The premier competition for football teams all around Europe, the Champions League has long been the holy grail of footballing achievement for some of the best teams in the world – facing off throughout Europe in knockout competition to crown the finest team and best team for 2014.
With so many great teams in the race, and the unpredictability of the knockout competition, predicting just who will win the Champions League has become somewhat of an impossible task in recent years – you only have to look previous winners such as Porto, Liverpool, and last year’s surprise finalists Borussia Dortmund to really highlight the unpredictability of the European Cup.
We have put together our top 5 most likely winners of this year’s Champions League, all teams with lots of history in the competition and more than enough pedigree to be crowned winners come May 2014.
Always there or thereabout, the Catalan team led by a certain Lionel Messi will be looking to end a drought, we say the word drought lightly, that has not seen them pick up the European Cup for a couple years now – fans must be mortified. With the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar, and talisman Messi leading the frontline, a semi-final spot is almost guaranteed for the boys from Barcelona. Can they make it to the final and win once again? You wouldn’t put it past them.
Current holders, the German giants have been touted as the best team in Europe for a while now – taking over from everyone’s favourites Barcelona and employing the type of football that makes mouths water, and goalkeepers quiver. Managed by Pep Guardiola, the German side will be tough to beat in the knockout stages of the Champions League. A team of stars, Frank Ribery is shortlisted as a potential winner of the World Player of The Year award and will be looking to add to his silverware collection come May.
Now that Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo are staring to click, the sky is surely the limit for the team from Madrid. With a new era of the Galaticos being ushered in by the current President, expectations are high, no less than bringing the Champions League trophy home to the 9 times winners in May will be tolerated by the fans. Will expectation place an unwanted burden on Carlo Ancelotti’s men?
Jose Mourinho loves the European Cup. Winner with Porto, winner with Inter Milan, the Portuguese coach is back at Chelsea to complete the mission he started – win the Champions League with his beloved Chelsea. With the evergreen Frank Lampard and John Terry showing no signs of slowing down as age catches up with them, the only weakness in Chelsea’s current side is the lack of firepower from goal-shy strikers Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o. However a big spend in January could well see Chelsea on their way to a third successive European trophy.
The big spending Parisian outfit boast arguably the best strikers in the world with the outspoken Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the goal machine Edinson Cavani leading the line with goals and a suave sophisticated play suited to the very best that Paris has seen. With more signings expected in January, the Paris outfit are growing stronger every season. After last season’s impressive performance reaching the latter stages of the competition, will this year see PSG win the Champions League?
Who are you backing to win the European Cup this year? Could we see a surprise package make their way to the final? Will the favourites prove to be too strong in the end?