It’s quarter-final time in Europe’s most elite club competition and there really is nothing like it once we reach this point.
The clubs can begin to see the final once we get to this stage, just two more teams to overcome and they will have seized Champions League glory. Everything goes up a notch.
Not to mention, the quality that will be on the show for the millions that tune in around the world. The Champions League, from this stage onwards, is the highest level of football on display anywhere. Fact.
So, if we were to take the remaining eight teams: Benfica, Liverpool, Villarreal, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and then make the best XI possible, what would it be?
Well, luckily for you, we took it upon ourselves to find out- take a look at what we came up with below:
UEFA Champions League: Best combined XI
GK- Edouard Mendy
RB- Trent Alexander-Arnold
CB- Ruben Dias
CB- Virgil Van Djik
LB- Andy Robertson
CDM- Joshua Kimmich
CM- Kevin De Bruyne
RW- Mohamed Salah
ST- Robert Lewandowski
LW- Vinicius Jr
It was a tough decision to pick our best keeper but we’ve gone with Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy. Prior to this season it would have been Jan Oblak; however, given his save percentage has fallen from an incredible 76.5% average throughout his Atletico career to just 57% this season, his poor form has seen him overlooked.
Right-back was easy, Trent Alexander-Arnold can do things no player in his position has ever done before, his creative numbers are simply outrageous and his defensive deficiencies are over-exaggerated. Walks into the team.
Our centre-backs are also straight out of the Premier League, Ruben Dias and Virgil Van Djik have been titans at the back ever since they joined their respective teams and will be our backbone.
At left-back it’s Andy Robertson. No other player in Europe has delivered as consistently as the Scotsman over the past four years or so, you could argue Renan Lodi or Joao Cancelo might run him close on current performance, but the Liverpool man just holds onto his place.
The anchor in our team, Joshua Kimmich is a classy player. The German is both solid defensively and a creative outlet, having averaged 0.41 assists per game in the Bundesliga this season.
The remainder of our midfielder picked itself. Two Champions League finalists from last year and the best players in either of their team’s, N’Golo Kante and Kevin De Bruyne would be a phenomenal pairing in the middle of the park. The work-rate of the Frenchman and the creativity of ‘KDB’ would make this team unstoppable.
‘The Egyptian King’ rightfully takes up his position on our right-wing. Salah has arguably been the best player in the world over the past year and no one even got close to challenging him for the position.
Now, if you don’t think Salah is the best player in the world, you most likely think it’s our number nine. Robert Lewandowski, the Bayern Munich goal machine, 31 goals in 28 league games is an incredible feat yet he hits these numbers relentlessly. It was tough leaving out Karim Benzema on current form, and yes, we could have gone with a 4-4-2, but where’s the balance in that side…
One Real Madrid player made it into this team, though, as Vinicius Jr slots in to provide some youthfulness and energy on our left-flank. The 21-year-old has took his game to the next level this year and might even be Brazil’s star player going into the Qatar World Cup this winter.