Soccer Power Rankings: Real Madrid stays at top despite losing Ronaldo, Juventus rises

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The start of the Premier League season is on Friday and in the coming weeks, the top leagues in Europe will officially return to action after a short summer break due to the World Cup in Russia.

As European clubs continue their preparation for the 2018-19 campaign with preseason tournaments, super cups and more, we'll examine how they rank entering the season. Here is the first edition of CBS Sports' Power Rankings:

World Club Power Rankings

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1.

Real Madrid (ESP)

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When you win three straight Champions League titles, you are easily first. But there are a lot of questions, like how in the heck is this team going to replace Cristiano Ronaldo after leaving for Juventus? Los Blancos may be first, but unless they bring in some big-time replacements, they likely won't hang around the top spot for long. 

2.

Juventus (ITA)

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Getting Ronaldo is massive and it moves this team into the top three Champions League contenders. But equally important was getting Leonardo Bonucci back from Milan. I love what this team has, but are they really going to go with Wojciech Szczęsny in goal? Mattia Perin must start. 
3.

Bayern Munich (GER)

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Always super strong, the team hasn't added much but secured a great young player in Leon Goretzka. The general feeling is that this team will run away with the title in Germany but doesn't feel complete enough to win the Champions League. With some aging stars, some more established top players are needed, especially on the wing. Arjen Robben can't play forever.

4.

Barcelona (ESP)

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Lionel Messi and company shouldn't have a trouble winning La Liga with Ronaldo gone, but it will all be about the Champions League with this team. The team added Arturo Vidal and some top young Brazilians in Malcom and Arthur, and that beefed-up midfield should be enough to make a very deep run in the Champions League.

5.

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

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Like Barcelona, PSG's success will be measured by how it does in the Champions League. Win it, and the season is a tremendous success. Lose, and it will be a season to forget. This team has put so much money into building a squad strong enough to win a continental title, and with Thomas Tuchel leading the way, this could be the season.

6.

Liverpool (ENG)

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Jurgen Klopp continues to build the Reds into a powerhouse, and they'll be expecting another run at the Premier League and Champions League titles. Still without a pure striker, this team will be hoping the speed of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane continues to terrorize teams.

7.

Manchester City (ENG)

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Toss City into the group of teams like Barca and PSG that have to win the Champions League to truly feel the season was a true success. Riyad Mahrez adds some talent and depth to this squad in attack, but it will come down to the central defense, as always. John Stones must be more consistent. 

8.

Atletico Madrid (ESP)

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A real chance here to have an amazing season with Real Madrid weakened. Thomas Lemar is a quality addition, but this team really doesn't need much. Santiago Arias from PSV is an underrated signing that could prove to be an upgrade over Sime Vrsaljko.

9.

Manchester United (ENG)

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This team, on paper, is good enough to win the Premier League and make a run in the Champions League, but there is something about the squad that doesn't convince me. Maybe it is the inconsistent central defense or Paul Pogba really not playing at a top level for this squad. Don't be shocked if this season is a lot like last season.

10.

Roma (ITA)

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The run to the Champions League semifinals gives this team great hope entering the upcoming season, but it's going to be hard to top. Likely well behind Juventus in the Serie A race, it's also unlikely we'll see this team make it past the quarterfinals in Europe. 

11.

Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)

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Fans aren't pleased with the club's failure to bring in anybody in, but they also haven't lost anybody, and that's a reason to be optimistic. When in form, Spurs can beat any team in Europe, but the first step must be winning some type of trophy. 

12.

Arsenal (ENG)

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Love what the Gunners have up top and in the middle, but I don't care for this team at the back or with Unai Emery running the show. He's failed over and over again to win the important games (don't give me the Europa League argument), and his teams always have trouble holding onto leads. He'll have time in London to make it work, but I'm not sure he can.

13.

Napoli (ITA)

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Napoli is a strong squad that was within striking distance of winning the Serie A last season, and that should be the focus this season. Losing Jorginho hurts, but the Italian club has added some quality with guys like Fabian Ruiz (Real Betis) and Simone Verdi (Bologna).

14.

Inter Milan (ITA)

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I love the additions Inter made, but I also loved what AC Milan did last summer while remembering the game isn't played on paper. The Lautaro Martinez (Racing) and Mauro Icardo strike duo could be world class, and if this team finds consistency, watch out.

15.

Borussia Dortmund (GER)

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Good enough to return to second place in Germany, BVB hasn't lost much and has boosted its defense. Christian Pulisic continues to shine and should be a big-time contributor once again.

16.

Gremio (BRA)

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The current kings of South America are well positioned in the Brazilian top flight, while also preparing for the Copa Libertadores round of 16 against Estudiantes this Tuesday. Luan continues to shine, and this team will likely be a threat in every competition it plays.

17.

Boca Juniors (ARG)

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Winners of consecutive Argentina first division titles, it's all about the Libertadores for Boca. The club has been busy adding three likely starters to the squad, and none more important than goalkeeper Esteban Andrada from Lanus. Mauro Zarate has also looked sharp early on, and this team has what it takes to win its seventh Copa Libertadores. 

18.

Chelsea (ENG)

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Yeah, 18 may be a little high but with Maurizio Sarri and Jorginho running the midfield, the Blues should be well positioned to fight for a top-four spot and potentially win the Europa League. 

19.

Monaco (FRA)

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A strong second-place finish in France last season, Monaco always seems to reload despite losing important players. The next big, young talent for this club is Aleksandr Golovin, who starred with Russia at the 2018 World Cup and just joined this past summer from CSKA Moscow. Another second-place finish in Ligue 1 is likely.

20.

Valencia (ESP)

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Finally with a proper, experienced manager who knows the Spanish game, Valencia is back to being a threat and will play in the Champions League. Rodrigo leads the attack and Geoffrey Kondogbia is the main man in the middle. This team didn't lose anybody important. Watch out for Daniel Wass, who joined from Celta Vigo. The Dane is versatile and adds much-needed depth.

21.

Porto (POR)

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Still a tad stronger than rival Benfica, Porto lost some key players to Premier League clubs but always seems to reload, kind of like Monaco. This team should again be there in the end when it comes to the Portuguese league.

22.

Lazio (ITA)

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Unlucky to miss out on the Champions League but did well to hold onto highly-rated Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. I'm still not convinced this team can crack the top four.

23.

Flamengo (BRA)

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The Brazilian giants are in a fine moment, in the thick of domestic league race and reaching the Copa Libertadores round of 16. Getting past Cruzeiro won't be easy, but Flamengo is the favorite to go through. 

24.

Schalke (GER)

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Weston McKennie's squad finished a surprising second place last season in the Bundesliga and has some fantastic young talent, but how will they replace Goretzka, who departed to Bayern on a free transfer?

25.

Atletico Nacional (COL)

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The Colombians should make the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals with Atletico Tucuman their opponent in the round of 16, and they are in first place in the domestic league. If the success continues, you can expect national teams and clubs to come after coach Jorge Almiron, who has had tremendous success over the last few years.
CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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