(Image via https://twitter.com/sportbible)
Before a ball was kicked this season, several sides were tipped to contend for the Champions League crown. Now, with the campaign firmly underway, the picture is even clearer as some of the biggest and best sides begin to showcase their immense all-round ability. For fans with an interest in the beautiful game, club football’s most prestigious prize promises to serve up another feast of action once again. But which sides are likely to be in the mix?
With the 2024 UEFA Champions League final taking place at Wembley Stadium on 1 June, some of European football’s most powerful clubs will be striving to be in London for the biggest occasion on the domestic calendar. While many fans are struggling to look past Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City this season, one look at the football betting picture suggests that it could be a lot tighter than many people think. It’s shaping up to be an even more competitive competition this season, particularly given the intriguing projects that are currently underway among some of football’s world-famous clubs.
While Lionel Messi is no longer taking part in the competition after sealing a move to David Beckham’s Inter Miami, there are enough world-class players capable of turning it on and firing their respective sides to glory in the months ahead. With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at some of the competition’s early contenders below. Make no mistake about, though, it’s a tough competition to predict this season.
Bellingham’s Real Madrid are looking dangerous
After being brushed aside by Manchester City last season, Real Madrid appear to have a fire in their bellies this campaign, with a number of shrewd signings adding to their chances of success. The most impressive addition of the lot is clearly England star Jude Bellingham, with the midfield area of the pitch being their strongest department and arguably the best in world football. Alongside the former Borussia Dortmund favorite, Los Blancos have the likes of Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni to call upon, while the experienced Luka Modric is still capable of running games from the middle of the park. Karim Benzema hasn’t been replaced, although Real Madrid possess enough of a goal threat to get past the group stages and potentially add a striker in January to take them up another level. Throw in Carlo Ancelotti, a manager who has won it all and knows how to steer a club to glory, and the Spanish giants are a team no side will want to come up against in the latter stages of the competition.
Manchester City will surely be in the mix
Manchester City will be hoping to replicate the European dominance displayed by Real Madrid over the years, but it certainly won’t be easy. Last season’s treble winners are clearly capable, though, particularly given the quality they possess within their ranks that Pep Guardiola, one of the game’s greatest ever managers, has the privilege of guiding. Erling Haaland is the star of the show, with his goalscoring exploits elevating the Citizens’ chances even further and striking fear into defenders around Europe. The departures of key players like Ilkay Gundogan could certainly hinder City’s prospects of retaining their crown, though, but Pep Guardiola’s formidable force will surely be in contention as they’re simply too strong not to be.
Bayern Munich are a real threat once again
(Image via https://twitter.com/WhoScored)
There is an exciting project unfolding at Bayern Munich, with former Tottenham striker Harry Kane leading the charge. A goal machine in his own right, England’s captain has transformed the fortunes of the German giants, making them one of the firm favourites for the Champions League this season. In Thomas Tuchel, Bayern have a manager who knows how to get the job done after leading Chelsea to the trophy in 2021, while the German giants also have a strong affinity with the competition after winning it six times in their history. With a group containing the likes of Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen, and a misfiring Manchester United, a side that contains the likes of Harry Kane, Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Alphonso Davies, and Leroy Sané is surely destined for the knockout stages of the competition. From there, anything is possible for such an immensely talented squad.
Barcelona are back
In previous times, Barcelona would be tipped for the competition every year, but a decline in recent times due to off-pitch issues has resulted in a necessary rebuilt under Xavi. This season, though, the project at the club appears to have reached new heights as the Spanish behemoths look capable of competing among European football’s elite once again. After winning La Liga last season, Xavi’s troops will be hoping to go one step further by lifting a trophy they know so well. With the likes of Pedri and Robert Lewandowski in their ranks, the Catalan club are capable of beating any side on their day.