UEFA chose the ideal team for the UEFA Champions League group stage. We review the names and what they did in the most important competition in the world. ¡NOT CRISTIANO RONALDO AND MESSI!
The Benfica goalkeeper had a great performance in the six games with four unbeaten hurdles, but he became famous at the Camp Nou for his team to take a draw and qualify for the Round of 16 in hand with three key saves. He broke into the world of football to replace Ederson in the Portuguese goal, he wears the 99 jersey and those who know him assure that he is completely crazy. Newcastle wants to hire him and Benfica put a price on him: 35 million pounds.
What can be said about Joao Cancelo that they don’t know? The Portuguese is among the best full-backs in the world, but every time he goes on the attack, it is not known if he is a forward, winger, internal midfielder or a classic hitch. He has an exquisite foot and has been a key piece for Pep Guardiola. In the Champions League he scored two goals -vs Brugge and Leipzig- and three assists ¡in the same game!
The Danish defender became a fundamental piece for Thomas Tuchel and – together with Rudiger – they accumulated three unbeaten hurdles. He assisted in the last match against Zenit and scored only one goal: against Malmo. When he was not in full swing, his team suffered against rivals.
Otamendi had a sensational performance in the Champions League group stage. The Argentine defender was one of those responsible for his team advancing round and leaving Barcelona on the road. He is the only South American on the list. When it seemed that his transfer to Benfica had him at a low level, the opposite has happened and it seems that his stay with the Argentine National Team has strengthened him. In each encounter he looked like a wild bull looking for the ball. If you are a forward, stay away from Nicolás Otamendi because he is going to chase you under your bed.
Nkunku is the only player on the list to belong to an eliminated team, but his performance was high and he is likely to be followed closely by several teams in Europe. The French midfielder was one of the Champions League scorers with 7 goals, including a hat-trick against Manchester City. Unfortunately, RB Leipzig did not accompany him in this moment of glory that he has had and he will play the Europa League for the remainder of the season.
The Dutch winger was key to Unai Emery’s success at Villarreal and forced the coach to take him into account to start almost every game. Arnaut Danjuma scored four goals and one assist for his team to go to the Champions League round. Atalanta and Young Boys were the victims of him.
Salah takes the first part of the season at the world top level. We are probably talking about the best player of the moment. In the UEFA Champions League he scored 7 goals and only needed to do it at Anfield against Atlético Madrid. It’s strange that he didn’t even provide an assist. He will surely be one of the players who reaches the end in this competition and fights for the next Ballon d’Or.
The Bayern Munich player dispatched himself with goals to Benfica and Barcelona, but what puts him on this list is how he fitted into the collective operation of Hansi Flick. His four assists show that he has grown as a player and is no longer who he always wanted to finish in Manchester City.
Kylian Mbappé’s season in Paris Saint-Germain is not the best of all, but he got into this ideal team because he is still one of the best in the world. Mbappé’s heat maps reflect how bad the French team performed in this UEFA Champions League and hopefully he can reverse it based on goals: he has only four in six games. He is not what he has us used to.
The Ivorian forward is this edition’s top scorer with 10 points and has made history: he is the second player in history – along with Cristiano Ronaldo – to score in each of the six Champions League group stage matches. He also entered the list of players who have scored with double figures -10 or more- alongside Lionel Messi, Lewandowski and CR7. Last season Ajax had forgotten to register him to play the UEFA Europa League and could not even play a game.
The Pole from Bayern Munich has only one thing on his mind: goal, goal, goal and goal. He has scored 9 goals this Champions League season and is without a doubt the best area striker in the world. A real killing machine.