Roma and 9 Other European Teams You Simply Have to Watch This Season
The new domestic seasons are between a month and just seven days away, so we've taken a look at 10 European teams—obvious or not—that you simply need to watch this year.
With Ashley Cole signing for Roma, there will be plenty of British interest in the Giallorossi's fate.
As Juventus slip a little following the loss of Antonio Conte, this could be Rudi Garcia's chance to bring home a Serie A title if all goes to plan.
Who else is primed for an entertaining season? Here are some names for your consideration.
Frank de Boer has had a tough job keeping track of the comings and goings at Ajax this summer, but the feeling is they're building something worth watching so long as they keep hold of their key players.
With the Eredivisie live on Sky Sports 5 this season, it will be easy to catch de Godenzonen, with Viktor Fischer, Richairo Zivkovic, Joel Veltman and Ricardo Kishna, among others, worth your attention.
If the highly fancied Daley Blind and Davy Klaassen stick around, all the better.
Luis Suarez, Neymar, Lionel Messi—that will attract a viewer or two.
Luis Enrique has been introduced as the saviour of FC Barcelona, the man to restore the club to dominance not seen since Pep Guardiola, and his moves so far have been spot on.
He's signed a defender—an actual, real-life defender!—and promised last season's loan stars, Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha, a role in the side.
Expect a Blaugrana bounce back.
Bayern Munich may have torn the Bundesliga to shreds last season, but the UEFA Champions League proved Pep Guardiola has a way to go before conquering Europe once again.
Adding Robert Lewandowski gives the Spaniard the complete, mobile target man he desires after "making do" with Mario Mandzukic, Mario Goetze and Thomas Mueller in a variety of roles in his debut season.
Meanwhile, Juan Bernat can compete at left-back and perhaps even push David Alaba into midfield.
Is the Austrian the replacement for Toni Kroos, or should Pep look to someone like Isco?
Louis van Gaal has set about transforming Manchester United's fortunes this season in impressive fashion, making all the right moves, signing good players and adopting a new formation.
The 3-4-1-2 set to come in will mask the weaknesses of the centre-backs, enable LVG to play Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata at the same time, and bypass the lack of "star power" in central midfield.
Luke Shaw, Mata, RvP and David de Gea are all primed for monster seasons.
Marcelo Bielsa has taken the reins at Marseille, making the French club one of the teams you must watch this season.
His curious 3-3-1-3 formation (and variants of it) is several steps away from your regular, traditional way of playing football, and keep your ears tuned in for his crazy remarks and bizarre interviews.
Bielsa is a cult hero for many in football, and Ligue 1 is about to find out why.
Southampton represent an interesting potential case study into the true mettle of Eredivisie players, as Ronald Koeman appears set on replacing every one of his outgoing players with stars from the Dutch league.
Rickie Lambert and Graziano Pelle are very, very similar players, while Dusan Tadic could be considered a bit of an Adam Lallana in the way he plays, creates and passes.
Should Dejan Lovren leave, there's no doubt Koeman's first call will be to Stefan de Vrij at Feyenoord.
The addition of over €100 million worth of attacking talent to the UEFA Champions League holders automatically makes them a must-watch side.
Carlo Ancelotti has to figure out how to play a stable line-up and still incorporate Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and more.
We expect goals!
Tottenham Hotspur have escaped the chaos of Tim Sherwood and appointed a rather excellent young manager in Mauricio Pochettino.
So long as they don't fire this one, they should be primed for a promising future once more.
Pochettino proved at Southampton and Espanyol that he likes a hardworking, high-press side who keep the ball on the deck and carve out chances.
He has the chance to work with a potentially great player in Erik Lamela and nurture him along while leaning on the creative talents of Christian Eriksen too.
With Ben Davies secured, this side is balanced and ready to challenge for the top four.
Roma director of football Walter Sabatini is absolutely acing the transfer window once again.
He's secured manager Rudi Garcia another host of top talents to utilise for the upcoming season, with Ashley Cole and Juan Iturbe in particular set to upgrade the first XI from the off.
Roma will challenge on two fronts this season as they finally return to the UEFA Champions League, and by the look of the depth of this squad, they're ready to impact both stages.
Zenit St. Petersburg
On Friday, August 1, Rubin Kazan will open the Russian Premier League season against Spartak Moscow.
The return of the league signals the return of Andre Villas-Boas, not long installed as manager of Zenit St. Petersburg, and his Hulk-inspired team are looking to challenge for the RPL title once more.
The former Chelsea boss was just beginning to produce a thoroughly entertaining team by the end of last season after replacing the fired Luciano Spalletti. AVB in full tactical flow is unmissable football.