At about 7.55 p.m. West African time tonight, the Tony Britten-composed Champions League anthem will play across at least eight stadiums in Europe. And in many homes in every continent of the world.
Europe’s elite club competition is back.
Today, Tuesday, current holders Liverpool, will begin their quest to retain the trophy they won in May, when they saw off Tottenham Hotspur in an all-English final in Madrid.
Which clubs are likely to be crowned Champions this season?
1. Liverpool: You cannot rule out Jurgen Klopp’s men again. They stormed through the competition last season to win it. The Reds have begun their domestic campaign on fire, winning all of their five Premier League fixtures so far and opening a five-point gap at the top. You can’t bet against them going at it again on the continent.
2. Barcelona: After Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Liverpool in the first leg of last year’s semi-final tie, you could have put your mortgage of the Catalans qualifying for the final. But it was never to be, as Klopp’s men backed by the Kop, pulled off a remarkable comeback at Anfield. Messi and co will be seeking to right the wrongs this year and go all the way.
3. Real Madrid: Zidane won the trophy every year he was head coach of Real Madrid, before he stepped aside in May 2018. The Frenchman who has added Eden Hazard to his squad, will be looking to make it happen again this term. And with his wealth of experience, he might just pull if off.
4. Juventus: The only reason Juventus splashed all that money on Cristiano Ronaldo, was so they could win the Champions League again. Last season, the Italian champions were stopped by Ajax, who stunned most of Europe’s big names. Since then, Maurizio Sarri, Aaron Ramsey and even Gianluigi Buffon have joined the Turin side, making them one of the favourites.
5. Manchester City: Who can forget the sight of Pep Guardiola jumping around the Etihad, only for VAR to rule out a last-minute Raheem Sterling goal? It was truly a painful and comical sight at the same time. But there will be no jokes this time around, as the Spaniard aims to make his mark in Europe, after winning everything he can in England.