2010 UEFA Champions League logo2010 UEFA Champions League

2010 UEFA Champions League: Power Ranking Europe's Five Strongest Teams

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst IAugust 30, 2010

2010 UEFA Champions League: Power Ranking Europe's Five Strongest Teams

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    Now that every major European league has officially kicked off and the beginning of the Champions League is getting closer and closer, it's time to take a look at the best teams in Europe.

    The following list contains the five strongest teams in Europe at the moment (in my opinion). Obviously, these five teams have better chances of lifting the Champions League trophy in May than any other team.

    I don't exclude the possibility of another team winning the competition, but I must say that I would be really surprised if that happened.

    Here is the list.

5. Manchester United

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Lineup

    GK: Edwin van der Sar

    LB: Patrice Evra

    CB: Rio Ferdinand

    CB: Nemanja Vidic

    RB: John O'Shea

    LM: Nani/Valencia

    CM: Darren Fletcher/Michael Carrick

    CM: Paul Scholes

    RM: Park Ji-Sung/Ryan Giggs

    CF: Dimitar Berbatov/Javier Hernandez/Michael Owen

    CF: Wayne Rooney

    After FC Barcelona, Manchester United has been the most successful team in the Champions League for the past five editions, with one title, one final appearance, a semifinal, and a quarterfinal. Sir Alex Ferguson has shown time and again that he is arguably the best coach in the world (his resumé speaks for itself) and that he has what it takes to lead Manchester United to European glory.

    While Ferguson is at the helm, Manchester United will always be a force to be reckoned with. After a disappointing quarterfinal loss to Bayern Munich last season, Manchester United will look to improve on that performance. If their key players stay healthy (especially Rooney), they could go all the way.

    The most notable signing Alex Ferguson made was Javier Hernandez, a very talented young Mexican player who might wreak havoc in this year's Champions League.

4. Bayern Munich

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Lineup

    GK: Hans-Jörg Butt

    LB: Diego Contento/Edson Braafheid

    CB: Daniel van Buyten

    CB: Martin Demichelis

    RB: Philipp Lahm

    LM: Franck Ribéry

    DM: Mark van Bommel

    CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger/Toni Kroos

    RM: Arjen Robben

    CF: Thomas Muller

    CF: Miroslav Klose/Ivica Olić

    Just like their lineup suggests, Bayern is an incredibly strong team with great depth. Many analysts seem to be ignoring Bayern, but they'll regret it for sure.

    In Louis van Gaal's first year, this team surprised everyone and got to the final of the Champions League. Now, in van Gaal's second season, the team will be even stronger.

    If Arjen Robben comes back strong from his injury, Bayern have everything to challenge for the Champions League title. Thomas Muller, after a brilliant World Cup, will probably have his best season yet.

    With no competition in the Bundesliga (in theory), Bayern will probably be able to focus on the Champions League, and that makes them even stronger candidates.

3. Inter Milan

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Lineup

    GK: Julio Cesar

    LB: Javier Zanetti

    CB: Lucio

    CB: Walter Samuel

    RB: Maicon

    DM: Esteban Cambiasso

    CM: Dejan Stankovic

    AM: Wesley Sneijder

    LW: Goran Pandev

    RW: Samuel Eto'o

    CF: Diego Milito

    The reigning European Champions have managed to maintain all their players, which makes them one of the strongest teams in Europe again. Can they be the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues?

    On paper, it seems so. Jose Mourinho left, but Rafael Benitez came. Benitez managed to win the Champions League in his first season with Liverpool, and he had a much weaker squad at his disposal than this current Inter side. If he can win with Liverpool, why can't he win with Inter Milan?

    It won't be easy, but it would be a surprise if Inter didn't get far in the competition. Mourinho left a very good team to Benitez; it might take the latter some time to impose his ideas, but when he does, Inter will be a very tough team to beat.

    Just like Bayern, Inter shouldn't have much trouble winning Serie A. Their squad is by far the best, and only sloppy performances can stop them from winning their sixth Serie A title in a row. This might be an advantage as far as the Champions League is concerned.

2. Chelsea

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    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    Lineup

    GK: Petr Cech

    LB: Ashley Cole

    CB: John Terry

    CB: Alex

    RB: Branislav Ivanović/Bosingwa

    DM: Michael Essien

    CM: Frank Lampard

    CM: Mikel/Essien

    AM: Florent Malouda 

    CF: Nicolas Anelka/Salomon Kalou

    CF: Didier Drogba

    After winning the domestic double last season, Chelsea started the new season in an amazing way: three leagues matches, three wins; 14 goals scored, none conceded.

    Chelsea has often been close to winning the Champions League, but on every occasion they lost narrowly. This might be one of the last chances for this fantastic group of players to win this competition.

    Under Carlo Ancelotti, a manager who has won the Champions League twice, they have great chances. Ancelotti is one of the best managers in the world, and he has shown time and again that he knows how to play in Europe (so to say).

    Unless something very unexpected happens, Chelsea have great possibilities of reaching the final this season.

1. FC Barcelona

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Lineup

    GK: Victor Valdés

    LB: Adriano/Eric Abidal/Maxwell

    CB: Carles Puyol

    CB: Gerard Piqué

    RB: Daniel Alves/Adriano

    DM: Javier Mascherano/Sergio Busquets

    CM: Xavi Hernandez

    CM: Andres Iniesta

    LW: Pedro

    RW: Lionel Messi

    CF: David Villa

    Quite simply the strongest team in the world. Seriously, does this team have any weaknesses? Because if it does, I failed to notice them.

    If this Barcelona team manages to win another Champions League, it will go down as one of the best, if not the best, club team in history. This season looks like the perfect opportunity for it; with David Villa and Javier Mascherano, the team is stronger and has more quality depth than ever.

    Barcelona have very strong opposition and will have to work hard to win the Champions League again, but on paper they're clearly the strongest team in the competition.

    Last season, some bad luck against Mourinho's Inter prevented Barcelona from reaching the final. It could happen again, but seriously, would anyone put their money on it?

    Barcelona should have a fantastic season, and they are, as far as I'm concerned, the safest bet to win the Champions League.

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