Paris Saint-Germain are among the favourites to win this season’s Champions League, but Lionel Messi admits there is some fierce competition to take home Europe’s top prize.
PSG added Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi to their superstar squad this summer, and while performances haven’t always been perfect, they have continued to churn out results at a relentless rate.
“Everyone says that we are the big favourites and I will not deny that we are one of the candidates on paper, but we still need to work on some things to be a really strong team,” Messi confessed to Marca.
“We still have to finish gelling as a team and we have the advantage of having some great players to achieve that, but we are not the only ones. Other teams are great candidates. The Champions League is a very difficult competition, that’s what makes it so beautiful and special. The best teams are there, but it is getting more and more complicated. Yes, we are one of the favourites, but not the only ones.
“Today, Liverpool are very strong. They have returned to the Liverpool that won the Champions League.
“Then there are City, Bayern, Real Madrid, Atletico. There are many teams that can fight for this Champions League, which is one of the most even and competitive in recent years because there are so many teams that could win it.”
When asked for his feelings towards a Spanish side going all the way, Messi confessed that Barcelona’s hopes appear slimmer that Real and Atletico.
“Real Madrid are always competitive,” he said. “The same thing with Atletico, they’ll be there fighting. They are two difficult rivals in direct competition with each other. They both know the game well and how to play it, which is why they are undoubtedly two of the favourites.
“Barcelona are going through a tough stage of reconstruction with a team in which there are many young players. Today, I think there are better teams than Barcelona, but although they give that impression now, that does not mean that they will not be able to fight later because we must take into account the arrival of Xavi, the renewed illusions and the power to get some injured players back. They can keep growing and fighting.
“Sevilla now have a difficult situation in their group, but they could still qualify. They’re a competitive team. All Spanish teams are and have been showing it over the last few years in Europe, both in the Champions League and in the Europa League. They were always there.”