The view from Europe - Make one big sporting prediction for 2019
We asked our Eurosport colleagues across the continent to make one big sporting prediction for 2019. The answers came back thick and fast... and here's what they said...
Eurosport Italy: Paolo Pegoraro – Juventus to win the Champions League
Juventus will win the Champions League 2018/2019 after 23 years of waiting. Allegri’s team have all the ingredients to win and can count on a Cristiano Ronaldo at 110% of his powers. I think Juventus are the main favourites for the title and have demonstrated their quality in the group stage. Juve are stronger than last year, mentally ready to win and above all ready to destroy the curse.
Juventus players celebrateGetty Images
Eurosport Germany: Tobias Laure – Alexander Zverev to win a Grand Slam
When it comes to Eurosport sports and German hopes for 2019 I definitely have to pick Alexander Zverev. After weak results in nearly all Grand Slam the 21-year-old Hamburg guy raised expectations at the end of the year by winning the ATP Finals in London. Now everything seems possible – even his first Grand Slam title. We think he will manage it next year. Roland Garros is a “Mission impossible” as long as Rafael Nadal is playing – but Melbourne and maybe New York offer the chance for Zverev to make his dream come true. Our expert and six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker told us: “With the confidence of being ATP World Champion, with Lendl in his corner and another year of tennis, the opportunities in Melbourne will be greater than last year.” We go one step further and say: the next Australian Open champion will be Alexander Zverev.
Eurosport Russia: Maxim Akmantsev – Roger Federer to retire
At first we wanted to declare that Messi/Ronaldo will get the Ballon d’Or back. But it’s too easy and obvious. Let’s make some uncertain predictions like... hmmmm... let us think. Oh! There you go!
Roger Federer will retire at the end of the 2019. And he's already getting his fans prepared for this sad moment. He’s not getting younger (surprise-surprise) and is increasingly losing important matches against top-4 players. His quotes make fans overcome a cold shiver.
"To come through and win again here in my hometown, never knowing if this might be your last time that you had the opportunity to play a final, maybe win for the last time here in my city, it obviously means a lot to me and it becomes very emotional," Federer said in Basel this year.
Wait! What? Last time! Please don't say that Roger.
But he did. And the only thing left for us… is to sit around and wait for The Signal. Federer will never retire before he says goodbye to Paris. If Federer enters a clay part of the season in 2019 than we're all in trouble. Then we'll have to all get our handkerchiefs ready and prepare to cry out loud. So let us wait for the late spring to see what happens.
Roger Federer Getty Images
Eurosport UK: Tom Bennett – Ireland to win the Rugby World Cup
There’s something special happening in Irish rugby. This current crop has strength in depth right across the park, while they can arguably include the best scrum-half and best fly-half in the world amongst their number.
In Joe Schmidt it’s fair to say that Ireland have the most tactically savvy coach in the world, and while their style isn’t always the prettiest, they are exceptionally effective – particularly at the breakdown.
Win against England in Dublin on the opening weekend of the Six Nations and they should go on to take a second title in two years… but it’s the World Cup that’s the real goal, and they’ve shown they have what it takes to beat the very best with two wins over the All Blacks in the last two years.
This current Ireland generation has echoes of the dominant Australian team in 1999, England team in 2003 and All Blacks side of 2015. It feels like their time.
Eurosport Norway: Jonas Moen Rye – Warholm to beat Samba to 400m gold
Our one sporting prediction of 2019 is that this will be the year that Karsten Warholm finally beats his nemesis Abderrahman Samba in his own home in the world championships in Qatar, and with that defend his World Championship victory from London 2017.
Warholm failed to beat Samba every time they competed last season. But he beat him in London when the Qatar runner ended as number seven in the 400m hurdle final.
Eurosport Spain: Ivan Castello - Spain to dominate world sport in 2019
Real Madrid celebrate after their Champions League win over LiverpoolGetty Images
Three football teams, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético, will fight to win the Champions League again, just as there will be strong representatives in the Europa League. Spanish sides will always be favourites in the two competitions.
Rafael Nadal will be the star of tennis in 2019, with aspirations to win yet again at Roland Garros and twelfth title, but also with options to increase his haul if there are no injuries in the rest of the Grand Slam tournaments.
Fernando Alonso, with his departure from Formula 1, will once again be the biggest star in WEC... and will be hopeful of defending his title at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Eurosport Poland: Piotr Kwiatkowski – Lewandowski to leave Bayern and sign for United
Robert Lewandowski will leave Bayern Munich. The German champions are in the wake of big overhaul with Ribery and Robben leaving the club in the summer, but Lewandowski won't wait in Munich in pursuit to win the Champions League, which is his big dream. The new Bayern squad will need time to adapt and he won't wait for them, because time's running out for him. He'll finish this season as the all-time overseas scorer in the Bundesliga, as he is only four goals adrift to Claudio Pizarro as of late December, so in Germany he will break many records. But he won't win the Champions League there. Kovac's defence is like a colander.
His agent Pini Zahavi will send the rumour to clubs in Europe that his client would like to change league. Probably for Bayern it'll be the last call to cash in on Lewandowski as he will turn 31 in summer of 2019. They will look for new strikers, wingers and a defender.
Lewandowski would be a good pick for Manchester United.
Thank you to our Eurosport colleagues for their contributions to this article.