AC Milan, Juventus and Italy legend Andrea Pirlo has named Liverpool and Manchester among five teams he expects to be serious contenders to win the Champions League this season.
Juventus are favourites to win the Champions League this season after completing the €100m capture of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer to strengthen their already supremely talented squad, and there are only a handful of others Pirlo believes could match them.
"There are four or five teams, including Juventus, then there are Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich. The teams are more or less those," the retired midfield maestro told the media in Italy this week, via CalcioMercato.
Pirlo seemingly doesn't believe the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain will get their act together to challenge this season.
Jurgen Klopp's free-scoring Liverpool side reached the final of last season's competition. They are challenging in the Premier League this season and have generally made a good start in Europe, despite a blip against Napoli on matchday two.
Manchester City have also started the domestic season unbeaten and are looking to build on a monumental 2017/18 campaign by extending their recent dominance to an continental level.
Seeking a first Champions League title for manager Pep Guardiola since his win with Barcelona in 2011, City have also stuttered in the group stage after a shock defeat against Lyon but are expected to now cruise through to the knockout rounds after getting back on track.
Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2015, while Bayern last won it in 2013.
Pirlo himself was a two-time Champions League winner with Milan in 2003 and 2007. He famously lost the 2005 final against Liverpool in Istanbul, while he was also on the losing side for Juventus against Barcelona in 2015 at the very end of his European career.