The Champions League group stages are finally over and they didn’t disappoint now did they?
Far from being a formality that saw the big boys of European football stroll through while the minnows were cast aside, there were plenty of thrills and spills as the best in Europe battled it out for one of 16 spots available in the knockout stages.
The biggest scalp was of course Chelsea. The reigning champions have never ben knocked out at the group stages in it’s current format, but now the west London club hold that dubious honour.
Manchester City hardly covered themselves in glory either as they crashed out with the lowest points total ever accumulated by an English club; although they can be forgiven a little bit given the strength of Group D (D standing for Death, of course).
Elsewhere Malaga made it through despite their financial troubles, Celtic almost lifted the roof off Celtic Park as they made it through alongside Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain qualified at the first attempt in the competition since being taken over by their wealthy Arab owners. Manchester City take note.
Now though there is a lull in European action as the busy domestic schedule takes centre stage over the festive period before the best in Europe restart the battle to be crowned champions in the new year.
96 matches came and went in a flash, with egos left battered and bruised from another thrilling edition of the Champions League, which guaranteed us a new champion. You can't ask for more than that can you?
So there's no better time to look back at all action from the group stages and all the landmarks and milestones reached over the past few months. All stats come courtesy of UEFA.
Chelsea become the first champions to exit at the group stages in the Champions League era.
Manchester City become the first English team to fail to win a group stage game.
Jose Mourinho becomes only the fourth manager to take charge of 100 Champions League games.
Real Madrid made it through to the knockout stages for the 16th consecutive year.
Manchester United’s win over Braga in Portugal meant there were 7 away wins in 12 Group H fixtures.
Iker Casillias moved up to third in the most Champions League appearances list.
Lionel Messi became the second highest Champions League goalscorer of all time.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the first player to score for six different Champions League clubs.
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