Another year, another Champions League for Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues since the restructuring of the competition back in 1992. Juventus are in the record books as well, but for the opposite reason. The Italian giants have lost a record seven Champions League finals.
But enough dwelling on the past. What does 2017-18 have in store?
As we soak in the summer transfer rumors, let’s take a moment to preview the favorites for the 2017-18 Champions League.
Odds to win the 2017-18 Champions League
Real Madrid: 5/1
Los Blancos will enter the 2017-18 season as the defending champions of both La Liga and the Champions League. With three Champions League trophies in just four years, the current Real Madrid squad is arguably the strongest team in modern football history.
With players like Kylian Mbappe, Alvaro Morata, and David De Gea rumored to be joining the club over the summer transfer window, it’s quite possible Real Madrid will be even more dominant next season.
Barcelona narrowly missed out on the La Liga title this season and suffered a crushing defeat against Juventus in the Champions League, but as always, Barca are among the favorites for the Champions League next season.
Hopefully their new head coach, Ernesto Valverde, can bring about some much-needed improvements for the Barca defense. If the team of Messi, Neymar, and Suarez can tighten up their defense, then there are very few clubs who stand a chance against them.
Bayern Munich: 11/2
As expected, Bayern put the Bundesliga out of contention early in the year, ending the season 15 points clear of second place. They came inches away from defeating Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but as we saw time and time again this season, Cristiano Ronaldo was just too much for Bayern, coming through for Madrid with two goals in extra time.
Chelsea winger Willian and Arsenal golden child Alexis Sanchez are rumored to be in talks with Bayern at the moment, so we could be seeing an even stronger side next season.
Juventus crushed Barcelona 3-0 in the quarter-finals this season and made easy work of Monaco in the semis. The final was a different story though. Juve have reached the finals of the Champions League twice in the last three years, but have fallen short both times.
They’re the perennial champions of Italy, but it’s been over two decades since they’ve lifted the most coveted cup of world football.
Manchester City: 16/1
Manchester City finished a distant third in the English Premier League and were eliminated in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. They don’t have an especially strong squad and they’re not linked to many world-class players for the transfer window. So why are they among the favorites for the 2017-18 Champions League?
The only reason I can think of: Pep Guardiola.
After a season of tinkering, maybe Guardiola has finally figured out how to turn the City squad into a world-class team. I have my doubts, but I’m also ready to be pleasantly surprised.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.