Fantasy Football: Ronaldo and Neymar lead the line in our expert's Champions League XI

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Our Fantasy writer shares his own team and discusses why you should consider a four defender strategy as we head into the group stages

We are just one day away from the return of the Champions League proper. To mark the occasion, I'm sharing my line-up for match week one of Europe’s premier club competition.

What may initially stick out is the use of four defenders instead of the back three that is so thoroughly en vogue in both real life and Fantasy. There’s a lot of reasoning behind this but, at it’s most basic level, they are cheaper, carry less ownership, and have more routes to points than the players further up the pitch.

In fact, last season, three of the top 10 point scorers in the Goal Champions League game were defenders. So, if you’re trying to squeeze in two of the heavy hitters (Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar etc) then going opting for four defenders is probably the best way to round out your squad.

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GK: David de Gea - Manchester United, £6.6m, owned by 21.71% of managers

There are very few ‘keepers better than de Gea in this competition and, considering the easy draw by Manchester United, the Spaniard is a terrific, if not obvious, choice.

DEF: Filipe Luis - Atletico Madrid, £6.4m, owned by 3.19% of managers

Many seem to have shied away due to the difficulty of group C, but Luis was the leading point scorer for an Atleti defence who had the most clean sheets in La Liga last season as well as the second-most in the Champions League.

Felipe Luis Atletico

DEF: Sergio Escudero - Sevilla, £5.7m, owned by 0.76% of managers

Escudero is an absolute steal at this price and ownership, considering he finished last season with the fifth-most points of any Champions League defender.

DEF: Elseid Hysaj - Napoli, £5.7m, owned by 0.81% of managers

Hysaj does not often contribute much going forward, but was part of the third-best defence in Serie A last season and is a cheap differential option.

DEF: Jorge - Monaco, £5.8m,  owned by 0.95% of managers

With Benjamin Mendy off to Manchester City, Jorge is now the man at left back for Monaco and has started well, sitting top three in accurate crosses and top 10 in chances created among Ligue 1 defenders. 

MID: Thomas Lemar - Monaco, £6.9m, owned by 7.93% of managers

Having turned down a move to Arsenal on deadline day, Lemar will hope to pick up where he left off last season when he was the assist leader in Ligue 1.

Thomas Lemar Monaco

MID: Marco Asensio - Real Madrid, £7.0m, owned by 22.69% of managers

Asensio is already top five in both shots on target and goals in this young La Liga season and should be well worth the money so long as he gets his minutes in the Champions League. 

MID: Leroy Sane - Manchester City, £6.8m, owned by 1.36% of managers

Pep Guardiola is an incredibly frustrating manager for Fantasy owners but even he wouldn’t sit a well rested Sane coming off a two goal performance… hopefully.

FOR: Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid, £8.5m, owned by 48.07% of managers

The APOEL matchup should be a breeze for Real Madrid and, as for the Portuguese talisman, he only went led and led the Champions League in goals last season en route to being the highest scoring player in the Goal game.

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FOR: Neymar - Paris Saint-Germain, £8.4m, owned by 37.57% of managers

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Neymar led the Champions League in assists last season and is already doing the same in Ligue 1 despite playing a match less than everyone else in the top five.

FOR: Timo Werner - RB Leipzig, £7.2m, owned by 1.79% of managers 

Werner is my sneaky play this year as he is in a kind group, has started this season with three goals in three Bundesliga matches, and was top five in goals there last year.

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