Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Author: Jake Rabbanian
It is no question that the pandemic has had a tremendous effect on many people’s lives. As the pandemic forced many leagues to shut down, it had also included a halt to the UEFA Champions League. Before I dive into making my predictions, I wanted to take this time to reiterate the extraordinary value and excitement that the sport of Soccer provides fans. Also, I mean this in the nicest way possible, but when I am talking about professional soccer, I am talking about European soccer, not the MLS. The European soccer leagues are very different from the MLS, NFL, and NBA. For example, when an NBA basketball team places last at the end of the season, they receive a good draft pick with the hopes of having a better season. On the other end, if a European soccer team places last at the end of the season, they are relegated to a lower league which gives teams an incentive to play harder since they could face relegation. In my opinion, this makes perfect sense since leagues in the U.S. award teams for playing poorly, whereas teams in Europe face being relegated if they perform poorly. The process of being relegated makes the games interesting to watch, but qualifying for the Champions League makes the game even more exciting. The way a team qualifies for Champions League is by placing top-four in whichever league they are in. So far Real Madrid is the most successful team in Champions League history and has taken home the title 13 times, which is why I predict that Real Madrid will take first in the tournament.
Real has been placed in a very interesting position this year in the Champions League. Their last game was played in the round of 16 on February 26th against Manchester City. Real had lost the first game against City by a score of 2-1, which means Real has to beat Man City by a total ofone goal in the second game, so they can force overtime and head to the next round. Even though Manchester City is projected to beat Real and win the entire tournament, I still have faith in Real Madrid winning it all. Real Madrid players such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Benzema, Eden Hazard, and many other top-class Madrid football stars will completely overpower a Manchester City that will also not have their top player, Sergio “Kun” Aguero. The current position Real Madrid is set in will be the hardest position that they are placed in throughout the tournament, which is why I have the belief that once they defeat Manchester City they will dominate any other opponents that get in their way. Good players can only take a team so far against good opponents. A key factor that Real Madrid possesses more than any other team in the Champions League would be team chemistry and experience. You simply can’t disregard the fact that Real Madrid’s core players have a tremendous amount of teammate chemistry and experience. Players such as Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, and many others have been to and won the Champions League Finals more than once. On top of all this experience and team chemistry, I have more than enough faith in the belief that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will craft up a top-notch game plan for Real throughout the tournament.
In other leagues, Real Madrid is leading the Spanish League La Liga with 83 points. Coming in at second with 79 in Barcelona, which means that these are the only two teams anyone should be watching in La Liga (unless Atletico is also in the race). Given that there are not many games left in La Liga, my final prediction will be that Real will not only win the UEFA Champions League, but they will also place first in La Liga.