The 2016/17 season once again delivered a thrilling Champions League Campaign which saw Real Madrid crowned champions for the second successive year. Beating Italian giants Juventus 4-1 in the final, Madrid and Zinedine Zidane became the first team to retain the title in the modern era.
Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show, scoring twice in the final but Juventus were pretty impressive leading up to that game.
The final actually saw potentially one of the greatest goals scored in the competition, as Mario Mandzukic’s sublime overhead kick capped off a scintillating move by Juve. It was a Champions League campaign which oozed class with great goals scored and world class saves made.
It was a pretty poor competition for the English sides involved with Spurs failing to advance out of their group and Manchester City and Arsenal exiting in the round of 16 knockout. Leicester City made it the furthest as they reached the quarter finals, narrowly losing out to Atletico Madrid.
Along with winners Real Madrid and beaten finalists Juventus, Monaco surpassed expectations by reaching the semis. They dispatched Manchester City and German giants Borussia Dortmund on the way to the penultimate stage thanks to some truly remarkable performances from the likes of Radamel Falcao, Tiemoue Bakayoko and the sensational Kylian Mbappe.
There has to be a special mention for Cristano Ronaldo though. When Real’s chips were down, the Portuguese superstar seemed to single-handedly ensure that they still came out on top. In the hotly contested quarter final against Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich, Ronaldo notched twice away from home and then topped that with a hat trick in the return leg.
Looking ahead to the 2017/18 Champions League campaign, first of all, the English sides will surely fair better?
Manchester City have spent fortunes already this summer, bringing in the likes of Bernado Silva and Kyle Walker. Pep Guardiola will fancy his and his team’s chances at ending their European heartache. You’ve also got Mourinho and Manchester United back in Europe’s elite completion thanks to them winning the Europa League, as well as Premier League champions Chelsea and runners up Spurs.
There’s a huge opportunity for an English side to be crowned kings of Europe.
You’d expect holders Real Madrid to be strong once again, led by arguably the best in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. If their pursuit of Monaco’s wonderkid Kylian Mbappe is successful, they could be an unstoppable force. Barcelona, spearheaded by a front three of Messi, Suarez and Neymar, can cause any side problems and German giants Bayern Munich will fancy their chances too.
Monaco and Juventus, who enjoyed great campaigns last time out, could find themselves struggling this time around. Largely due to players leaving both clubs.
Monaco have already lost left back Benjamin Mendy and midfielder Bernado Silva to Manchester City as well as Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea. The Kylian Mbappe saga doesn’t seem to be over either so the French side could find themselves up against it this season. Juventus on the other hand have lost defensive linchpin Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan. With their game based largely on having that solid base at the back, Juventus could find themselves struggling to go one better than last season.