Source: Cristiano Ronaldo via Twitter
Real Madrid have won the Champion League for the past three seasons, and the Spanish and European giants will be determined to make it four in a row. Despite the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer transfer window, Madrid have a strong and star-studded team that includes Karim Benzema, Isco, Gareth Bale and Thibaut Courtois.
Madrid, though, are not going to find it easy. Manchester City, Barcelona, Liverpool and Bayern Munich all will provide stiff competition for Los Blancos, but perhaps the stronger challenge will come from Juventus, who signed Cristiano Ronaldo from the La Liga outfit in the summer transfer window for €100 million.
According to William Hill Champions League betting odds, Juventus are 11/2 to win Europe’s premier club competition this season. With a team comprising of the great Ronaldo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala, the Italian giants will be confident of doing one better than the last time they faced Madrid in the final of the Champions League.
Source: Real Madrid via Twitter
Back in June 2017, Juventus lost to Madrid in the final of the competition. In fact, the Italian powerhouse were hammered 4-1 by Los Blancos. Ronaldo was the star of the show, as the Portugal international forward scored twice. Then managed by Zinedine Zidane, Madrid were favourites heading into the game, but given the obvious defensive strength of Juventus, not many expected Los Blancos to win the game as easily as they did.
Juventus did start the final strongly, but Massimiliano Allegri’s side failed t take the chances that they created. Gonzalo Higuain had two shots on goal that were saved by Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and perhaps that underlined just why the Argentina international striker is not the man who can lead Juve to a Champions League crown. Madrid recovered from having been pressed back early, and in the end, no one could argue that they deserved to win.
The Old Lady will have learned from those mistakes and will have got stronger from that bitter experience. Now with Ronaldo in their team, Juventus will be confident of winning the Champions League at long last. Madrid, though, cannot be written off. Despite the early season wobbles and the almost inevitable dismissal of Julen Lopetegui, the Spanish giants are a force to be reckoned with. Now under the charge of Santiago Solari, Madrid have recovered their form in La Liga and are set to book their place in the knockout round of the Champions League.
The loss of Ronaldo has been keenly felt in the opening weeks of the season, and Madrid may not completely fill the hole left by arguably their greatest footballer of all time. But given the quality of players that Madrid have in each and every department of the pitch, the Spanish powerhouse will be confident of winning the Champions League four times in a row. Much will depend on how the draw pans out, but given how magical the competition is, one should not be surprised if Madrid and Juventus face each other in the final, which will be held – of all places – at Atletico Madrid’s home ground, the Wanda Metropolitano.