Winning Nationality Champions League
Champions League 2019/2020: Winning Nationality
In recent years, if you wanted to bet on the nationality of the Champions League winners, you’d have been best advised to choose Spain. Real Madrid have been a dominant force beyond compare in the competition, winning the competition three times in a row – making them only the second team to achieve this feat and the first in the modern era – and four times in five years, taking their tally up 12 in total; this is five more than their closest competitor AC Milan who have seven triumphs to their name.
However, last season Real Madrid, in the absence of their previously talismanic figure, Cristiano Ronaldo, were unconvincing. They were dumped out of the Champions League by a mesmeric Ajax team that beat them 4-1 at the Bernabeu and thus Los Blancos’ European dominance came to a dramatic end. Perhaps it was mental fatigue that was the cause – having gotten so used to winning the competition they were possibly unable to summon up the required mental fortitude to go and do it again. Real Madrid since then have been desperately poor and look unlikely to win the competition this year. Ronaldo, the greatest marksman in the history of the Champions League with 126 goals, may have recognized this and moved to Juventus in the hope of carrying on his own personal European winning streak. Barcelona too, look generally in a bit of a mess too. Although they won La Liga at a stroll last season, they were the victims of a remarkable comeback for the second season running in the Champion’s League; it was Roma in 2017/18 and Liverpool in 2018/19. This suggests they don’t have the steel necessary to win Europe’s biggest competition at this moment in time. Atletico Madrid have recruited excellently this summer and, at the time of writing, are the only team in Spain’s top-flight with a 100% record, but their focus will be on challenging for the league title this season, not the Champions League. Spanish teams have been dominant in Europe over the last decade, but it looks less likely that it will be on of their team’s that will lift the trophy this time.
Juventus have made no secret of their desire to win the Champions League, it is the one thing missing from their trophy cabinet in recent years – the Old Lady has won Serie A eight years running but, despite competing in two finals (one in 2015, another in 2017) has been unable to recreate this success in Europe. But, with their remarkable squad which has been bolstered by the arrival of Ajax’s star man last season, Matthias De Ligt, as well as Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, expect Juve to be competing at the business end of the Champions League this season. Napoli are a team that will hope to challenge their Serie A rivals in Europe, too. Under Carlo Ancellotti, they have transformed into a less gung-ho team recently, and one which may well be looking to compete among the very best in Europe. Their lightning quick attack suits knock-out football very well and, with Serie having been a foregone conclusion in recent years, they might wish to focus more energy on the Champions League in 2019/2020. Overall, the Italians have a fantastic chance of being the nation which provides this year’s winner.
Last year, it was an all-English final. Consequently, therefore, you wouldn’t bet against it being an English team who wins the famous trophy once more this season. Liverpool will be focusing on the league, however. Tottenham and Chelsea meanwhile don’t look to be in a fit condition to compete with the big boys. It probably will fall to Manchester City this season therefore if an English team is to win the Champions League. Given that they are probably the best team in the world right now, they might well be considered the favorites. You’d have to say, therefore, that England’s chances are sky-high once more.
What about France? Well, PSG have shown time and time again that they are not cut out for the Champions League. Given the bad atmosphere surrounding the club in the wake of the Neymar transfer saga, they show no signs of this being the year they turn it around. Germany? They have two teams with a reasonable chance, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The two teams fought it out at the top of the Bundesliga last season in a very close title race. Bayern have an excellent pedigree in the competition while Lucian Favre’s Dortmund, like Napoli and Liverpool, have all the attributes of a brilliant ‘cup team’. Germany might be an outside bet for the competition this year.