It is often said that the best club football can be experienced in Europe. The continent has major leagues like Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, and Italian Serie A which provide entertainment on a much greater scale. The quality of football seen in these leagues is also exemplary, allowing plenty of talented players to rise.
Back in the 1950s, though, an astonishing competition was created by pitting the top teams from these divisions in one competition – European Cup. Over the years, it has progressed into one of the greatest club competitions in the world. Rebranded as the UEFA Champions League in 1992, the competition has grown in popularity in this decade creating more and more bookie offers.
The European Cup was envisaged by French tabloid L'Equipe during the late 1940s after witnessing a huge amount of popularity for the Campeonato Sudamericano de Campeones in South American football. After deciding to create the equivalent of the same in European football, the European Cup was conceived in 1955.
Only 16 teams took part in the initial competition, but it witnessed some of the greatest players to grace the game like Alfredo Di Stefano. The success of the initial few runs of the competition has never subsided. Incredibly, no team in the history of the Champions League has been able to retain the competition for almost 3 decades.
Passionate football fans can definitely see the trend of Real Madrid winning multiple times over the years, but who will be the winner in 2017?
2017 Champions League Predictions
Juventus have managed to reach the final of the competition after a 4-1 aggregate victory over Monaco. The Italian club will be hoping to make it a second-time lucky break after having come extremely close in 2015 final. Incidentally, the team suffered a loss against a Spanish opponent back then, as they lost to Barcelona. This time around, some key changes to the team like the inclusion of Gonzalo Higuain and Dani Alves could make all the difference. Massimiliano Allegri remains an extremely talented coach when it comes to tactical nous. His team only suffered a narrow defeat against Barcelona, although the late goal from Luis Suarez provided a different look to the score back in 2015. Juventus are badly in need of a Champions League or major European medal. It is the one thing that is missing from the trophy cabinet in the last decade or so. A major European medal for the complete the renaissance of the club. After being down to the bottom of the Italian football following the match-fixing scandals, Juventus have made a storming comeback to the top of the tree. Yet, the club will continue to be judged on the European models, despite having won several league titles in succession.
According to latest predictions, Real Madrid will be looking to create history by becoming the first team in Champions League history to retain the title. It would be a momentous occasion for the club. In many ways, it could also be a fitting a record considering that Madrid have been the most successful team in the competition’s history with 11 titles to their name. Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid in one of the most spectacular matches in history.
The squad is not exactly the greatest, as Madrid are clearly carrying the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and several other key players. Cristiano Ronaldo’s form has been a major factor behind the club’s decisive run over the last few stages. The Portuguese will once again be key.
One of the few stumbling blocks can come in the form of LaLiga distractions. Since Madrid are involved in the title race along with Barcelona, it becomes extremely difficult for manager Zinedine Zidane to rest key players. It could potentially cause burnout in the final game of the season, although Madrid have usually stepped up to the plate in the last couple of years.
Key Players for the 2017 UEFA Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo – The Portuguese is aiming to win his fourth Champions League title, a record that will tie him with Lionel Messi. This will undoubtedly be a major motivating factor for the superstar, who has already scored 10 goals in this season’s competition.
Gonzalo Higuain – The Argentine striker may have scored only half of the goals by Ronaldo, but he is as important to Juventus as the Portuguese superstar.
Dani Alves – A multiple Champions League winner with Barcelona, the Brazilian right-back will have to keep a close eye on Ronaldo while also contributing in the attacking sense.
Make sure to place your bets on Juventus vs Real Madrid match.