Sergio Ramos..

Sevilla's brilliant XI if they hadn't sold their key players

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Sevilla are no pushovers in the Champions League, just ask Liverpool.

While traditionally not in the same league as the big three in Spain - Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid - it's always a brave decision to bet against the Andalusian side. Jose Mourinho's Manchester United certainly won't be entering the round-of-16 clash with any great assumptions, either.

Los Rojiblancos held Liverpool home and away during the group stages and won the Europa League three times in a row between 2014 and 2016.

Tonight, United make the trip to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium and will hoping to draw inspiration from Liverpool's first-half performance at that very stadium, as opposed to the second.

And while the Red Devils can expect to line up against a daunting starting XI, Mourinho would truly have been in trouble if Sevilla had, hypothetically, never sold any of their star players.

A great number of star players have pulled on the club's jersey in the 21st century with many going onto European juggernauts such as Real Madrid, AC Milan and Manchester City.

In light of that, take a look at what might have been for a Spanish club only a few signings away from attracting serious attention in Europe:

GK | Sergio Rico

No need for change here with Rico proving a brilliant talent between the sticks for Sevilla since making his senior debut in 2014. An academy product, Spain international and an exciting prospect at the age of 24.

RB | Dani Alves

The defence is where things really start to shape up for Sevila. Dani Alves spent six years at the club before time with Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in which he made the FIFPro World XI on seven occasions.

Sevilla's Brazilian Daniel Alves celebra

CB | Adil Rami

Only just left the club for Marseille this summer but spent two successful years in Spain. A strong and physical centre-back with experience at AC Milan and Valencia as well as 33 caps with France.

CB | Sergio Ramos 

What were we saying about the defence? Ramos kick-started his career in Sevilla, rising through the youth ranks before a season in the first-team saw Real Madrid snap him up. Since leaving, he has won three Champions League titles, two European Championships and the World Cup.

Real Madrid v Sevilla

LB | Adriano/Alberto Moreno

Difficult one to choose here, between an eventual Barcelona full-back and the individually more successful but much debated Liverpool defender. Make your own pick here yet it goes to show that Sevilla are no strangers to attracting big clubs with their defenders.

CM | Steven Nzonzi

What a player Nzonzi has turned out to be since his mediocre spells with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City. The Frenchman is an absolute staple in the Sevilla starting XI and has attracted prominent interest from Arsenal in recent transfer windows.

CM | Ivan Rakitic

There's a bit of a theme emerging here, isn't there? Rakitic became the indomitable midfielder he is now during three years with Sevilla before eventually joining Barcelona to hoover up trophies with Blaugrana.

Sevilla FC v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - La Liga

CM | Geoffrey Kondogbia

A midfield duo of Kondogbia and Nzonzi would certainly be one to fear and the Frenchman is back in Spain with Valencia after time with AS Monaco and Inter Milan. He has never kicked on to the level predicted for him but remains a true talent on the European stage.

RW | Jesus Navas

Hit the ground running at Manchester City when he left Sevilla and now finds himself back at the club that made him. The Spaniard has a World Cup, European Championship and Premier League title to his name.

Sevilla v Atletico de Madrid - Spanish Copa del Rey

ST | Carlos Bacca

A true goal scorer during his time at Sevilla - finding the net 49 times in 108 outings for the club. The Colombian has since enjoyed a season with AC Milan and has now returned to Iberia with Villarreal.

LW | Alvaro Negredo

The ex-Manchester City man probably wouldn't appreciate being played out wide, but it was a necessary sacrifice to fit him into the team. The 32-year-old was at his goalscoring peak with Sevilla before being prematurely sold by City slammed the brakes on his career.

Sevilla's forward Alvaro Negredo reacts

Honourable mentions

Ever Banega - now in his second spell with Sevilla and continuing to impress.

Iago Aspas - has enjoyed success in his native country, but will always be held back by his Liverpool failure.

Yevhen Konoplyanka - a thoroughly talented Ukrainian winger now at Schalke.

Seydou Keita - spent a season with Sevilla before becoming a fan's favourite at Barcelona.

Federico Fazio - made his name at Sevilla yet never inspired at Tottenham.

Where do you think Sevilla would be with this starting XI? Have your say in the comments section below.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

Ivan Rakitic
La Liga

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