Barcelona face Juventus as Champions League returns

Real Madrid is chasing an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League title, Paris St-Germain are breaking spending records and Barcelona appear fallible.

Add a record six British challengers into the mix and this season’s competition, which gets under way on Tuesday, has all the ingredients to be one of the most intriguing yet.

Barcelona are still “one of the two strongest teams in the world” despite losing Neymar, says Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

If Real Madrid have stepped back from taking the transfer market by the scruff of the neck, then PSG have taken their place in some style.

The signing of Neymar shook the football world, and it felt like a turning point for the French giants.

Juve – who lost last season’s Champions League final to Real Madrid – visit Barca in Tuesday’s Group D opener.

If Real Madrid have stepped back from taking the transfer market by the scruff of the neck, then PSG have taken their place in some style.

Brazil forward Neymar left for Paris St-Germain this summer after his 222m euros (£200m) release clause was met.

With France’s brightest talent Kylian Mbappe leaving Monaco for the Parc des Princes, Neymar will continue to be a part of Europe’s most vaunted front three. It’s just that this time it will be a completely new one, made up of the Brazilian, the teenage Mbappe and the profilic Edinson Cavani.

“Along with Real Madrid they are favourites to win the Champions League,” said Allegri.

“They’ve lost Neymar and replaced him with a youngster in Ousmane Dembele – but they remain, along with Real, one of the two strongest teams in the world.”

Juventus beat Barcelona 3-0 on aggregate in last season’s quarter-finals. The manager thinks a third clean sheet against them this season would be “extraordinary”.

Real Madrid is chasing an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League title, Paris St-Germain are breaking spending records and Barcelona appear fallible.

Add a record six British challengers into the mix and this season’s competition, which gets under way on Tuesday, has all the ingredients to be one of the most intriguing yet.

Maybe Liverpool, with Mohammed Salah adding even more pace and incision to their attack, have the versatility to surprise a few. Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund always thrived by counter-attacking against teams who play on the front foot, and his current side are built in a similar fashion.

RB Leipzig face a tough baptism in the competition, having been drawn in a very balanced group featuring French champions Monaco, ambitious Besiktas and an improved Porto.

Tottenham face a tough task with Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund on their way to Wembley, but Celtic have a fighting chance of a Europa League spot behind Bayern Munich and PSG, with rivals Anderlecht having started their title defence badly.

 

 

  

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