Champions League XI: The best players in the 2021/22 competition

Champions League XI

We now know the two sides that will compete in the 2021/22 Champions League final – Liverpool and Real Madrid.

The two clubs have 19 European Cups between them with Real Madrid looking for their 14th triumph, and Liverpool their seventh.

Given their history in the competition, it’s not too much of a surprise to see either side in the final.

But their passage to the final couldn’t have been more different.

Let’s start with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were entered into the ‘Group of Death’ but won all six matches against AC Milan, Porto and Atletico Madrid. They were rewarded with a more comfortable run to the final overcoming Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal.

As for Real Madrid, they won five of their six group stage matches with a shock home defeat to Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol thrown in there. But they’ve produced stunning comebacks in their knockout matches against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and now Man City.

While Liverpool and Real Madrid have been the two best clubs in this year’s competition by the fact they’ve made it to the final, who have been the best players?

Well, we’ve used WhoScored stats to work out the best XI in the Champions League so far – and only five will feature in the final.

Let’s check it out:

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (7.1)

Courtois has kept just four clean sheets in his 12 appearances in the competition this season, conceding 14 goals. However, he’s saved his side on numerous occasions – especially during the knockout stages with big saves at crucial times. It’s worth noting that he’s actually the worst rated player in this XI.

Real Madrid v Manchester City Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Champions League

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (7.2)

Alexander-Arnold is still only 23-years-old and is set to play in his third Champions League final. The Liverpool right-back has played eight of the 12 games this season, picking up four assists.

Left-back: Joao Cancelo (7.7)

Cancelo has missed three games in the Champions League this season and City have won just one of them – the 4-3 first leg win over Real Madrid. In his nine appearances, the Portuguese has scored twice and registered three assists.

Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk (7.2)

Van Dijk has been at his very best this season – and that includes in the Champions League where he’s played eight games, winning seven of them. You feel he has a big role to play in the final to keep Karim Benzema quiet if Liverpool are to win it.

Centre-back: Ibrahima Konate (7.2)

Konate appears to have established himself as Liverpool’s Champions League centre-back alongside Van Dijk. Konate missed the first four games of the European campaign but has played seven of the eight games since. He even contributed to a goal home and away against Benfica and is yet to lose in a Liverpool shirt.

Liverpool v Villarreal Semi Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League

Right-midfield: Riyad Mahrez (7.7)

Mahrez appeared to send Man City through to the Champions League final with a brilliant strike in the second leg against Real Madrid. That was his seventh goal of the competition having started 11 of City’s 12 matches in the Champions League this season.

Left-midfield: Kingsley Coman (8.0)

Coman has actually been the second best player in the Champions League this season. That’s perhaps a shock considering he’s started eight of Bayern Munich’s 10 matches in the campaign, scoring just twice.

Centre-midfield: Leroy Sane (7.9)

Sane in central midfield? Okay then…

To be fair, Sane has played centrally on a few occasions this season – and he’s had a sensational Champions League campaign. Six goals and six assists in 10 matches mean the German deserves his place in this XI despite a quarter-final exit.

Centre-midfield: Joshua Kimmich (7.5)

Kimmich makes it three Bayern Munich midfielders in this XI – hardly surprising considering they scored 22 goals in the group stages plus eight past, RB Salzberg, in the last-16. Kimmich didn’t score or assist in his eight appearances – although his role as a defensive midfielder was crucial until their elimination against Villarreal.

FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

Striker: Robert Lewandowski (7.9)

Lewandowski’s 13 goals in 10 Champions League matches this season have been overshadowed by Benzema. The Pole scored nine in the first five matches of the competition but could only manage one in 180 minutes against Villarreal as Bayern crashed out.

Striker: Karim Benzema (8.1)

The best player in the Champions League this season.

Eleven matches, 15 goals. Just incredible from the Frenchman. He’s only failed to score in two Champions League matches this season – Inter Milan away and Paris Saint-Germain away.

Real Madrid v Manchester City Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
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The final XI

So, there we have the best XI of the Champions League so far.

Three Liverpool players and two Real Madrid men make it. Although they won’t be too concerned about that right now as they prepare to compete in the biggest match in club football.

With Bayern dominating the group stages, they have four players in the XI with Manchester City making up the other two slots.

It’s been an incredible Champions League campaign and we’re set up for an amazing final in Paris between two of the most successful sides in the competition’s history.

Bring. It. On.

Champions League XI of the season
Champions League XI of the season

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