Sportsmail's Champions League XI of the season: No Messi OR Ronaldo

Champions League team of the season: No Lionel Messi OR Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski is the first name on the team sheet… so who else made the cut for Sportsmail’s XI?

  • This season’s Champions League, although shortened, saw incredible action 
  • Robert Lewandowski was more ruthless than ever with a staggering 15 goals   
  • Erling Haaland starred for RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund this season 
  • Dayot Upamecano really made a name for himself in RB Leipzig’s defence  

There were some magnificent individual performances in the Champions League this season from established stars to new kids on the block. 

There’s no room in our team of the season for Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, a real signalling of a changing of the guard at Europe’s top table. 

Unsurprisingly Robert Lewandowski and a smattering of his Bayern Munich team-mates make the cut after lifting the trophy on Sunday, but who else made the Sportsmail Champions League XI for the 2019-20 season?

Bayern Munich enjoyed a remarkable resurgence under Hansi Flick to go on and win Europe’s biggest prize and feature heavily in Sportsmail’s best Champions League XI of the campaign

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi failed to make our Champions League team of the season

Goalkeeper – Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

There had been some lingering doubts about whether Neuer was coming to the end of his time with Bayern. 

Earlier in the campaign there was a public dispute over a new deal but eventually both parties came to terms and the serial winner signed on in Bavaria until 2023. 

He has since gone from strength to strength and been as classy an operator as ever in the Champions League. 

With six clean sheets to his name, including the all important final, there was no doubting this selection. He was a brick wall against PSG and the save from Kylian Mbappe at close range was stunning, even if it was offside. 

Manuel Neuer kept his sixth clean sheet of the tournament in the final against PSG

Left back – Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

The first Canadian to ever win the Champions League and this breakout season has been phenomenal for the 19-year-old. 

What has been so impressive about Davies is the balance to his game. He can step his foot on the gas in attack and breeze past people, creating chances for the wealth of attacking talent, but he can also do the dirty work in defence and is rarely beaten in a 1 vs 1. 

His standout performances came against Chelsea and Barcelona and the combination with Serge Gnabry terrorised defences. 

It looks like Bayern have the left back berth sewn up for many years to come.  

Alphonso Davies emerged as a new star for the champions and was the standout left back

Centre back – Thiago Silva (PSG) 

It would have been the fairytale ending to his time at PSG if Silva could have bowed out with a win on Sunday night. 

Alas, it was not to be but the 35-year-old has still been at the top of his game and the rock around which PSG’s bid for the trophy has been built. 

Silva, whether paired with Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos or Abdou Diallo, always brings such assurance and organisation to the back. 

He will go down as one of the all time great central defenders and his performance level has not dropped this season, warranting a place in the XI.

Thiago Silva is a wily veteran still playing at the top of his game and slots in at the back

Centre back -Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

Upamecano took a major step forward in his development this season and is now one of the most highly rated young defenders on the continent. 

The 21-year-old Frenchman, along with Timo Werner, was the standout player for Julian Nagelsmann’s side throughout their run to the semi-finals. 

Upamecano has been previously linked with Arsenal but signed a fresh deal recently and will now command a huge fee. 

He helped Leipzig keep two cleans over both legs against Tottenham, was a powerful presence in the air and can play out from the back too.  

Dayot Upamecano (left) was superb for RB Leipzig on their run to the semi-finals in Portugal

Right back – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Kimmich and Trent Alexander-Arnold are vying for ‘best right back in the world’ tag and the German was reliably brilliant again in Bayern’s campaign this year. 

He is an adaptable player and can be used in defensive midfield but Thiago Alcantara’s form means right back is where he slots into this side currently. 

Kimmich knits the transition to attack seamlessly and played a key part in keeping Mbappe quiet in the final.  

The 25-year-old is the archetypal German player and now has his first Champions League trophy to add to an already stacked cabinet.  

Joshua Kimmich is as uncompromising in defence as he is assured going forwards

Lyon’s only representative in the Champions League team of the tournament but the French side deserve an inclusion and who better than their midfield maestro?  

At only 22, Aouar still has plenty of development to do and Juventus are thought to be leading the race for his signature this summer. 

His output of four assists and a goal is not perhaps as eye-catching as others in the competition but he was so impressive against Manchester City and Juve in their run to the last four. 

Aouar’s combination with Bruno Guimarães and Maxence Caqueret was a joy to watch and he is the best of the lot.  

Houssem Aouar was the standout player for Lyon in their Champions League campaign

Midfield – Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)

If, as it seems will be the case, Alcantara leaves Bayern this summer, his performance in the final might help squeeze an extra couple of million out of potential suitors. 

He was so controlled, launching attacks with his wide range of passing but also breaking up PSG’s forward assaults. 

Flick’s general on the field is in his prime and they’ll be desperate to keep hold of him with only one year left on his contract. 

Whether Liverpool’s interest is genuine or not remains to be seen but the prospect of Alcantara at Anfield is a frightening one for their Premier League rivals. 

Thiago Alcantara may leave Bayern and judging on his display in the final, the loss will be huge

Midfield – Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

‘The same old story’, lamented De Bruyne when City crashed out at the hands of Lyon. 

He was largely anonymous in the first half against the French side as Pep Guardiola’s shift in formation worked against him. 

But for the rest of City’s campaign he was as dangerous as ever. In both legs against Real Madrid the Belgian looked every inch the world class midfielder he has developed into. 

Two goals and two assists in total don’t paint the full picture and De Bruyne looks a cut above when City were on song. 

Kevin De Bruyne was a major point of difference over for Manchester City against Real Madrid

Forward – Erling Haaland (RB Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund)

Eight goals in four starts for RB Salzburg and then two in two for Dortmund demonstrate just how deadly the 20-year-old was this season in the Champions League. 

The power, pace and finishing ability were clear to see for the Austrian side in the group stage and that helped earn him the move to the German Bundesliga. 

Dortmund crashed out against PSG in a tight tie just before the pandemic shut down the sport but Haaland scored both goals in the home leg and his tally of 10 for the tournament is remarkable. 

The Norwegian striker already looks like he could be a once in a generation talent and may well feature in team of the tournament line ups for years to come.  

Erling Haaland was incredible in front of goal for both RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund

Forward – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

A tally of 15 goals in the Champions League this season is frankly absurd. 

The Bayern hitman has been the best striker in the world in 2019-20 and put up mind-boggling numbers. 

PSG did well to shackle him in the final but there’s no doubt that he was the first name on the team sheet here. 

He also had five assists to his name in the competition and the Polish 32-year-old is the most dangerous weapon in Flick’s arsenal.  

Robert Lewandowski scored 15 goals in the competition in his best ever season to date

Forward – Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)

The was the season Gnabry really burst through as a top tier talent. Nine goals and two assists to his name from the wing is not to be sniffed at.

Having failed to make the grade at Arsenal, been loaned out to West Brom and the Hoffenheim when back at Bayer, the path to the top has not been a conventional one. 

His four-goal performance in the 7-2 demolition of Tottenham was arguably the best individual display of the tournament. 

An honorable mention must go to Memphis Depay and Angel Di Maria but Gnabry is full deserving of a place in the XI.

Serge Gnabry had a breakout season for Bayern and their attack looks so potent 


Share this article

Source: Read Full Article