Football

Europe's elite: Champions XI

Lionel Messi leads the line. (©GettyImages)
Lionel Messi leads the line. (©GettyImages).

All the major football leagues in Europe have either started are just a couple of weeks away. 

These are the tense times for an average football fan, as he hopes that his team will tie-up loose ends and finish business in the transfer market.

Now for one last time, let us look back on last season, focussing on the league champions from the top divisions all across Europe. 

Given a chance to make an all-star team made up entirely of players from European league champions, who would you pick?

Here, GMS Academy contributor Ravi Teja picks his side, having stuck to the top five leagues in Europe: Spain, England, Germany, Italy and France.

GK - Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

The German international has been part of the Bayern team that won the treble last season. 

The Bavarian defence made history as they set the record for least number of goals conceded in a Bundesliga season (18).

Neuer broke the record for the most competitive cleansheets in a row, going over 1000 minutes without his goal being breached.

He also held four consecutive cleansheets in Champions League knockouts against Juventus and Barcelona.

RB - Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)

Quite possibly the best right-back in the world at the moment.

He had the highest number of assists in the league at 11 and a pass completion rate of 88.8%, with 42 key passes.

Not only an attacking threat, he won 61.7% of all his challenges and went the whole season without receiving a caution in the league.

He did all this while leading his team to the historic treble.

RCB - Dante (Bayern Munich)

Signed from ‘Gladbach last year for a measly €4.7m, he was thrust straight into the team due to an injury to Alaba, and has not looked back since. 

His stats back his ability as a ball playing centre-back, as he completed a whopping 92.1% of his 1832 passes this season.

His contribution to Bayern’s record-breaking defence (conceding only 18 all season, beating the old record of 21), was recognised in Brazil and he received his first cap for the Seleção back in February against England.

He followed it with a Confederation Cup Gold with Brazil.

LCB - Thiago Silva (PSG)

Another Brazilian centre-half, Thiago Silva has justified his €35m price tag by helping his team bring the Ligue 1 trophy back to Parc des Princes.

He marshalled the PSG back-line with authority as they kept 23 clean sheets last season. 

He has established himself as the first-choice centre-back in the Brazilian line-up ahead of next year's World Cup. 

His Confederation Cup gold in Brazil rounded off an impressive season for the former AC Milan player.

LB - Jordi Alba (Barcelona)

Jordi Alba came to FC Barcelona after being one of the revelations of Euro 2012. 

After winning the title, he left Valencia in exchange for £12 million. 

His rapid runs down the left and his tight defending made him one of the first-choice defenders at the Camp Nou. 

He made 29 La Liga appearances, helping Barca to their 22 league title and was the third highest passer in the league, topped only by Xavi and Rayo Vallecano's Roberto Trashorras. 

He also started every one of the Champions League matches and scored two goals.

RCM - Michael Carrick (Machester United)

At the age of 31, he has finally matured as a player, seems to have the world at his feet when in possession, the vision of Paul Scholes but unlike his United teammate, Carrick can actually tackle.

His talents were summed up perfectly in his sides 3-3 draw against Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final last season, where he picked out a seemingly impossible reverse pass, perfectly weighted and disguised to land on Javier Hernandez's head, for the little Mexican to superbly finish the move of with a clever header.

Carrick's form has made him top of the pecking order in the United ranks. Something you would have never thought three years ago.

LCM - Arturo Vidal (Juventus)

The Chile international was Juventus’ top scorer in all competitions – an extraordinary achievement considering his primary role is to win the ball and stop the opposition – and the driving force as the retained the Scudetto. 

Vidal’s grit, determination and never-say-die personality was best exemplified when Juve found themselves two goals down against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as he scored and played for more than an hour with a limp to drag his side to a 2-2 draw. 

Nicknamed ‘The Warrior’, Vidal consistently overshadowed his midfield partner Andrea Pirlo and it is little wonder that Real Madrid are chasing his signature. 

RAM - Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Last term, Muller formed a frightening attacking midfield trio together with Franck Ribery and either Arjen Robben or Toni Kroos and enjoyed his best personal campaign to date with 23 goals and 17 assists. 

Like Robben, the 22-year-old discovered a knack for scoring in the big games, netting in every Champions League knockout round up until the final – including home and away in the 7-0 thumping of Barcelona - and in the DFB-Pokal final. 

LAM - Frank Ribery (Bayern Munich)

An absolutely stunning season for Ribery as he yet again set himself apart from the rest in the Bundesliga.

He was the league leader for assists with 14 in his 27 appearances, and grabbed himself a more than respectable 10 goals as well on his way to being named ‘Player of the Season’ by the official Bundesliga website. 

He is simply a world-class footballer and quite possibly one of the most underrated footballers around by those who do not watch much German football.

I would expect him to be very close to winning the Ballon d’Or considering the achievements of Bayern this season.

CF - Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

The 26-year-old enjoyed yet another outrageous statistical season, scoring 60 goals in 50 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions to win the European Golden Shoe, while also registering on nine occasions for Argentina to put them on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup. 

Were it not for a niggling hamstring injury, Messi may have even surpassed the 73-goal total he set in 2011-12. 

He may also have had more to show in terms of team honours than just La Liga. Record after individual record was broken over the course of the season. These include most goals ever in a calendar year, scoring in consecutive matches against every La Liga team and claiming a fourth successive Ballon d’Or.

ST - Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

The Dutchman caused huge controversy by opting to leave Arsenal for rivals Manchester United, but his signing proved to be a masterstroke by manager Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Van Persie finished top scorer in England, with 26 league goals, as Manchester United reclaimed the title from local rivals City. 

Van Persie boasted a superb record in the big games, scoring against all of the Premier League’s top-eight teams – including a memorable last-minute winner in the Manchester derby.

 

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Arturo Vidal
Manuel Neuer
Robin Van Persie
Football
Franck Ribery
Lionel Messi

Article Comments

Trending

Read more

;