Manchester United are not contenders to win the Champions League this season despite a big-spending summer which included the sensational return of Cristiano Ronaldo, Danny Murphy has said.
United completed the stunning transfer of Ronaldo on deadline day, culminating an incredible saga.
The legendary forward decided he wanted to leave Juventus after three years in Serie A and was initially linked with a controversial move to Manchester City.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the Old Trafford hierarchy jumped ahead of the queue, though, and Ronaldo was officially confirmed as a United player on August 31.
But ex-England midfielder Murphy believes that Ronaldo’s arrival is not enough for the Red Devils to win the Champions League. He has instead picked six other teams who could win the 2022 showdown in Russia.
Ronaldo has not tasted success in the Champions League since guiding Real Madrid to glory in 2018.
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“I personally think the winners will come from one of six – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSG,” Murphy wrote in his MailSport column.
“Atletico [Madrid] are an outsider because Diego Simeone has matchwinners in Luis Suarez and Griezmann in addition to the remarkable team spirit he’s fostered.
“It’ll be tough because PSG and Bayern Munich in particular look strong but it wouldn’t surprise me if we had three semi-finalists.
“It’s a big shift because a few years ago we were asking why Premier League clubs weren’t doing better. But football is cyclical and now the Spanish giants are suffering financially and Italian teams are struggling.”
Chelsea are among Murphy’s candidates but he feels that Thomas Tuchel’s attention might be elsewhere. The Blues lifted the trophy last term after beating City in an all-Premier League showdown.
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The former Liverpool man believes that Tuchel will prioritise the Premier League having already won the Champions League.
It is a contrasting story for City and boss Pep Guardiola, who has not won the Champions League since 2011.
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Murphy thinks that the Spaniard will want to prioritise the tournament with the Premier League champions. He also insists that Solskjaer will simply do anything just to win a trophy for United.
“It’s an easy one for Tuchel. He’s just won the Champions League so he’d love the Premier League now, it is human nature to try and get what you’ve not achieved,” Murphy continued.
“Likewise for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, he’ll crave the Champions League having been unable to get his hands on it yet in England.
“It’s a harder one for Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I don’t think Klopp will differentiate in picking his teams but it’s a tradition at Liverpool to make winning the domestic league as your priority and they’ve still only won it once in 30 years so I think at a twist he’d prefer the Premier League.
“For Solskjaer, any of them! He badly needs a trophy and either of these would put him in a phenomenally strong position moving forward.”
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