After a break of about two months, 2017/18 UEFA Champions League is all set to make a comeback on the eve of Valentine’s Day (13 February) and enthrall football fans around the globe. After some gripping group stage matches earlier in the season, the Round of 16 will once again be a witness to more on-field action, mesmerizing skills and drama.
The Round of 16 will have some European heavyweights facing off against each other, including ties like Real Madrid vs PSG, Juventus vs Tottenham and Chelsea vs Barcelona. In some other ties, 5-time European champions Liverpool will take on FC Porto, Manchester United will meet Sevilla and Manchester City will play Swiss side FC Basel in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
Here, we chalk out the best possible lineup of eleven players who are likely to excel and shine in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
Goalkeeper – David De Gea
The fact that Manchester United have conceded the fewest goals in the English Premier League this season has been largely down to David De Gea’s brilliance in goal. The Spaniard is arguably the best goalkeeper in world football at present and makes our team ahead of Juventus’ Buffon, Chelsea’s Courtois, Barcelona’s Ter Stegen and Man City’s Ederson
Defence – Dani Alves, Mats Hummels, Sergio Ramos, Alex Sandro
PSG’s veteran full-back Dani Alves is our pick for the right-back position in this team as the Brazilian is still a world-class performer and brings unmatched Champions League winning pedigree with himself.
Mats Hummels will be the first central defender in our potential eleven. The German defender is one of the best ball-playing defenders in the world and has a solid all-round defensive game. Hummels will be crucial to Bayern’s hopes of progressing in the competition.
Next up is Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos. It can be argued that Ramos is prone to committing defensive mistakes and always a step away from getting himself booked but it is a proven fact that rarely has the world seen a better big match player than Ramos. Need to defend a tight corner? Call Ramos. Need a stoppage time equaliser in a Champions League final? Call Ramos.
The left-back spot in our side goes to Juventus’ Alex Sandro, who edges out players like Barcelona’s Jordi Alba and Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso for this place.
Midfield – Sergio Busquets, Kevin De Bruyne, Lionel Messi
Among all the defence-minded midfielders who are set to play in the Champions League Round of 16, Sergio Busquets is the best possible alternative for this spot as the Barcelona veteran’s form has been key to Barcelona’s rise to the top of La Liga standings this season.
Manchester City’s wing wizard Kevin De Bruyne will play in a central role in this team as the Belgian superstar technically good enough to play anywhere in the centre of the pitch and impossible to leave out, given his current form.
Arguably the best player in the world, Lionel Messi will take the all-important ‘Number 10’ role in this combined team. Messi is in peak form right now and will be key to Barcelona’s chances against Eden Hazard’s Chelsea in the Round of 16.
Attack – Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Neymar Jr.
Slightly controversial but we have gone with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah ahead of Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo to play in the forward line of this team. Salah is in the middle of a dream debut campaign for Liverpool and has scored 28 goals, including 6 in the Champions League this season.
Tottenham’s goal-machine Harry Kane scored 6 goals in the group stages of the tournament and was key to Spurs topping a group involving European heavyweights like Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Kane takes his place in the side ahead of PSG’s Edinson Cavani and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino.
The final pick in our eleven is the most expensive player on planet – PSG’s Neymar. The Brazilian superstar scored 6 and assisted 4 goals in the Champions League group stage and is an absolute must pick in this lineup.
2017/18 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Best XI
David De Gea, Dani Alves, Mats Hummels, Sergio Ramos, Alex Sandro, Sergio Busquets, Kevin De Bruyne, Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Neymar Jr.
Manager – Pep Guardiola