Champions League Team of the Week

There are some familiar faces and some unexpected call ups on this week's RealSport Champions League Team of the Week.

After a week of Champions League football which ranged from the highs of a thrilling 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, which saw a Manchester City 2000s XI beat Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, to the lows of a Manchester United 1-0 victory in Portugal courtesy of a goalkeeping error, RealSport are back to bring you their Champions League Team of the Week.

GK – Ederson: Manchester City

The former Benfica stopper is the archetypal Pep Guardiola ‘sweeper keeper’. Ederson is crucial to the way City build up play from the back and is often the first point of attack. His superb passing and distribution with either foot means City often use their new goalkeeper to recycle possession, start again, and encourage the opposition to press, before passing around them. However, Ederson also looks extremely dependable with his hands, as shown by his crucial first-half penalty save with the scores at 2-0 to the Citizens.

CB – Joshua Kimmich: Bayern Munich

The Bayern Munich academy graduate is fast becoming indispensable for the German giants. Kimmich is an extremely versatile player. However, he is gradually making a name for himself as one of the best right backs in world football. With his marauding runs and intelligent play, Kimmich is now one of Munich’s most important players. Scoring the crucial second goal against Celtic this week, he effectively ended the game as a contest.

CB- Chris Smalling: Manchester United

With nine clean sheets so far this season, Jose Mourinho is turning United into something of a defensive force. It says how well organised the Red Devil’s backline is that Smalling can step in from the reserves and look as solid as he has. The Englishman has found his place hard to come by this season due to the form of Phil Jones and Eric Bailly. However, solid and assured defending like he showed in the 1-0 victory away to Benfica will help him gain the trust of Mourinho and could persuade the Portuguese manager that he is still a crucial part of the United squad.

CB – Ansi Agolli: Qarabag

Despite his name, Ansi Agolli is, in fact, a defender. At 35 years of age, Agolli put in a superb performance against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid on the left which earned him an inclusion in our team of the week. The Albanian was a crucial component in winning Qarabag’s first ever point in the Champions League with the 0-0 draw at home to the Madrid side. It was a result that will live long in the memory of the Ukrainians.

DM – Harry Winks: Tottenham Hotspur

On Tuesday, the Spurs academy graduate found himself up against the likes of Toni Kroos, Isco and Spurs idol Luka Modric. Unphased by the occasion, Winks held his own in the Bernabeu and was a central member of the team who eventually earned a draw. Winks is still largely inexperienced and, despite being left to control the deep-lying playmaker role on his own for much of the game, he displayed what a fine footballer he is. 

As he showed throughout the game, Winks is clearly an exceptional decision-maker and was often used by his Spurs teammates to recycle possession. Knowing when to up the tempo and when to slow it down, he can also drive with the ball. In fact, Winks completed 90.9% of his passes at the Bernabeu in a game in which Modric could only completed 87.8% of his.

CM – Miralem Pjanic: Juventus

The Bosnian is one of the best playmakers in world football. A wonderful technician, his superb free-kick levelled the score for Juventus who were at home to Sporting Lisbon. His passing and creativity are central for Juventus’ attacking football. Pjanic is rarely discussed in the conversations about the best midfielders in the world. With performances like this, though, it won’t be long before he is.

CM – Emil Forsberg:  RB Leipzig

Another superb technician in midfield this week, Forsberg scored the crucial second goal to give Leipzig the lead against FC Porto, which he took with typical composure. The Swedish international is so often the creator in the Leipzig side and it won’t be long before one of Europe’s major clubs takes a real interest in him.

CAM – Lionel Messi: Barcelona

Considered by many the greatest footballer ever, Lionel Messi wrote his name in history on Wednesday, scoring his 100th goal in European competition with an exceptional free kick against Olympiacos at the Camp Nou. The milestone goal also means that Messi has now scored 50+ goals in each of the last four calendar years. There are no words left to describe the Argentine, so just sit back and be thankful you’re watching football in the same era Messi makes the beautiful game look so easy.

FWD – Kylian Mbappe: PSG

Messi isn’t the only one breaking records in Europe: French phenomenon Kylian Mbappe became the highest-scoring teenager in Champions League history with his early strike against Anderlecht. Mbappe has now scored eight times in Europe’s premier competition and he doesn’t even turn 19 until December. The potential this boy has seems boundless. Everything is there for him to become a future Ballon d’Or winner.

FWD- Eden Hazard: Chelsea

So often the man who provides the piece of magic to get Chelsea out of trouble, Hazard was the Blues’ most dangerous player in a game they so nearly threw away against Roma having taken a 2-0 lead. Hazard scored his first of the game with a simple tap in. However, a brilliant header in the second half from the Belgian helped his team rescue a point at home.

FWD – Edin Dzeko: Roma

The goal-scoring exploits of Edin Dzeko should be acknowledged more often. One of the best strikers in Europe, he has now scored 31 goals in 36 games for Roma in 2017 following his two strikes yesterday against Chelsea. His first was arguably goal of the tournament so far: a fantastic left-footed volley that flew straight into the top corner. He then nodded Roma into a shock lead from a free kick minutes later.

Who are we missing from our Champions League Team of the Week? Let us know in the comments below.

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