccer makes Man City the top favorite to take home the upcoming edition of the Champions League. Now it’s time for them to go out on the pitch and prove that they deserve to be considered the top dog.