Football

Could Real Madrid be the first Champions League retainers?

Champions League Logo. Photo ‘Ver en vivo En Directo’ via Flickr.

Yesterday, Real Madrid splashed the cash on the World Cup star, James Rodriguez, and so I thought about the chances of them being the first team to win consecutive Champions League titles.

Rodriguez was the best player in Brazil so I don’t know how Messi won the Golden Ball. Rodriguez scored some fantastic goals, of course, that one against Uruguay but I loved his chip against Japan in the group stages. He managed to score the most goals compared to anyone else even though Colombia only got to the quarter finals so that says it all.

It was almost a guarantee that he would go to a massive club because to me, playing in Ligue 1 is a little bit pointless because the standard of the teams is so low. Edison Cavani thinks the same and that’s why he wants to come to the Premier League after just one season at PSG. Madrid came calling and now he’s their new no.10.

This now means that the club has a quite terrifying front four of: Bale, Rodriguez, Ronaldo and Benzema and of course, if they’re somehow not creating the chances, there’s Toni Kroos and Luka Modric behind them.

(On a side note: I personally think that at least two players out of: Isco, Di Maria and Khedira will leave because of Kroos and Rodriguez.)

James Rodriguez. Photo 'Calcio Streaming' via Flickr.
James Rodriguez. Photo ‘Calcio Streaming’ via Flickr.

What makes the attack so good is the versatility, creativity, movement, pace, power, intelligence and skill. Any one of the four is good enough to win a game by himself.

Even if they lose those players, I still think they’re a stronger team than last season. I would consider them favourites to win the Champions League for the next season. You look at their competitors: 1) Bayern Munich- Lost to Madrid 5-0 over the two legs last season and you have to wonder, especially after Spain’s World Cup, whether tiki-taka is at its end. 2) Barcelona- For sure, Suarez, Neymar and Messi is an unbelievable strike force but I just think Barcelona are an ageing side and they’ve lost Fabregas, Puyol, Valdes and Sanchez. 3) Chelsea- It’s difficult to know with Chelsea because they’ve brought in some big names and you would expect them to improve on last season but we’ll have to see.

Retaining the Champions League is an incredibly difficult task- hence, no one has done it. After the 2012/13 season, we thought Bayern were the favourites to retain the title and Madrid destroyed them. Barcelona won the 2010/11 Champions League and many people thought they were the best team in the history of football and they lost to Chelsea in the next season’s semi-final.

Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Photo 'Camilo Reuda Lopez' via Flickr
Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Photo ‘Camilo Reuda Lopez’ via Flickr

So keeping that in mind, I would say that Real Madrid are the favourites to retain the Champions League because of the formidable midfield and attack. However, I don’t think they will do it. They can but I don’t think they will. This is the tournament of the best teams in Europe, anyone can beat anyone, especially when you get to the knockout stages. Football is defined by fine margins and I think winning it again will prove too hard. I see them getting to semi-final or even final but not winning it.

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