Steve McManaman won a host of trophies during his time with Liverpool and Real Madrid, including two Champions League titles. Ahead of his trip to Singapore for the Battle of Europe between England and Germany legends, who better to ask about the current state of European football?
1. Thanks for your time Steve. Let's start with this – which league do you currently consider the strongest in Europe?
The English Premier League is definitely the most competitive and arguably the most entertaining in Europe at the moment.
The EPL is the most competitive league in the world. There are currently five, six or seven sides who can win the title
2. Spain's La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga have all taken turns leading the way in the UEFA Champions League over the past decade. Could you please give us a few thoughts on each league?
La Liga is all about very technical football. It has the best players in the world, they have three top sides, but then there is a big gap to the rest.
The EPL is the most competitive league in the world. There are currently five, six or seven sides who can win the title. Leicester City showed last year what a unique league the EPL is.
It’s a very interesting time with such high-profile managers in England – Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp etc.
With the Bundesliga, it’s basically Bayern Munich versus the rest – they keep getting stronger! Borussia Dortmund generally keep having to sell their stars in order to survive. Unfortunately Bayern don’t get the level of competition that the team deserves.
3. Who do you view as the favourites for this year’s Champions League title?
Bayern Munich – I thought they were very unlucky last year and if they keep their key players fit, they have a very good chance this year.
Carlo Ancelotti has a great record in the competition as well as being a top manager
4. What are your favourite memories of competing in European club football?
I love travelling and experiencing different cultures and atmosphere. The stadiums differ depending on what country you are in.
Turkey for example is an incredibly hostile environment for travelling players.
It’s also interesting seeing how different European clubs and players approach the games tactically and their attitude towards the game.
5. When do you think we might see Liverpool FC back in the Champions League?
6. Just on Liverpool, what were your thoughts when Jurgen Klopp was appointed and what do you make of his time in charge so far?
Jurgen is a great manager. He could have been an instant hero, but he was unlucky to lose to Manchester City on penalties in the League Cup final last year.
No European football this year could be a big benefit and judging on the first few games of the season, there isn’t a fitter team in the country. The signs are very positive!
7. What did you make of Zinedine Zidane’s appointment at Real Madrid and how do you think he has performed so far?
It was a logical appointment. I must admit, I was surprised when they sacked Ancelotti, and even more surprised when they appointed Rafa Benitez!
Zidane’s clearly been a big success, he got close to the league title last year and won the Champions League.
8. We know management is so volatile, of course, but do you see Klopp and Zidane remaining at the helm in the medium- to long-term?
I certainly hope so. Both managers are in good positions and let’s hope it’s the start of a legacy for both clubs. It’s never nice to see a manager get the sack.
9. Which out of Liverpool and Real Madrid do you see as most likely to add to their haul of Champions League trophies first?
Madrid – because they are in the competition this year! Hopefully both will win it in the not-too-distant future.
I absolutely love Singapore. The culture, food and people are all first class
10. How much are you looking forward to taking part in the Battle of Europe and what are your expectations for the match? Also, we know you’ve spent quite a bit of time in Singapore, what are your thoughts on the country?
I absolutely love Singapore – the passion for football is massive! The culture, food and people are all first class.
And I’m really looking forward to the Battle Of Europe. The Singapore National Stadium is a fantastic arena to play football in.
It’s always a pleasure playing alongside Scholesy too and I’m looking forward to doing so again!
Thanks Steve and we can't wait to see you back at Singapore's National Stadium!
Organisers have released 25,000 tickets for the match on November 12, starting from $19. Family packages and VIP Packages are also available at $100 and $200 respectively.