With the Champions League just a week away, we will analyse which team looks in best shape to win the tournament this season. Barcelona and Real Madrid still look to be the two teams to beat and are both favourites to win the competition.
Barcelona are the holders of the cup after winning the final a comfortable 3-1, against what was a resolute and strong Juventus side.
They were outstanding and simply unplayable at times last season, as their new deadly attacking trio fired them to winning not only the Champions League but La Liga and the Copa del Rey too.
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They have had a good start to La Liga this term and with two wins and no goals conceded, they’re on the right course to regaining the title this season, but there is still a long way to go.
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Real Madrid won the UEFA Super Cup and the Fifa Club World Cup last season but were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Champions League to Juventus.
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They didn’t perform to their usual high standards and record signing Gareth Bale struggled for form and fitness. The fans, of course, did not help the situation by whistling, booing and even throwing rocks at the player’s cars after a disappointing defeat.
This season under new boss, Rafa Benitez, so much more is expected and not just trophies, but entertaining, attacking football must be played!
Real Madrid have had a decent start to the season, drawing their first game 0-0 in a cagey affair and then winning an impressive 5-0 in their second.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have been fortunate to win this tournament on more than one occasion. Real hold the record for the most wins in this competition with ten, whilst Barca have won five times and are the current holders.
BARCELONA’S ATTACKING TRIO
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez were unbelievable last season and scored a magnificent 122 goals. Messi bagged himself 58 of them, Neymar 39 and Suarez 25.
Messi is regarded as the best player in the world by many and will yet again be Barcelona’s main man this season. He has been fielded out to the right-hand side of the attack, with Suarez down the centre and Neymar out to the left.
Suarez had a slow start initially after completing his £75 million move from Liverpool but it wasn’t long until he was firing on all cylinders again. He is a clinical finisher and a wonderful football player who can easily surpass the 25 goals he got last season.
Neymar had the best season of his career and is undoubtedly going to be one of the best in the world given his age and potential.
Suarez has a knack of improving the players around him, this was the case with Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge at Liverpool. He has now helped to develop Neymar and has taken him to the next level. With his admirable work rate and clever movement, it has given Neymar the freedom and space to flourish.
Real Madrid's front three managed 100 goals last season, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring 61 goals, Karim Benzema 22 and Gareth Bale 17.
Ronaldo has been Real Madrid’s main man and stand out player and will be looking to improve on his excellent goal scoring tally of last season. He managed to outscore Messi by two goals which is always a target for the Portuguese star.
He is always competing against Messi for the much-anticipated Ballon d’Or and will hope to win it again this year. He has won it twice on the bounce and three times in his career but Messi still outdoes him - having won it four times.
Benzema is the perfect fit for in the Real attack and works hard not only to score but to create for his teammates. He can sometimes be overlooked by many fans who relish the sublime displays of Bale and Ronaldo but you cannot underestimate what the Frenchmen offers the team. Without him Real Madrid would not be the same obstacle.
Bale wasn’t at his best last season and took a lot of the flack for Real Madrid’s poor displays. He was unfairly criticised at times and although not at his best, still provided goals and assists.
Manchester United offered him a ticket out of the Santiago Bernabeu but Bale rejected that chance and has vowed to become a success at Real Madrid.
Rafa Benitez looks to be getting the best out of the Welsh wizard, who has already scored twice and got an assist in Real Madrid’s 5-0 win against Real Betis. If Bale can continue this type of form he could exceed the 30 goal mark and will certainly eclipse the 17 of last season.
THE BEST ATTACK?
This is one of the biggest debates in world football at the moment – whose attack is better?
This is not an easy question at all and opinions are split. Barcelona’s attack were better last season for sure but this season it could be a completely different story; especially if Bale can get back to his best.
Whichever attack is better this season will no doubt dominate Europe and will surely win the Champions League too!
FOOTBALL FANS: Who will win the Champions League this season? Is it just a two-horseBar race or can Nicklas Bendtner fire Wolfsburg to glory?