The Champions League comes to the final match, but who were the stars of the penultimate group edition? Here is the best XI from the 5th round.
Goalkeeper – David De Ge (Manchester United)
Will Jose Mourinho still have a job, if not for the long-lasting brilliance of his goalkeeper? The last De Gea master class appeared in the second half of the “Ulisses Garcia” of young boys, whose deflected efforts looked at the bottom corner before the Spaniard pulled it out. It was a stunning element of athleticism and set the stage for United to scream at a vital late victory, which also scored potential consequences without him.
Right back – Joao Otmento (Juventus)
The invention of Cristiano Ronaldo may have unlocked the door for Juventus against Valencia, but his summer arrival, Cancel, has the same effect on the other end. The defender had a great game against his former club, nullifying the threat of dangerous Gedadal Gonkalo, at the same time contributing to further progress to help Juve secure his place in knockouts.
Left back – Juan Bernat (PSG)
Two matches, two important contributions to the underrated Bernat. This time, he opened the scoring against Liverpool with clever work to capture unsuccessful clearance from Virgil van Dyck before switching the ball to his right foot and skipping past Alissa. His left-sided partnership with Neymar worked well, and he also managed to keep calm Mohamed Salah and the company.
Center-back – Benoit Poulain (Club Brugge)
Who could have predicted that Borussia Dortmund would shoot away against unsupervised impunity? The point is suitable for both sides, the leaders of the Bundesliga, claiming the knockout stage, and Bruges, confirming a place in the Europa League, but Poulain and his defense cut off their work from one of the most scintillating attacks in Europe and were perfectly executed. They kept the hosts at arm's length, despite enjoying only 24 percent ownership, making a rearguard for a very impressive performance.
Center-back – Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
Vertongen missed the last two months through injury, but looked as if he never left during the impressive victory of Tottenham over Inter. He missed a decent opportunity to open the scoring after Christian Eriksen’s free kick, but his contribution was much more important at the other end, where he kept the prolific Mauro Icardi in silence to ensure that Spur rarely had a serious problem even when pressure increased towards the end of the game .
Right wing – Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Why try another trick when this one works so well? Robben turns 35 in January, but only a few opponents have developed how to stop him, cutting him into his left foot, working on a half yard and letting him fly. He did it twice to open the floodgates for Bavaria against Benfica – this is the first fantastic effort after he sneaked in from a seemingly harmless position – and while it was in Bavaria, living in an old dog.
Central Midfielder – Musa Sissoko (Tottenham)
The reinterpretation of Sissoko in Tottenham continues. The team has worked for a long time in its unrivaled game against Inter, but the International International was vital to speeding up when necessary. In the first half, a 50-yard run up gave Lucas Mure a chance to save Samir Handanovich; with 20 minutes to play a similar explosion, without turning the situation into a hole, he saw that he found Del Alli, who had laid the winner for Christian Eriksen. It was a game contribution and, given its current form, did not cause much surprise.
Central Midfielder – Marco Verratti (PSG)
It is tempting to ask whether the form and suitability of Verrati, as well as the gifts of Neymar and Kaylian Mbabpe, are the most important factors in the last turn of the Champions League PSG. He was lucky to escape with a yellow card for a terrible first half at Liverpool by Joe Gomez, but his overall result was masterful. Few can bring the game under his spell, like an Italian, when he is in full flow, pulls the strings and dictates the tempo; "Liverpool", despite all its jokes and puffs, just could not get close to him in midfield.
After their defeat in Paris, Craig Burley and the FC team appreciated how Liverpool played in the hands of PSG, failing to slow down its stellar opposition.
Left Wing – Neymar (PSG)
You may love him, hate him or, like Jürgen Klopp, be absolutely furious, but no one who looked at him, did not sparkle with Liverpool, could not doubt the quality of Neymar's star. Taking the unfamiliar left-handed role in 4-4-2, the Brazilian was almost unplayable from time to time – breaking off on the English side and setting before himself all the important second goal. This happened when Neymar moved forward from the left position, changing the pace of the game in an instant, before merging with Kylian Mbappe, to ultimately benefit from the rebound. On this form, perhaps, the PSG can count on the fact that he will bring them closer to the Champions League trophy than ever.
Forward – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
The 106th goal of the Champions League Messi meant that he scored more than anyone else at this level, for one club. This is just the last entry he sent, but the way he achieved it was even more impressive. His brilliant solo strike on PSV, breaking through past defenders before it ended decisively, was just vintage and with six goals this year already, it already looks like a great bet for the Golden Boot.
Forward – Maxwell Cornet (Lyon)
What influence did Cornet have on Manchester City, which in the first season found the way and the movement of Lyon almost impossible to cope with it the second time. The Ivorian scored two excellent goals, breaking the first Ederson from the past 20 yards and then running off to go home, which looked like a winner, and he would have had a hat-trick if his acrobatic efforts had not rebounded from working with wood. His presentation showed that he doubled his record for the season and may have increased his potential transfer cost.