Who will win the UEFA Champions League?


Carlos Peterson and Vandy Manyeh



No team is ready to spray champagne in the locker room other than Manchester United. They are the favorite to win the 2018 UEFA Champions League. In Europe’s elite soccer competition, Manchester United will face Benfica, Basel and CSKA Moscow in the zonal stage. United have won six out of eight games versus Benfica and are one win ahead of both Basel and CSKA Moscow in head-to-head record.

Now, to the team’s strength: United are a foe to contend with. A loaded lineup and a head coach that is more conversant than other coaches in Europe’s biggest soccer competition shape this team as the “good old Manchester United.”

The last time Manchester United won the Champions League, in 2008, it was an orthodox display of English Football throughout the league that earned them bragging rights. Forget about Edwin van der Sar, Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney. The current squad has the same energy and psyche to compete.

Goalkeeper David De Gea is the fifth man in the well-organized defense. He is not a goalkeeper who swiftly kicks the ball into play. His ability to pass is superb, and it gives United an added advantage on possession.

The defense is nothing but a culmination of talent and players with the tenacity to slow down vicious attackers. Captain Antonio Valencia has embraced his role as the team’s starting right-back. He combines his defensive ability with overlaps on the right attacking wing, supporting attackers when they are in need of volleys. In a defense with Daley Blind, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, this defense has allowed just two goals in their first four domestic games.

The midfield looks like the missing piece of the puzzle was found. Nemanja Matic is nothing but a Paul Scholes in disguise. Midfield maestro Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera can freely connect strikers with deft passes; they don’t have to worry about winning the ball. Matic is the steel in the midfield that any Manchester United fan will boast of. He is the young Darren Fletcher, with the Scholes’ mentality.

The attack will have you reminiscing about the great partnership between Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. Romelu Lukaku and Rashford bring strength to the attack and are ready to showcase their talents. Both players have been key to Belgium and England’s bid to secure a spot in the World Cup.

If a bench that has Anthony Martial doesn’t scare you, ask a Liverpool fan to describe his debut goal in 2015. The Frenchman has a footwork avid soccer fans haven’t seen since Thierry Henry retired.

Qualifying for the Champions League just after winning the UEFA Europa League, United have been tested in Europe and the zest to win soccer’s biggest tournament in surreal. GGMU!



The European football superpower, Real Madrid, enters this year’s UEFA Champions League as the clear favorite to once again hoist the trophy at year’s end. The white shirts have established themselves as the premiere club in the world, having won three of the last four Champions League and creating talks of being deemed the greatest dynasty in modern football.

Real Madrid returns everyone except James Rodriguez from their championship run the previous season. Portuguese megastar, Cristiano Ronaldo, will once again head a dangerous attack for Real as he hopes to cap another potential Ballon d’Or-worthy campaign. Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are going to be paired alongside Ronaldo as they form the best attack in Europe, combining for 19 goals last season. Another thing to not underestimate is the passing ability from Ronaldo as he was second in the UCL (UEFA Champions League) in assists last season with six.

Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are two brilliant midfielders that Coach Zinedine Zidane is very high on. Their ability to find the open attackers are vital to this high powered attack. Ball movement and pace have helped elevate this once stagnant Real midfield to one of the best in the world. The issue for teams facing this team will be attacking their midfield with so much ground to cover.

The defenseman Sergio Ramos, Marcelo Vieira and Dani Carvajal will be pestering the opposition as they rally to the ball the way that Real fans are accustomed to. Their ability to pass the ball are second to none, combining for 11 assists as a unit last season.

Kaylar Navas has emerged as a stallworth as a goalkeeper, doing an unbelievable job of orchestrating and navigating the back end of the Madrid defense. It’s been such a pleasant surprise to have the emergence of Navas after the departure of Real legend Iker Casillas.

Real Madrid also will have favorable group matches being placed in a group with Tottenham, APOEL, and Dortmund. The Real faithful should look at this years champions league as an opportunity to add to the already large trophy case. They should be able to come out of the group stage relatively healthy and ready to wreak havoc on the rest of Europe’s best. Hala Madrid!