UEFA Champions League 2019/20: Top 5 favourites for the competition
In a week’s time, Europe’s premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League will be back in town and for football fans, the resumption of the tournament couldn’t have come earlier.
After a titanic 2018-19 edition which saw improbable comebacks and upsets galore, the planet is looking forward to another rendition of similar proportions.
Last season, Liverpool flummoxed Tottenham Hotspur in the final at the Wanda Metropolitano to clinch their 6th European crown. En route to their triumph, the Reds conjured one of the most remarkable counter punches ever, when they overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit against Barcelona.
As for the North London outfit, they scripted a stupendous turnaround in the semi-final themselves as they broke countless Ajax hearts in the semi-final.
Thus, the 2019-20 term promises plenty of drama, goals, intricate sub-plots and superlative individual performances.
At this juncture, the start of the Champions League is only a stone’s throw away and the time is ripe to immerse oneself in a conversation regarding the more fancied sides in the competition.
Hence, through the course of this article, we would take a look at five teams across Europe that seem to have an edge over their peers, at least on paper.
Honourable Mentions: Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid
#5 Atletico Madrid
The Los Rojiblancos underwent a massive overhaul in the summer. The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Juanfran, Lucas Hernandez and Rodri departed for newer pastures, thereby creating a massive cavity in their squad.
However, Atletico Madrid moved swiftly in the transfer market and added a string of players, each capable of influencing games and fitting into Diego Simeone’s system like a glove.
Among those who came in through the Wanda Metropolitano door, Joao Felix was arguably the stand-out arrival. By virtue of acquiring the teenager, Atletico had laid down a couple of early markers.
Firstly, they signalled that they intended to remain in the higher echelons of European football, despite the exodus in the off-season.
But, secondly and more importantly, the signing of Felix represented that Atletico still had the clout, both in terms of ambitions and finances, to attract the Portuguese, who was the most sought-after attacker in the transfer market.
Additionally, the Los Rojiblancos brought on board Hector Herrera, Kieran Trippier, Miguel Hermoso, Marcos Llorente and Renan Lodi. And, while the aforementioned players might not get the average spectator off one’s seat, they certainly have been bought with Simeone’s vision of enterprising football in mind.
Alvaro Morata and Diego Costa too, have rediscovered their mojo with the latter in particular, enjoying a telepathic understanding with Felix.
Thus, Atletico look an extremely balanced outfit and one with the potential to ruffle many a feather. To strengthen their credentials, they’ve started the La Liga season in fine fashion, registering three wins out of three and establishing their supremacy at the perch of the table.
Moreover, the Spanish side could still be hurting after their inability to make the final at the Wanda Metropolitano last season.
And, that, one feels could be a tool Simeone deploys to turn the sparks Atletico have shown so far into a raging fire come the business end of the Champions League.