With the season well and truly underway, the UEFA Champions
League will be in the minds of football fans all over Europe.
But who will do well this year? And which teams are the most likely to challenge for the biggest trophy in club football?
GMS Academy member Samuel Bradley looks at the top five contenders for Europe's top gong.
After securing third in the Premier League last season and winning the Europa League, Chelsea seem to have a new, hungrier look about them.
After making Jose Mourinho the manager for the second time, the self-proclaimed 'Special One' could be the man to get Chelsea another Champions League title after doing it with two clubs previously - Inter Milan and Porto.
Not only have Chelsea brought in Mourinho, they have made other signings like Andre Schurrle and kept hold of talented players like Juan Mata and David Luiz, meaning their squad is at full strength and fully capable of challenging for the Champions League this season.
4. Paris Saint-Germain
PSG have become European heavyweights in the few years after
their wealthy owners took over.
Last season, they had a good Champions League run, coming unstuck only to Barcelona, and a recovering Lionel Messi.
PSG have used their wealth well, as they have made some excellent signings in
the last few transfer windows, some of which like Thiago Silva and Zlatan
Ibrahimovic helped them to the French league title and into people’s thoughts.
After signing striker Edinson Cavani - who was brilliant for Napoli last season - PSG have strengthened their already strong attack, and will have possibly one of the most deadly strike-partnerships in Europe this season.
Because of the squad they have and the confidence they are getting, they must be one of the favourites for the Champions League final this season.
3. Real Madrid
Real Madrid haven’t had the most productive of transfer windows, losing Gonzalo Higuian and Jose Callejon to Napoli, but they have brought in Isco from Malaga and are hoping to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham.
Although the latter is yet to officially happen, Real Madrid are still a big threat in Europe this
season, and with Cristiano Ronaldo in their squad it is easy to see why.
Madrid are one of the best and most dangerous teams in Europe, and the quality
throughout their squad easily shows this, they are always a threat in the Champions League, even more so now that they have parted ways with Mourinho, who was no longer happy at the club, and brought in Carlo Ancelotti - an experienced Champions League manager.
Madrid are always a contender for the Champions League title, and this year is no different.
Neymar and Lionel Messi at the same club, what else needs to be said?
Every year Barcelona bring their passing and flair to the Champions League and light up the whole of Europe.
Barcelona have world class players in almost every position on the pitch, and the added skill of the Brazilian Neymar only increases their chances in Europe’s top competition.
Many will think last season’s 7-0 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the semi-finals spells the end for Barcelona’s time as kings of Europe, however I believe that will just make them more hungry for success and more determined to improve.
However as I said before, Barcelona now have Messi and Neymar as their attacking force, and with them two together, Barcelona could once again light up the Champions League final.
1. Bayern Munich
With all the amazing teams on this list, it is still hard to
look past the reigning champions, Bayern Munich.
The German giants have done nothing but improve since winning the German treble last season.
Firstly, they have appointed Pep Guardiola as head coach, the last man to taste Champions
League success with Barcelona a few seasons ago.
They have made some big signings like Mario Gotze who was very impressive for Borussia Dortmund last season, and have strengthened what is arguably the best squad in Europe last season.
After destroying Barcelona 7-0 across two legs in last season’s semi-finals, people
saw them as the juggernauts that they were, and it looks like it will be difficult for any team to take their Champions League title away from them.
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