We are coming off the back of a brilliant summer of football. The World Cup in Russia was one of the best we have seen for an awfully long time, with a month of thrills and spills ending with France coming away with their second world title thanks to a 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final.
But with the World Cup over, all eyes turn to club football, where we look set for another enthralling nine months. In the majority of European leagues, there wasn’t much of a title race last season, and a number of teams ran away with the crown. But things look like they could be different this season.
In England, Manchester City put together a record run as they romped to the title, in the progress becoming the first team to accumulate 100 points in the Premier League. This summer, Liverpool have strengthened, and Arsenal and Chelsea have both changed managers in an attempt to close the gap.
Barcelona came within two games of becoming the first team to go through a whole La Liga season unbeaten, before a defeat to Levante. Real Madrid have turned to Julen Lopetegui to take over this year, after Zinedine Zidane’s shock resignation.
The closest title race probably came in Italy, where Napoli pushed Juventus all the way, but it was the Old Lady who claimed their seventh consecutive league title. It was a different story in France, as big-spending PSG eased to the title ahead of Monaco.
There were some standout individual performances in European football, particularly from the likes of Mo Salah and Kylian Mbappe, who made a name for themselves last season. Here are five men who could do the same again this year.
#1 Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich)
Goretzka has begun to come to the fore in recent years, and now he has made the move to Bayern Munich, he can really begin to establish himself in European football. He first made an impact in the Bundesliga with Schalke, with whom he spent an impressive five seasons. He made 116 league appearances for Schalke, during which he scored 14 goals. He was also a part of Germany’s disastrous World Cup campaign, a year after playing a key role in helping them win the Confederations Cup.
He has joined Bayern Munich on a free transfer this summer, a move which could help take his career to the next level. He is one of the brightest talents that Germany have produced in recent years, and his passing ability as well as his capability of getting forward to score goals, have seen him compared with Lothar Matthaus and Michael Ballack. At Bayern, Goretzka will have the chance to play regularly in the Champions League, and with better players, and that can surely only improve him.