Real Madrid certainly took to their Champions League duties with real style and panache last season. Although it took a series of gut-wrenching penalties to separate Zinedine Zidane’s team from a characteristically dogged Atletico Madrid side when the two teams last met in the final, no one can take anything away from the achievements of Los Blancos throughout the previous European campaign.
And after taking an impressive 3 – 1 advantage into their second leg with Napoli in the current round of the Champions League knock-out stages, many have subsequently touted Real Madrid as capable of going all the way once again this time around. Should the La Liga giants prove successful, it would be the first time any determined Champions League faring outfit has ever triumphantly defended their crown upon the grandest club stage of all.
Watching Donald trump take office feels like watching Real Madrid win champions league… it hurts
— Mud (@mostasteless176) 20 January 2017
But do Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid really have what it takes to achieve such a feat? The early indications would certainly seem to suggest so. Although both Bayern Munich and PSG have already shown glimpses of what they are capable of throughout the widely-watched competition thus far, it remains feasible to envisage Real Madrid successfully defending their crown. They definitely have a strong enough calibre of player to do so – and with Zidane himself proving something of an evolving success within managerial dug-out, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Real Madrid reclaim the title as their own.
Make no mistake about it, Barcelona’s likely ejection from the Champions League knock-out stages can only serve to bolster Real Madrid’s overall chances within the grand scheme of things. Lionel Messi and co. were famously unable to do the business last time out against PSG after all, a notion that will likely drive Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates onto a whole new level of determination throughout the remainder of the tournament.
Whilst Napoli still represent something of a difficult outfit to come up against, with the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik all proving rather formidable on their day – Real Madrid still possess a stronger all round squad, especially with that all-important 3 – 1 advantage currently locked firmly under their belts.
Obviously, we are yet to see what the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Sevilla have to say for themselves among this current stage of the tournament. Each of the aforementioned sides arguably possess enough about them to truly cause something of an upset this time around, with several world class players capable of making things happen inside the final third.
Yet as Real Madrid remain well placed among the upper echelons of the Spanish top-flight right in the here and now – and seemingly no longer have to view Barcelona as major rivals within the Champions League knock-out stages – who knows, perhaps this really could turn out to be a record-breaking year for the La Liga giants when all is said and done!