Top five contenders for the UEFA Champions League 2018-19
The Champions League season has come to life with the Round of 16 fixtures under way, with Real Madrid once again starting as the defending champions. However, this time they may not be all that successful in becoming champions again, with a number of other clubs strengthening their squads. Let us take a glance at the top five contenders of the Champions League this season.
5. Real Madrid
Real Madrid have four Champions League titles in the last five years, and although they have lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, they still have the rest of their team who managed to win so many trophies in a row. It would be futile to think that Madrid are not the same team without Ronaldo, and they have enough firepower in them for another shot at the trophy. Vinicius Jr. and others, under the tutelage of Santiago Solari, could come up good and take the UCL trophy for yet again.
4. Manchester City
Spaniard Pep Guardiola's men won the Premier League title convincingly last season and might have gone all the way to the final of the Champions League as well, but for a Liverpool team that have been a thorn in their side all year. Guardiola will be hoping things turn out differently this time, and that his Cityzen outfit will play to potential and claim the title.
Last season's Champions League finalists have significantly upgraded their squad for this season, bringing in the likes of Alisson Becker, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho. All their signings have addressed weaknesses in their squad and the Merseyside team has the capability to give full justice to their talent and be crowned the Champions League winners.
2. FC Barcelona
Barcelona were knocked out from the Champions League in the most surprising fashion, despite having taken a three goal lead from the first leg against AS Roma. They conceded three goals in the second leg very inexplicably, and they will want to rectify the mistake this season, and bring an end to Madrid's dominance of the European Cup. They are definite frontrunners for the tournament, owing to their abundance of match-winning players.
Juventus has tried and failed to win the Champions League, falling at the final hurdle twice over the last few seasons. But with the shock signature of Cristiano Ronaldo, suddenly Juventus are one of the best teams in Europe. They have also brought back Leonardo Bonucci after just one season at AC Milan and will be hoping they have enough quality to finally win the title. With the squad depth that the Old Lady possesses, the Turin side are undoubtedly the favourites to take home the UCL this time around, according to many.