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Champions League: Team of the Season

ANALYST
Feature
11 May 2019, 22:37 IST

Virgil van Dijk and Lionel Messi
Virgil van Dijk and Lionel Messi

We are lining up for an all English Champions League final in Madrid as Liverpool will square up against Tottenham Hotspur for the biggest prize in European club football at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on June 2.

The current edition of the Champions League witnessed a number of incredible comebacks and is perhaps the most enthralling campaign in the history of the competition. A number of big teams like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid struggled to get going this season, whereas, underdogs like Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur exceeded all the expectations.

Right on this note, here's the best XI of the Champions League 2018-19.


Goalkeeper

Alisson played a huge role in Liverpool's success this season
Alisson played a huge role in Liverpool's success this season

Alisson

Two embarrassing errors from Loris Karius in the final of the Champions League against Real Madrid last season cost Liverpool the chance of becoming the Champions of Europe for the sixth time.

The Reds addressed that issue by splashing a whopping amount of £66.9 million to sign Alisson Becker from AS Roma last summer and the Brazillian international played a huge role in the Merseysiders' run to the final of the competition this campaign.

The 26-year-old made a big save in the final seconds of the Reds' final group stage game against Napoli, which eventually proved vital in Liverpool's qualification for the knock-out stages of the competition. Former AS Roma man was also in his top form during the second leg of the semi-finals tie against Barcelona, preventing the Blaugrana from scoring an invaluable away goal.


Defenders

Virgil van Dijk is arguably the best defender in the world
Virgil van Dijk is arguably the best defender in the world

Trent Alexander-Arnold: The young English full-back has been in a terrific form this season and has impressed one and all with his performances in both the Champions League and the Premier League.

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The 20-year-old assisted three goals in the Champions League this season, including two in the Liverpool's incredible comeback against Barcelona in the second leg of the semi-finals tie.

Apart from his attacking contributions, he also showed maturity while defending and he averages 1.9 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per game in Europe's elite competition this campaign.

Matthijs de Ligt: It is hard to believe that Matthijs de Ligt is just a 19-year-old. The Dutchman led the young Ajax team to their most incredible Champions League run in the last few years, which was unfortunately ended by Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals earlier this week.

He appeared in 11 Champions League games for the Amsterdam-based club this season and averages 1.5 tackles, 4.2 clearances and 4.2 aerial duels per game.

Virgil van Dijk: Many people doubted Liverpool's decision to sign Virgil van Dijk for a record transfer fee of £75 million from Southampton in the January transfer window of 2018. However, the Dutchman proved everyone wrong and returned every penny of the Reds' investment with his brilliant performances.

The Reds have conceded one goal on average in their 12 Champions League games thus far and Virgil van Dijk has played a huge role in it. The 27-year-old has gone up against superstars like Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe in the League of the Champions this season yet no player has managed to get past him on one-on-one situations.

The Dutchman averages 1 tackle, 0.9 interceptions, 4.8 clearances, along with with 3.5 impressive aerial duels per game in Europe's elite competition this campaign.

Jordi Alba: The Spanish international received a lot of stick for his performance against Liverpool in the second leg of the semi-finals tie, however, he performed superbly prior to that game and certainly deserves to be part of the Champions League Team of the Season.

He played 11 games for the Blaugrana this season, scoring one goal and assisting five. Defensively, he averages 1 tackle, 1.5 interceptions and 2.1 clearances per game.


Midfielders

Frenkie de Jong will join Barcelona in summer
Frenkie de Jong will join Barcelona in summer

Frenkie de Jong: The Dutch international's performances in the Champions League this season has shown why Barcelona spent a whopping amount of £65 million to secure his services.

The 21-year-old completed 718 passes in 11 Champions League appearances this season, with a passing accuracy of 89.3 per cent. His most complete performance of the season came against Juventus in April, when he completely dominated the Bianconeri's midfield consisting Miralem Pjanić, Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi.

He also impressed with his defensive side of the game and completed 27 tackles, along with completing 19 clearances and making 19 interceptions.

Fabinho: Many people doubted Fabinho's abilities when he was struggling for his game time during the early months of his Anfield career. However, the Brazillian start showing his true worth as the season grew and he is now among the first names on Liverpool's team sheet.

Jurgen Klopp mostly deploys him as a destroyer in the Reds' midfield three and he showed his class in that role by shutting down Lionel Messi in the second leg of the semi-finals tie earlier this week.

Moussa Sissoko: From getting relegated with Newcastle United in 2016 to guiding Tottenham Hotspur to the finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2019, Moussa Sissoko's career took a huge step forward in the last three years.

The French international has appeared in nine Champions League games this season and has completed 272 passes, with an accuracy rate of 87.5 per cent. Apart from that, he also averages 1.9 tackles and 1 interception per game in Europe's elite competition.


Attackers

Lionel Messi is currently the leading goalscorer in Champions League
Lionel Messi is currently the leading goalscorer in Champions League

Lionel Messi: Barcelona might have been eliminated from the UEFA Champions in the most embarrassing way but that cannot undermine Lionel Messi's performances in Europe's elite competition this season.

The Argentine scored 12 goals in just 10 Champions League games this campaign and is currently the leading goalscorer in the competition.

Son Heung-Min: One of the most underrated footballers in the world at the moment, Son Heung-Min played a vital role in Tottenham Hotspur's run to the final of the Champions League this season.

The South-Korean international missed the north Londoners first leg of the semi-finals tie against Ajax earlier this month and the Lillywhites struggled in the attacking department without him. However, he made his return in the second leg and was among Spurs' best players in their enthralling comeback at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Dusan Tadic: Southampton fans must be kicking themselves after seeing Dusan Tadic's performances in the Champions League this season. The 30-year-old was surplus to requirements at the Premier League club and the Saints let him go just for £10 million in the summer transfer window of 2018.

The Serbian international proved to be a bargain signing by the Dutch team and he played a crucial role in their run to the semi-finals of the competition. He contributed six goals and four assists prior to his team's elimination from the competition.

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