Champions League: No place for Ronaldo in Mourinho's Team of the Season; Messi makes the cut
What's the story?
Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed his UEFA Champions League team of the season and believes that Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi deserved to be in the best XI over his former player Cristiano Ronaldo.
Six players from the title-winning Liverpool squad find a place in the lineup, which only consisted of players who made it to the last four of the continental tournament.
In case you didn't know...
Messi finished as the competition's top scorer with 12 goals, while Ronaldo missed out on the honor for the first time since the 2011/12 campaign, as he managed to find the back of the net just six times with Juventus, who were knocked out in the QFs by Ajax.
Neither Messi nor Ronaldo featured in this year's final, the first time such a scenario occurred since the 2013/14 edition, which was also coincidentally played between two clubs from the same country, with Bayern defeating Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund.
Messi has achieved the unique distinction of being the top scorer in his domestic league and the Champions League while also claiming the coveted European Golden Shoe this season. Interestingly, his Portuguese counterpart has also achieved the feat thrice in his career.
The heart of the matter
Mourinho, who has been spending his time appearing as a TV analyst since his sacking in December last year, revealed on his Russia Today's show ‘On the Touchline with Jose Mourinho’ the players he sees as the best performers of this season's UCL.
The two-time Champions League winner opted for a 4-3-3 system.
Jose Mourinho’s 2018/19 Champions League team of the season in full (team, country, age):
Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker (Liverpool, Brazilian, 26)
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, English, 20)
Left-back: Andy Robertson (Liverpool, Scottish, 25)
Center-backs: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, Dutch, 27); Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, Dutch, 19)
Midfield: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax, Dutch, 22), Donny van de Beek (Ajax, Dutch, 22), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham, Danish, 27)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentinian, 31); Sadio Mane (Liverpool, Senegalese, 27); Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egyptian, 26).
While Mourinho's team was similar to the one chosen by UEFA, one glaring exclusion was in the form of Ronaldo. Mourinho defended his decision by saying that as the 34-year-old star did not make it to the semi-finals of the tournament, he could not find a spot in his team. He said on RT:
“In spite of a disappointing second leg at Anfield, Messi. No Ronaldo with an incredible comeback against Atletico [Madrid], no Ronaldo because he didn’t reach the semifinals, but Messi did and did an amazing semifinal first leg too."
Mourinho's next destination remains a mystery and with a new season fast approaching, it remains to be seen where the 'Special One' will be coaching next.