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Pundit Arena’s Champions League Team Of The Week

Juventus' Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini (R) reacts with Juventus' Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (L) after making an interception during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen second leg football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus at Wembley Stadium in London, on March 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The UEFA Champions League began to really take shape this week, with some thrilling ties resulting in Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus booking their places in the quarter-finals.

Plenty of stars stepped up to the mark to see their sides through to the business end of the competition, and each team will take some serious stopping if their round of 16 performances are anything to go by.

Without further ado, here’s our Champions League Team of the Week:

GK:

Iker Casillas – Porto

The veteran goalkeeper made what may well have been his last ever Champions League appearance – but produced a fine display to keep out Liverpool’s in-form forwards, further cementing his status as one of the greatest players to ever grace the competition.

DEF:

Stefan Lichtsteiner – Juventus

He may only have been introduced as a substitute, but Lichtsteiner had a massive influence on the tie. Whipped in a fine cross for Higuain’s equaliser, and constantly brought his team forward while making crucial blocks at the back. A game-changing performance.

Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus

It is unlikely you will see a better defensive performance all season. Chiellini managed to keep Harry Kane relatively quiet for his usual standards and made some wonderful blocks and interceptions – showing incredible passion and desire to get to every ball. A leader’s display which turned the tie in his side’s favour. The star of the week.

Raphael Varane – Real Madrid

An astounding aerial display from Varane stemmed the threat of PSG in the first-half last night, and he kept Edinson Cavani in his pocket for the evening – which is no mean feat. He looked composed on the ball, and it was one of the Frenchman’s finest displays to date.

Felipe – Porto

The Porto captain was excellent in stemming the threat of Liverpool’s forwards, he made a fantastic block on Roberto Firmino at one point, and his performance was one to savour in a disappointing result over two legs for his side.

MID:

Casemiro – Real Madrid

A picture of composure, he was industrious, strong in the tackle and pitched in with a goal that ultimately killed the tie. The Brazilian is fast becoming the complete midfielder and ran the show in the middle for Madrid.

Sami Khedira – Juventus

Outshone others in a tight midfield battle, barely putting a foot wrong while breaking up a lot of the Spurs attack. Nodded on well to provide the assist for his sides’ first goal, and contributed heavily to a remarkable turnaround.

Phil Foden – Manchester City

At 17 years old, Foden is an incredible talent. Never looked out of place in midfield, and wasn’t afraid to make ambitious passes and set his side on the front foot. Some neat touches provided a sign of things to come – and Foden did well on his chance in the first-team.

ATT:

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid

Ronaldo just loves big games. He has now scored in every single one of Real’s Champions League games this season, which is a remarkable feat. Took his header excellently, and drifted into channels to probe and create space all night. The finest goalscorer in world football, his experience proved the difference over the two legs.

Gonzalo Higuain – Juventus

Looked quiet at times but in three minutes turned the tie on its head all by himself. Improvised well to poke home the equaliser and provided a fantastic assist for Paulo Dybala’s winner. Three goals over two legs saw Juventus through to the quarter-finals, and Higuain did exactly what was required of him – to provide the difference when it matters most.

Lucas Vazquez – Real Madrid

A fringe forward at the Bernabeu, Vazquez impressed on a rare start – providing a fantastic cross for Ronaldo’s header, whilst also being unlucky not to score himself having been denied by the woodwork. Ran at the defence all night and looked like causing problems every time he found the ball, he was one of the stand out performers in a routine victory.

Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena

About Jordan Norris

Mostly covering football and GAA - Jordan is currently studying a BA English in UCC, and can be contacted through jordannorris19@outlook.ie .