Sergio Aguero rates Tottenham as dark horses to win the Champions League and has named three other contenders to lift Europe’s top club trophy.
The 2022-23 Champions League begins on Tuesday night, with defending champions Real Madrid and 2021 winners Chelsea both in action.
Last season’s runners-up Liverpool – who lifted the Champions League in 2020 – kick-start their campaign on Wednesday against Napoli.
Tottenham, who reached the final two years ago, mark their return to the Champions League against Marseille and will fancy qualifying for the knockout stages with Sporting Lisbon and Eintracht Frankfurt also in Group D.
‘With Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham already had a great performance in the Champions League,’ former Manchester City and Barcelona striker Aguero told Stake.
‘Now with Antonio Conte, a coach with a lot of experience, they are managing to be a very solid team. He knows how he wants to play and his counter-attack can be lethal.
‘He has added to Kane and Son with Richarlison and two wingers who are very good assistants like Kulusevski and Perisic.
‘Tottenham will be a very difficult rival for any team. They could be a big threat in Europe this year.’
While dominant in England, Manchester City are still searching for their first Champions League triumph and Aguero believes summer signing Erling Haaland could prove crucial to his former club’s European aspirations.
Haaland has enjoyed a sensational start to his Man City career, scoring ten goals in six Premier League games, including back-to-back hat-tricks.
‘He has been consistent for every team he’s played for,’ Aguero said. ‘He has a very important goals-per-game average and he is proving it now at City as well.
‘He makes me very happy that he is converting because he provides what the team needs, which is goals.
And if that happens, City will have more chances to go as far as possible. He could help them finally break their Champions League hoodoo.’
Aguero also views French champions Paris Saint-Germain and Spanish giants Barcelona as Champions League contenders.
Like Manchester City, PSG have also fallen short in the Champions League in recent years, although they appear to be on the right track under new manager Christophe Galtier.
The team Leo [Messi] is on will always be a candidate,’ Aguero added. ‘He looks like he’s back to his best and Leo has that winning mentality that he needs in any team with an aspiration to achieve everything.
‘We know the competitive spirit of him. And even more so if he is with great players like Mbappe and Neymar. And PSG have already gained a lot of experience in Europe.’
Barcelona, meanwhile, are continuing their rebuild under Xavi and qualified for the Champions League after finishing second in La Liga last term.
‘Barcelona are a great team in Europe,’ Aguero said. It has the weight of its history and now it has also managed to recompose itself with a great squad and a technical director.
‘With that you can compete on an equal footing with anyone. Barca will go through to the next round. It won’t be easy but they will make it.
‘From what we’ve seen so far, Xavi has managed to assemble the group very well and plays attacking football, due to the many options that he now has in attack, which is giving him results.’
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