Barcelona short-priced favourites to retain Champions League crown
In the aftermath of a 10-2 aggregate demolition of Bayer Leverkusen, Barcelona are priced at just 11/10 to win the Champions League for a second consecutive year.
Despite those odds seeming short at first glance, it actually appears a very reasonable price to invest in when taking into account the immense quality throughout the entire Barca ranks.
At the forefront of this of course is Lionel Messi, who made history last night by becoming the first player ever to score five goals in a single Champions League match, taking his tally to 12 in just seven tournament matches this season in the process.
The creative efforts of players such as Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta are also consistent in their brilliance, and even emerging substitutes like Cristian Tello have supreme talent, as proved by the youngster’s brace on his maiden European appearance last night.
As the domestic league title looks all but settled in Real Madrid’s favour this season, boss Pep Guardiola can also allow himself to concentrate more fully on the elite European competition, and a third Champions League title would place him among the managerial greats even at this early stage of his career.
Their great Spanish rivals Real, in fact, could be the only side capable of stopping the Catalans, and Jose Mourinho’s pedigree in the competition would suggest that 12/5 is a decent price to get behind his men at.
However, despite their ten-point La Liga lead, Real have fallen to Barcelona in two of their three domestic meetings this season, and Barcelona would seem to have the edge should it come down to a battle between the two Spanish giants.
It should be noted that Barca have racked up an outlandish 30 goals in just eight Champions League fixtures so far this campaign, and seemingly unstoppable against any potential opposition in the quarter-final and beyond, 11/10 looks a good price to back Barcelona at for European glory.