Real Madrid begins the defense of its title this Tuesday. 

Real Madrid begins the defense of its title this Tuesday. 

With a heavy day of favourites:Real Madrid, Manchester Cityand Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), the Champions League begins its group stage this Tuesday, with the novelty of being very condensed and loaded due to the 2022 World Cup, with a dangerous calendar that invites not to take any step in false.

Accustomed to a calendar that is staggered from mid-September to mid-December and allows certain crises at the beginning of the season until they find the rhythm, the greats of Europe will not have any moment of respite this time: the prospect of the World Cup in Qatar (November 20 to December 18) cuts the season in two, compressing the first phase of the Champions League in just two months.

Lionel Messi, after Cristiano Ronaldo's record in the Champions League, Vinicius Junior has obtained the Spanish nationality

No chance of relaxation for the big ones. For example, the PSG of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar faces the ever-important Juventus on Tuesday in the first big European match of the season.

Playing every three days, the teams will have to make use of all their squads to reach the round of 16 and dream of the final in Istanbul (June 10, 2023), which the Parisian coach Christophe Galtier has well understood, which left Neymar on the bench on Saturday at the start against Nantes (3-0).

“I have a quality group and in some sectors there is the possibility of replacing a player without weakening the team. It seems important to me, at the beginning of this series of games, to inject fresh blood,” Galtier launched.

This is how the champion arrives, Real Madrid

The same situation for Real Madrid, current champion and seeking its “Fifteenth” Champions: coach Carlo Ancelotti will have to find the opportunity to rest his scorer and captain Karim Benzema, who started on Saturday against Betis (2-1) .

Real Madrid begins the defense of its title this Tuesday. 

“We are not going to kill Karim. I have told him that we play every three days. It may be that he rests a game, but so far with one a week I see him physically well”, said the Italian coach. Real Madrid begins the defense of its European crown on Tuesday at Celtic in Glasgow, in an affordable Group F, which is completed by RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk, which could allow it to relax when qualification for the second round is assured.

On the contrary, Group C is announced to be competitive, with FC Barcelona, ​​Inter, Bayern Munich and the modest Viktoria Plzen. In Wednesday's duel Inter-Bayern will kick off.

In this context, the breadth of the squad is announced as crucial to negotiate the obstacle course, with Liverpool (finalist 2022) or Chelsea (winner in 2021) well provided in this regard.

Thus, Manchester City can also boast of a large squad. Pep Guardiola's team, finalist in 2021 and semifinalist in 2022, was reinforced with the arrival of Norwegian Erling Haaland (23 goals in 19 Champions League games).

Real Madrid The defense of his title begins this Tuesday. 

The Norwegian has already reigned terror in the Premier League (9 goals in five games) and tackles with appetite his European beginnings with the Citizens, on Tuesday in Seville.

“This is why I came here. You can see it. We played well, we feel good, and we're going to be even better. It's going to be okay,” smiled Haaland.

The marks Haaland is chasing

Launched in the footsteps of Haaland's greatest scorers European test queen, the Norwegian still has a long way to go to join the 'recordman' Cristiano Ronaldo (140 goals).

But Lionel Messi(125) has a card to play in the absence of the Portuguese, who has searched in vain for a Champions League team during preseason, before being forced to continue at Manchester United, who play in the Europa League.

The Argentine can reduce distances with his rival, on the condition of better negotiating the indigestible chain of matches, at 35 years old. A great challenge for an attractive Champions.

The top scorers in the most prestigious club football tournament on the planet since the 1992/93 season (excluding preliminary rounds) are Cristiano Ronaldo (now Manchester United) and Messi.

They are followed by Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona), with 88, and Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), with 86.

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Then Raúl (71), Andriy Shevchenko (59), Ruud van Nistelrooy (56) 8. Thomas Müller (52), Thierry Henry (51) and Filipo Inzaghi (50). Of this last group, the German Múller, from Bayern Munich, is the only one that is still in force. The others already enjoy his good retirement.

The European Champions League begins, the most glamorous tournament in team football, with a gallery of favorites on the pitch.
With AFP

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