The competition for the elite teams in Europe is finally back on the screens of viewers around the world. The tournament as always brings to you 32 of the best teams in Europe fighting for the prestigious UEFA Champions League trophy. Real Madrid managed to conquer the rest to win the competition last season making it their 12th title overall, the highest of any team to have played in the showcase. They will certainly be eager to add more to their haul as will the other teams participating in it. The first round of matches have been played and ghanafans.com brings to you the 6 things we learned.
LIONEL MESSI CAN STILL DO IT ALL
Barcelona were out for revenge against Juventus in their first group stage match of the season at the Camp Nou.
The task was surely not easy considering their loss of Brazilian superstar Neymar to French giants Paris Saint Germain. They managed to achieve their aim nonetheless with the help of none other than Lionel Messi in a match that ended by three goals to nil.
The Argentine crowned his dominance in the game with two well taken goals and even got himself involved in the third scored by Ivan Rakitic.
No one will put it past Barcelona to go all the way if Messi performs like that throughout the competition.
CRISTIANO RONALDO KEEPS ON BREAKING RECORDS
The champions started off their title defense with a fairly comfortable 3-0 win over Apoel Nicosia at the Bernebeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo was welcomed back to the side from a domestic ban and he managed to steal the headlines with two strikes. Sergio Ramos scored the third late on to shatter the chances of a comeback from the away side.
The Portuguese skipper has also converted 12 penalties in this competition overall, the most by any player. The records do not end there as he has now scored 55 Champions League goals at home, one better than Lionel Messi and the most in the competition.
Ronaldo is indeed a machine in front of goal and with him firing, Real Madrid remain favorites to take the trophy home.
THE MNC STRIKEFORCE WILL TERRORISE OPPOSITION DEFENCES
The new look attack of Paris Saint Germain featuring Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe were given their first test in the Champions League away to Celtic and they responded in style.
PSG thrashed Celtic 5-0 in the end and all three forwards managed to find the net. Cavani was the leading performer amongst them with two goals.
Neymar is having a bright start to life in PSG, netting 5 goals and setting up 5 in 5 matches with more still to come.
Cavani, Neymar and Mbappe are already a scary opposition to defenses and with more time ahead to play together, they will become even scarier.
KANE JOINS THE LIST OF ELITE GOALSCORERS
In Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Dortmund in their first Champions League game this season, there was one main bright light that shone throughout the fixture. England’s striker Harry Kane showed his class by scoring twice and feeding Son for the other.
Kane has conquered the domestic league now with two consecutive golden boots and is rocking shoulders with the best finishers around.
His presence in Tottenham’s lineup will surely increase their chances of progressing to the knockout stages this season and perhaps go as far as the quarter finals. Kane will be one of the strikers to watch in the Champions League this season and for years to come.
THE ENGLISH SIDES ARE LOOKING STRONG SO FAR
Manchester City started off their campaign with a resounding 4-0 win over Feyernoord away from home. Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and John Stones scored the goals in City’s domination over their opponents.
Pep Guardiola’s side oozes quality in all areas of the pitch and that can take them as far as the semi-finals and possibly the final if they show enough drive.
Chelsea crowned their return to European football with a 6-0 thrashing of Quarabag at the Stamford Bridge.
Pedro Rodriguez, Davide Zappacosta, Cesar Azpilicueta, Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi found the net to help Chelsea equal their biggest win in the competition. Zappacosta was the cream of the crop, scoring a wonder goal in the first half.
Chelsea will no doubt be dangerous to any opposition as long as they replicate that performance.
Manchester United started off with a comfortable 3-0 win over Basel at Old Trafford. Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford scored the goals for the Red Devils. Marcus Rashford continued his amazing debut scoring trend with a goal late on.
The 20 time English Premier League winners have enough firepower and an experienced manager to take them to the latter stages of the competition.
BAYERN UNCONVINCING AGAINST ANDERLECHT
They may have won 3-0 on the night against the Belgian side with Lewandowski, Thiago and Kimmich scoring but considering that their opponents were down to 10 men early in the first half brings question marks to the result.
The further reports of a division in the Bayern camp make experts wonder if the German side will provide a worthy challenge for the Champions League title this season.
The Bavarians still have a lot of quality players which can do damage to any team with the right motivation. They may find things more difficult against tougher opposition.