Champions League 2023-24: Contenders who could rival Manchester City include Manchester United and Real Madrid

Manchester City may have lifted the Champions League trophy on Saturday but there’s no such thing as a time when it’s too soon to look ahead at who may lift the trophy in 2024. Pep Guardiola will be sure to make sure that his team is back in contention but could Kevin de Bruyne’s hamstring tear be enough to slow the team down? Only time will tell but in the meantime here are five teams who are among the top contenders for the grandest trophy in Europe.

Manchester City

While this is in no particular order, it would be doing City a disservice to not begin with them. Like most teams, there are questions to answer over the summer in regard to Ilkay Gundogan’s future, Bernardo Silva’s future, and de Bruyne’s health but even with those looming City would be among the top contenders for a European title. No team has replaced stars as well as City over the years and winning Champions League will only increase their already impressive recruiting pull.

Having Erling Haaland gives the team a head start that most teams don’t have and if he feels like he should’ve scored more goals this season than the 52 that he already scored, that’s absolutely terrifying for the rest of the world. After winning one Champions League title, the pressure will also be lower, only making it easier for City to win more in the future which is why until further notice, it’s their trophy to lose.

Real Madrid 

Carlo Ancelotti has more questions to answer than usual following the departure of Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, and Eden Hazard they’ve already filled one spot in a big way with the arrival of Jude Bellingham. Any team that can move from a midfield of Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos to one of Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga, and Aurelien Tchouameni may be kind of good at identifying and filling their needs in the transfer market. Even replacing Benzema, there’s a guy named Harry Kane who is excellent at creating and finishing chances in similar ways to Benzema and who also could be available for the right price.

Even without Kane, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior are no slouches and the duo will help keep Real Madrid in any game so they don’t have much to worry about outside of coming up against Manchester City. A healthy Real Madrid will be able to roll through most teams in the world.

Manchester United

This is on the potential of what United could do with proper recruitment. Another team pushing to secure Harry Kane’s signature, if the Red Devils are able to nab Kane, they’ll vault up the list of contenders, but even with their current roster, United will make some noise as is. Marcus Rashford has grown into his own, the first-choice defense is also solid, so if another attacker can step up to become a consistent second option, Erik ten Hag will have a team on his hands.

Depth is a concern, but back in the Champions League, that’s something that the team can handle during the summer transfer window. Making a deep run in Europa League, winning the League Cup and making the FA Cup final, this team is already gaining experience in pressure situations under ten Hag but now they have to up things a notch.

The best of the rest

Despite making it to the Champions League final this season, Inter will be lucky to keep their team together but depending on who is added, they could make a run next season if enough of the starters remain. With one of the best midfields in the world, Inter can’t be counted out unless. Paris Saint-Germain will also be among the contenders for a Champions League title each season but with Lionel Messi out the door and Neymar Jr. possibly following him, can Kylian Mbappe lift the team alone?

Without a manager, it’s hard to judge where PSG stand but they’re clearly among the most talented teams in the world. Barcelona are another team that falls into the, “well they can do it depending on their roster” bucket that makes things hard to break down. Xavi has gotten his first major trophy at Barcelona out of the way by winning La Liga but Barcelona don’t care about trophies that you’ve won in the past.

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