It's that time of the year again.
No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving or Black Friday, although those are very important too. I'm talking about that time of the year when we start to seriously weigh up who's got what it takes to dominate Europe—or more specifically, win the UEFA Champions League title.
Obviously, as football fans, we've been talking about which teams are going to dominate or get dominated since the end of the 2010-11 season. That's just how we are—always looking forward to the next season and the next big thing.
But now that each of the top five European leagues has gone through at least 10 domestic league games and the UEFA Champions League group stage is nearing completion, we can start to accurately judge who stands the best chance of winning the coveted UCL title.
For me, it starts with Real Madrid and Barcelona. As usual, the two Spanish super giants are in the process of breaking away from the rest of La Liga, and have begun their race to see who can slip up the least from now until May, when the league concludes.
At present, Real Madrid are in outstanding form, winning 10 of 12 of their league games so far. Barcelona, of course, aren't far behind, having won 8 of 12 and drawn the other four.
In the UCL, both teams have performed excellently as well. Real Madrid have been the best team in the competition, sweeping aside the competition with ease. They've won all five of their games, scoring 16 goals and conceding only twice, both consolation goals in their 6-2 rout of Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.
Barcelona have not fared as well, but they too have locked up the top spot of their group with ease. They've won four of their five games and drawn the other, scoring 16 goals like Real Madrid but conceding four times, all against AC Milan in the home and away matches.
But beyond these two Spanish and European super giants, who are the real contenders for European glory? Who can actually be regarded as a legitimate challenger to the Spanish domination of the UCL that we've seen this year?
Let's find out.