Another long season of competitive football is upon us, as clubs across the European continent have resumed hostilities in a bid for glory come May next year.
Beyond its entertainment value, football is extremely competitive, and it is in the nature of every club and player to seek to win the various trophies available, as doing this signifies a superiority over the rest of the competition and gives a certain degree of satisfaction.
This is especially true at the biggest clubs, whose history and pedigree of players makes it a prerogative to win all trophies available. While more often than not this is not achieved, it is usually not for want of trying.
Indeed, it is such a rarity to win all trophies available in a season that only seven clubs have won a treble in the history of European football.
With another campaign kicking off, Europe’s biggest sides have a fresh slate to launch another shot at attempting to win a treble and in this piece, we shall be ranking the five clubs who are most likely to win a treble this season.
Note: A treble for the sake of this piece is judged as winning the league, domestic cup and the Champions League.
Barcelona are not only one of seven sides to have won a treble, but they are also the only club in history to have achieved this impressive feat on two occasions.
The Catalans are the clear favourites to retain their LaLiaga title, having triumphed in the league seven times in the last ten years, while their record-equaling run of five consecutive Copa del Reys was brought to an end by Valencia in May.
The addition of Antoine Griezmann would help bolster their already impressive attack, while the capture of left-back Junior Firpo from Real Betis significantly strengthens what was a weak area for Barcelona.
Of course, they still have the services of arguably the greatest of all time in Lionel Messi, and having fallen short in his promise to bring back the Champions League to Nou Camp last season, the Argentine icon would do all in his mercurial powers to inspire Barcelona to a third treble this time around.
Juventus made history when they achieved the unique distinction of winning a domestic double of the Serie A and Coppa Italia for four consecutive years, and this in addition to seven successive league wins established them as the only force in Italy.
The Old Lady, however, have mostly fallen short in the continent, and in a bid to end their over two-decade wait for European glory, the club splashed out a club-record fee to sign the man who has dominated that competition like none other before or possibly after him: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nevertheless, for all of his heroics, Ronaldo could not inspire the Bianconeri to Champions League success, while they were also shockingly eliminated by Atalanta at the quarterfinal stage of the Coppa Italia; though the requisite league title was won without a sweat.
The Old Lady of Turin has seen a significant influx into their team over the summer, bringing in Danilo and the highly-rated Matthijs de Ligt (who chose them over the rest of Europe). While Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon also came in on a free and thus, Maurizio Sarri’s men would fancy their chances of winning a treble for the first time in their history.
3 Manchester City
Manchester City made a statement by bringing in Pep Guardiola to The Etihad in 2016 and given his immense reputation as arguably the best coach in the world over the last decade, big things were expected of the Catalan.
He won a treble in his very first season of top-level management and despite initially struggling in his debut season in the Premier League, the 48-year-old blew everyone away in his second season, guiding The Cityzens to a record-breaking haul of 100 league points amidst other records.
As a sign of how far he and his side have come, they became the first club in English history to win a domestic treble but painfully fell short on the continent, being knocked out on away goals by Tottenham at the quarterfinal stage last season.
Manchester City has by far the most complete squad in all of Europe and are widely expected to romp their way to domestic supremacy again.
For all of Guardiola’s greatness, he is without a Champions League winners medal since 2011 and this is a blot he would be desperate to erase.
4 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich is one of the more traditional teams in Europe, and with five Champions League titles to their name, they are also one of the most successful.
The Bavarians are indeed one of the few sides in history to have won a treble, having done so in 2013, but they have failed to triumph in the continent since then.
Indeed, Bayern Munich have fallen off the radar in recent years, and have failed to keep up with the European elite, leading to Robert Lewandowski coming out to question the club’s ambition after witnessing multiple uninspiring transfer windows.
However, in the ongoing transfer window, Bayern Munich have dipped into their purse, and have brought in several new faces including Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard and Ivan Perisic. Along with this, the loan signing of Philippe Coutinho could potentially go some way in cushioning the impact of losing the legendary duo of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.
5 Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain have been utterly transformed since being taken over by Qatar Sports Investment in 2011. Since then, there has been a steady influx of world-class players to the Parc des Princes, and the club has become the singular most dominant force in France.
They saw their domestic invincibility broken last season, as they failed to win either of the two cup competitions on offer, with the league title the only trophy they had to show for their efforts.
The defending Ligue 1 champions currently boast the services of the two most expensive players in history. But having broken the bank to sign Neymar, it is safe to say that their hopes of building the future around him have been futile and the club is ready to cut their losses.
Given their utter superiority of the French game, it is almost a given that PSG would trump all before them to win the trophies on offer in France, but it is on the continent where their major aspirations lie.
It is no hidden secret that despite their huge spending, the club is yet to make it to the semifinal of the Champions League, but if they can retain the services of Neymar and keep him fit, the Parisians would fancy their chances of going all the way this time around.