The Champions League tournament is all set to return this week starting with the knockout phase. There are few doubts about which team is the strongest contender for the title, and it’s no different from last time.
If Barcelona wins, this will be the first time, since the competition was re-branded in 1992, that a defending team will retain its crown. It seems that Barca has never been stronger.
In last year’s final, Barca beat rivals Juventus. Under the management of coach Luis Enrique, they are in top form at the moment. They haven’t lost a game in 30 matches, with only two defeats this season, the last one being in October, against Sevilla.
The top scorer in Champions League history, with 88 goals under his belt, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has had a lackluster season. Real has stayed at third position in the La Liga points table, trailing behind Barcelona by four points.
The core of Barca’s strength lies in the sheer skill of its South American trio. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are in brilliant form, having scored 86 goals between them. Their perfect teamwork and entertaining showmanship was on display at the Camp Nou match against Celta Vigo on Sunday, when Messi gave a penalty-on-a-plate to Suarez, who was on a hat-trick, relinquishing the opportunity to score his 300th goal (*watch the penalty above).
For Barca fans, there’s only one team that deserves to win the Champions League, because in every way, they’re all that a team should be.