The Bianconeri have done remarkably well to establish themselves on the European stage once again after years of mediocrity. Having won 5 straight Serie A titles, the club are now firmly focussed on winning the Champions League. And they have come ever so close to winning it in the last few years. If not for the Spanish giants, Barca and Real, Gigi Buffon’s trophy cabinet would have been capped with a prestigious Champions League title. Nevertheless, the club are once again among the favourites to win the title. Leonardo Bonucci’s surprising departure may have broken the majestic BBC; however, the club have invested well bringing Federico Bernadeschi, Bentancur, Matuidi and Douglas Costa to Turin. A defeat on the first matchday to hands of brilliant Barcelona may have hampered their confidence; however, under Allegri, Juve are known for a slow start to their season before picking up the pace at the right time.
PSG responded to their horrific exit at the hands of Barcelona last season by virtually destroying Barcelona; snapping up Neymar putting breaks to the destructive trio of MSN in the process. The Brazilian was easily the best player on that legendary night in Barcelona and as fate would have it, now finds himself in a PSG shirt. Moreover, the club also brought in the talented Mbappe on an initial loan deal, taking the transfer market by storm. While the addition of supreme talents does guarantee a major threat to the other sides, a raft of stars is also prone to instability in the dressing room, which would certainly be Unai Emery’s most tedious task. Neymar and Cavani’s altercation could be a sign of things to come if Emery does not stamp his authority in the dressing room. However, if PSG do get it right, there is no doubt that they will be the favourites to lift the title.
3) Bayern Munich
While the likes of Juve, PSG have invested heavily in this transfer summer, Bayern resorted to a more conventional way, making early signings. The club brought in the talented pair of Rudy and Sule for free, which in today’s market is nothing less than a steal. The Bavarians did spend 41 million on CorentinTolisso; however, Tolisso is by no means a finished product and would certainly add to the squad depth rather than displacing Vidal from the starting lineup. James Rodriguez too was signed on a loan deal. While Muller’s struggles and Lewandowski’s recent comments may have clouded Bayern’s fine start, Ancelloti is a specialist in winning the Champions League title, and as such the Bavarians are one of the top favourites to lift the title at the end of the season.
While losing a player of Neymar’s calibre may dampen any team severely, the same cannot be said for Barcelona. To the contrary, the Catalans look re-energised this season under Ernesto Valverde. Everyone predicted a difficult season for Barca; however, after the opening month of the season, the club look set for another title charge this season. Lionel Messi seems to have been unaffected by Neymar’s departure, scoring a hattrick on the weekend against Eibar. Paulinho and Semedo too have slotted in well as things are looking on the up. The opening day thrashing of Juve sent warning signs across Europe that Barcelona have indeed left their woes behind them.
1) Real Madrid
Real Madrid fans must have predicted a much better start to the season, with the club winless at home for three games. A defeat to Real Betis in the midweek only further exacerbated an already precarious situation in Madrid. Nevertheless, despite their early-season troubles, there is little doubt about Madrid’s chances in the Champions League. After all, under Zidane, Los Blancos have looked steady and balanced, despite a lack of defined style of play. History has already proved that Zizou’s men are capable of winning games despite playing poorly. They possess some of the best talents on the planet in their ranks with the likes of Bale, Kroos entering their prime and Ronaldo stronger than ever. If last season is anything to go by, all it would take Real to reach a third successive Champions League final is a Cristiano Ronaldo.