What will be the major storylines in this year’s Champions League?
The Champions League is a European football (soccer) league in which the best players from their respective teams compete to crown the ultimate champion. This year, in particular, fans were met with lots of goals and upsets on just the first day of play, signaling an action-packed year to come.
With the Champions League commencing, football fans are already expecting great things from the game’s biggest stars, particularly Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Messi and Ronaldo are both sporting new kits this year, Messi with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Ronaldo with Manchester United. Both of these stars, however, have not yet reached their usual level of play in the Champions League just quite yet.
Having success in their domestic league, it was a great shock to football fans when Manchester United fell short to a far inferior Young Boys team. Despite Ronaldo delivering with his unparalleled scoring ability, the odds of it translating to another Champions League trophy are still up in the air.
Now traveling to Paris, it seems as though Lionel Messi left his shooting boots in Barcelona, as he has had a more than disappointing start to his PSG campaign. With Messi alongside PSG’s two other superstars in Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappe, they still could not capitalize on an easy win against Club Brugge. Apparently, age is starting to catch up with these two all-time greats, so it will be very interesting to see how much they have got left in the tank.
Speaking of champions, it seems like fans have been quick to count out the reigning Champions League winners, Chelsea. Already a strong team, Chelsea only strengthened their ranks by signing striker Romelu Lukaku during the off-season. To little surprise, he has already had an immediate impact on Chelsea, scoring five goals in only five matches played. Although winning back-to-back Champions Leagues is a hard feat, Chelsea seems poised for another run at the title.
Switching gears, Barcelona has been starting to stray away from its usual winning ways. With the departure of Messi this summer, it left a big hole to fill in the club. That hole only became a little deeper when they decided to loan off Frenchman Antoine Griezman. The team has a veteran presence, with Gerard Pique still residing in the backfield; they have not been able to gel coherently as a team. The club only continued their sad history against Bayern Munich, getting swept 3-0 in their first game in the Champions League. On top of all of this, they have even struggled in their domestic Spanish league, further highlighting the team’s struggles. This leaves the question, will Barca continue with their messy ways, or will they be able to bring back their expected high level of play?
All of these possibilities will surely make for some amazing football on one of the world’s brightest stages. Ultimately, fans have been left to wonder, who’s team will shine, and who will crumble under the pressure?