It’s been a fairly tumultuous and traumatic few months for Barcelona as a football club, but we reckon they could be well worth a serious bet to take home the trophy in this season’s Champions League.
As we all know, La Blaugrana have suffered the ignominy of having Paris Saint-Germain steal Neymar away from them for a world record fee, and they failed to replace him with first-choice target Philippe Coutinho.
On top of all that, the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu is constantly under attack from fans for the way he runs the club, and two players who have embodied the modern day Barca identity, Leo Messi and Andres Iniesta, are somehow out of contract at the end of the season.
All in all, the drama off the pitch doesn’t feel very conducive to building a successful football team on it, but we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and back Barca to come good.
Online betting have reappraised their prices for teams to win this season’s Champions League outright following the first round of group stage matches, and the odds on Barcelona to win their sixth title really catches the eye.
The Catalan giants are at a sizeable 6/1 third favourite, behind Real Madrid at 17/4 and PSG at 11/2.
Now, we’re the first to admit Barcelona haven’t enjoyed a great start to the season off the pitch, but on it hasn’t been too bad at all.
After just three La Liga matches, Messi and co are already four points ahead of arch rivals Real Madrid, which may not sound like a lot but given how infrequently they both drop points, that’s a pretty chunky lead to have in September.
Aside from that, their start to the Champions League season was a pretty impressive one, too.
Playing against a genuine European superpower and five-star team in the shape of Juventus – the team who eliminated Barcelona last season – many supporters would’ve probably been heading to the Nou Camp expecting a tough encounter.
But Messi was in imperious form, scoring twice as Barca romped to an easy 3-0 win.
The way with which they mercilessly disposed of the Italian champions was very impressive indeed, and when you have Messi in your team, anything is possible.
They might have missed out on Coutinho, but they did manage to snag Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, who looked impressive in his full debut against Juve.
There’s been better Barcelona teams, but we reckon 6/1 is far too generous a price for a team with their talent, and for a team who’ll have a serious point to prove to their doubters as the campaign goes on.