Both the Champions League and the Europa League are moving towards the final stages. This week, in fact, the second leg of the quarter-finals of both competitions will be played; then at the end of the month, it will be the turn of the semifinals and, on May 24 and May 14, respectively, the final.
Since several matches have already been played, both in the various national leagues and in these continental tournaments, we asked you to give your opinion on which was the strongest football team in the world using our usual poll we launch on Monday.
So climb the positions with us from the fifth to the first.
The Favorite in the Europa League
Of course, perhaps those who voted for it were mainly fans of the Juventus team, but it is undeniable that this year Antonio Conte’s battleship seems almost unbeatable, at least in Italy.
In Europe, some flaws emerged, not so much in the depth of the squad or in the value of the individual players, since compared to last year it seems that progress has been made in terms of the possibility of varying the choices and the style of play. , but rather in the international experience of the bianconeri.
Despite having a good number of veterans in the team, in the Champions League, they stumbled upon two unexpected draws in Denmark with Copenhagen and at home with Galatasaray. Not to mention the defeat on the last day with Roberto Mancini’s team.
The Next Semifinal
In the Europa League, on the other hand, the path so far has been more than convincing, and, after the 1-0 brought home to Lyon, the doors of the semi-final seem wide open. There he will probably face one between Benfica, Basel, and Porto or Seville.
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It is important to remember, however, that the final will take place at the Juventus Stadium, and therefore for the Turin team there would be a concrete opportunity to win the trophy on a friendly field (which happened, at least by playing in Italy, also in 1996 with the Champions League ).
4. Paris Saint-Germain
Not Only Ibrahimovic
In fourth place, tied with Juventus, we find the French champions of Paris Saint-Germain. In your comments, you have emphasized above all the excellent period of a form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the fact that – with Cavani, Thiago Silva, and also the newcomer Cabaye – the Parisian formation really seems one of those with the best staff.
The path has been smooth so far. The group, with Olympiakos, Benfica, and Anderlecht, was probably the easiest and was easily won with only one defeat at qualifying and first place already guaranteed.
Then Bayer Leverkusen arrived in the round of 16, already regulated in the first leg in Germany with a heavy 4-0. Finally, Chelsea has now been overtaken with a convincing 3-1, matured at least in part after Ibrahimovic’s injury from the pitch.
Of course, the Swede will miss in London and Mourinho’s team will still have a goal scored away from home that they can make use of. Judging by the results of our poll, however, you seem to be betting on the French for the next round.
From the championship, on the other hand, there should be no distractions for Laurent Blanc’s team: six days from the end they have 13 points ahead of Monaco and the second consecutive title seems really close at hand.
A Season Taken Up in Hand
By now they seemed to be in a waning phase, destined to give way both in the league and in the Champions League, but the Blaugrana have recently shown signs not only of life, but also of great strength, and have also heavily reappeared in our poll, where they collected the votes that allow them to place third, especially in the last few days.
The turning point came on March 23 last: returning from three defeats in the previous seven league games, Barcelona presented themselves at the Santiago Bernabeu to face leaders Real, recovering from 3-2 to 3-4 and taking home a victory that reopened the championship.
Today, six days from the end, the Catalan team is second one point behind Atletico Madrid and precedes their rivals Real by two points, moreover with a much better goal difference than the two Madrid teams.
In the Champions League, moreover, he collected only one defeat in Amsterdam against Ajax in the qualifying round, then eliminated the fearsome Manchester City with two victories that were actually very hard-fought and uncertain almost until the end.
The debut in the quarterfinals was not what was hoped for, given that the derby with Atletico ended 1-1 at the Camp Nou, a result that essentially forces the Blaugrana to have to seek victory at the Vicente Calderón.
But this bad premise does not seem to worry our readers too much, who in the judgments that have reached us in the editorial office has expressed great confidence in the possibilities of Messi and his companions to snatch the qualification for the semifinal.
2. Real Madrid
The Strength of Cristiano Ronaldo
In second place of your preferences is Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid, for which we recorded a situation that is, after all, a mirror image of the one we have just described to you with Barcelona.
In fact, Real got full marks in the first days after the launch of our poll, but after the double misstep in the league with Barcelona and Sevilla – which plunged the Blancos from first to third in the standings – the votes are dropped significantly, focusing on the historical rivals trained by Tata Martino.
In the Champions League, on the other hand, the path was more than convincing. In the group, they won all the matches except the one played in Turin, which ended in a draw.
In the round of 16, Schalke 04 – who had finished just two points behind Chelsea in their group – were humiliated with a resounding 6-1 in Gelsenkirchen thanks to braces from Benzema, Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo and the flag goal by Huntelaar with time out. This was followed by a quiet 3-1 in Madrid.
In the opinion of our readers, the strong point of the team is undoubtedly Cristiano Ronaldo.
Indeed, more than CR7 in and of itself you seem to believe in his desire for redemption and victory: after so many years in which he has been placed in second place always behind Messi, this year – thanks to the Golden Ball – he seems determined to finish in the lead in all competitions, even if obviously it won’t be easy.
In the ranks of the Blancos, Ancelotti and Karim Benzema also inspire confidence, while at least a couple of you have expressed concerns about Gareth Bale, a pharaonic purchase but, at this point of the season, “definitely overrated”.
1. Bayern Munich
German solidity applied to football
To dominate our poll from start to finish, with a constancy that recalls the consistency of its results both in the national championship and in the European challenges, it was without a doubt Bayern Munich, already holder not only of the Champions but of a treble. record-breaking.
In fact, the list of titles held by the team coached by Pep Guardiola does not stop only with those collected in the past season, when it was coached by Jupp Heynckes: in recent months he has in fact also posted the European Super Cup – obtained by overcoming Chelsea on penalties – on the bulletin board. and the Club World Cup.
In the league, the Bavarian team is a steamroller. She set the new record for consecutive victories (even 19) and consecutive games without defeats (52, also counting those of last season) and won the Meisterschale with even 7 rounds to spare.
At the moment he has an embarrassing +21 on the English average and 20 points clear of Borussia Dortmund, second.
In the Champions League, the impression of solidity was not affected: in a difficult group, the Germans won all five of their first matches, also conquering the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, only to lose on the last day at home with City.
In the round of 16 they then nimbly passed an Arsenal that had now passed its best moment and in the quarterfinals, they have so far brought home a 1-1 against a newfound Manchester United.
Our readers have chosen this team because they are no longer distracted by the championship and because they are convinced by the talent of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben but also by the consistency of Manuel Neuer, Mario Mandzukic, Toni Kroos, and Thomas Müller.