Karim Benzema starts up front, there’s no room for either Mo Salah or Sadio Mane and just three players who don’t play for Liverpool or Real Madrid are included as UEFA name their Champions League team of the season
- UEFA name their team of the season days after Champions League final in Paris
- Karim Benzema is one of four Real Madrid players to have made the team
- Liverpool also have four players in the team, but none of their forwards make it
- Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 to claim their 14th Champions League crown
UEFA have named their Champions League team of the season days after Liverpool‘s defeat to Real Madrid in the final of the competition in Paris.
Los Blancos beat the Reds 1-0 in the French capital in a game marred by ugly scenes outside the ground before and after the game.
Naturally, the two finalists dominate the XI with both sides having four players apiece. PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City players make up the other three names.
UEFA named their team of the season on Tuesday with Real Madrid and Liverpool dominating
Thibaut Courtois’s heroics in Paris kept Liverpool at bay and he was named man of the match
Likely inspired by his final heroics, making a number of inspired saves from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Thibaut Courtois was picked in goal.
The Belgian will be particularly pleased that UEFA’s committee had showed him the requisite ‘respect’ that he demanded in many of his post-final media interviews.
Meanwhile, Liverpool dominate the back-line, with three of their players being named in defence alongside Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger.
Antonio Rudiger cut a forlorn figure after Chelsea were knocked out in the quarter-finals
Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold were both named – but place for Sadio Mane
Andrew Robertson completed the Liverpool triumvirate at the back of the XI’s back four
Andrew Robertson was named at left-back, with Virgil Van Dijk being named in the centre of defence alongside the German Rudiger. Trent Alexander-Arnold, despite his high-profile losing of Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior for the only goal of Saturday’s game, completes the Liverpool representation at the back.
In midfield, Luka Modric was the shoe-in pick amid some stiff competition. His performances against Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea, notably, in the round of 16 and quarter-finals seemingly assured him of a place irrespective of might have happened in the semi-finals and final.
Fabinho, who returned from injury for Saturday’s final, was picked to play at the base of the midfield three. His defensive contribution has been ever-impressive for Liverpool this season, but his goal away at Villarreal in the semi-finals was crucial to the Reds fortunes.
Fabinho (L) and Luka Modric (C) were both named in the midfield for Uefa’s team of the season
Kevin De Bruyne was crucial in leading Manchester City to within minutes of the final in Paris
Kevin De Bruyne was named alongside Modric and Fabinho, with the City star making crucial contributions in each of the Citizen’s knockout ties.
His goal against Atletico Madrid in the first instalment of their quarter-final tie proved the difference over the two legs, while he opened the scoring in City’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid at the Etihad in the humdinger opener to their tie last month.
In attack, Liverpool might be shocked to see neither Salah nor Mane made the XI. In Salah’s usual right-side spot, UEFA opted for Kylian Mbappe, despite his side being knocked out of the competition at the first knockout hurdle.
Not even Kylian Mbappe’s heroics were enough for PSG to overcome their Champions League block – despite the round of 16 elimination, the Frenchman was still named in the XI
However, the Frenchman had scored twice across the tie with Real Madrid prior to Karim Benzema’s astonishing second half rescue act.
Benzema’s 15 goals across the competition guaranteed him a place in the side after one of the true great continental campaigns. The hat-tricks at crucial moments against PSG and Chelsea, in particular, will live long in the memory of a club who have enjoyed plenty of glorious nights on the European stage.
Vinicius completes the team with his deployment on the left. Having slightly flown under the radar owing to Benzema’s out-of-this-world performances, the Brazilian grew into the tournament at the crucial stage.
His goal to pull Real Madrid back to 3-2 at the Etihad was crucial in the context of that tie, while the significance of his finish on Saturday night needs little explanation.
Karim Benzema enjoyed one of the great European campaigns, scoring 15 goals across the competition
Vinicius Junior’s goal capped a stellar season in the competition for the young Brazilian