European football: Best XI of 2012/13


Following yet another superb season of European football, we take a look at the top performers across the continent.

The top leagues have been compelling, but with the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona securing their respective titles by big margins, the quality of football never failed to entertain.

As a result of Bayern's triumphant treble, it is no surprise that they dominate this European XI.

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer | Bayern Munich

The German may not have had much to do following a superb back four in front of him this season, but when he was called upon the shot-stopper answered. For a relatively young goalkeeper it was also impressive how he was able to command such an organised defence.

Right-back: Philipp Lahm | Bayern Munich

The Bayern Munich captain has long been hailed as the best full-back in the game and it is to no surprise he makes the team. Solid at the back and so effective going forward, Lahm was instrumental en-route to his side's historic treble win.

Centre-back: Dante | Bayern Munich

The Brazilian colossus of a centre-back has come on leaps and bounds this season. His displays have earned him much praise, his technical ability combined with his physical attributes has provided the Germans the platform to build the meanest defence in Europe, conceding a mere league 18 goals.

Centre-back: Giorgio Chiellini | Juventus

Bedrock of a Juventus side that reclaimed their Serie A title this season. The no-nonsense Italian was pivotal as the Turin club only conceded 26 times in the 2012/13 campaign.

Left-back: David Alaba | Bayern Munich

The pacy defender was a revelation this season, demonstrating why he has become one of the best full-backs in Europe. The Austrian was up and down like a yo-yo in every game this season.

Centre-midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger | Bayern Munich

The 'general' of the Bayern Munich side, Schweinsteiger was the focal point of the European and German champions. Dominating the middle of the park, the German exhibited strength, speed, awareness and passing ability better than no other midfielder this season. His inspiring performances against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final was testament to that.

Centre-midfielder: Michael Carrick | Manchester United

Perhaps a surprise selection but the midfield maestro was the driving force in Manchester United's resurgent re-claim of the title. Orchestrating United's attacks and breaking up play impressively, the unsung hero also provided an abundance of assists.

Left-wing: Gareth Bale | Tottenham

Crowned Player of the Year in the Premier League, the Welsh wizard was in sublime form for Tottenham, particularly in the second half of the season. Single-handedly, his goals and performances were winning his side games.

Right-wing: Cristiano Ronaldo | Real Madrid

Like Messi, the £80m man provided the majority of goals for his club, netting 34 goals for a trophy-less Real Madrid. Only Lionel Messi has better stats, which is saying something.

Centre-forward: Lionel Messi | Barcelona

The little magician was once again in blistering form and despite Barcelona's failures in Europe, the Argentine once again proved why he is the world's best, scoring a sensational 46 goals in 32 games over the course of the league campaign.

Robin van Persie | Manchester United

Following his move from rivals Arsenal, the Dutchman took no time at all adapt to life at Old Trafford and netted an impressive number of goals. After a tussle for his signature last summer, between both Manchester clubs, Van Persie opted for United. The frontman was clearly the difference between the clubs, as Sir Alex Ferguson's side finished 11 points ahead of their counterparts.


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