Soccer (football, as some countries call it) is the most popular sport round the world, nowhere more so than in Europe. Each year the UEFA Champions League gather the top club teams on the continent to compete for the championship crown. Of many teams, Barcelona is the favorite to win the trophy this year. It’s no easy feat to take. Several qualifying rounds challenge the participants before the Group Stage. From there only half of those teams can make it into the final round in May. If you’re Intrigued, here are some more interesting facts.
1. The tournament’s all-time top clubs and talents are competing this year The top two goal scorers in Champions League history have chance to compete head to head in this year’s tournament. Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 82 goals versus Barcelona’s Lionel Messi’s 77, though the Portuguese footballer (Ronaldo) has competed in 18 more games than his Argentinian counterpart. The two were actually tied at the beginning of the tournament, but Messi has been sidelined with an injury give Ronaldo the opportunity to pull away in his absence.
2. The tournament’s teams with the highest winning chance are competing
Ronaldo and Messi are also members of the two clubs with the highest winning chance as well as winning the most time in history. Again Ronaldo can gain the upper hand, with his Real Madrid club having won 125 times to Barcelona’s 121. However, Barcelona has been the better of the two in a few recent years, taking the title three times of the last seven years while Real Madrid has only won once in the same time period.
3. England has some catching up to do
England, the country that is believed to have invented the modern form of football and which is home to one of the leading domestic leagues in the world, has only 12 active players competing on the 32 clubs left in the tournament. By contrast, the Mediterranean country of Israel has 16 players active in the tournament. Other countries ahead of England are Spain, France and Brazil.