ALPHONSE AREOLA | PSG
It must be easy playing behind a defence as watertight as PSG’s, but in six games 24-year-old Areola conceded just four times, against Scottish champions Celtic, and kept a clean sheet against Bayern Munich.
KIERAN TIERNEY | CELTIC
Aged just 20, Tierney has become a star for Celtic. Linked with Manchester United, the left-back provided an assist against Anderlecht and appeared to shock his Bayern counterparts with a lung-busting, dynamic display against the German giants. He is sure to make the move to bigger things soon enough, and it is all the more remarkable that he has yet to find his best position – he has been deployed at right-back, centre-back, left-back and on the left wing during his short career thus far.
JOHN STONES | MANCHESTER CITY
Stones has come on leaps and bounds since falling under the wing of Pep Guardiola, and he showed just what he can do with an exceptional group stage as Manchester City qualified with ease. Stones not only defended impeccably in his four appearances, but also got up the other end to score on three occasions - proving his talents as an all-round defender.
DAVINSON SANCHEZ | TOTTENHAM
Sanchez has become an integral part of Tottenham’s backline in recent months. The summer signing, recruited from Ajax, particularly impressed in each tie against Real Madrid, as he successfully nullified Karim Benzema both in Madrid and London.
LAYVIN KURZAWA | PSG
A left-back who scored a hat-trick absolutely merits inclusion in a team such as this. Kurzawa netted thrice against Anderlecht in a 5-0 win for PSG, and has also provided two assists, each against Celtic. It helps, too, that PSG have conceded just once in the competition.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE | MANCHESTER CITY
The most in-form midfielder in European football currently, De Bruyne has grown to dominate games under Pep Guardiola. Dynamic, incisive and capable of the absolutely sublime, the Belgium international has provided three assists and scored once as Manchester City won Group F.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO | LIVERPOOL
A marvellous hat trick on the final group match-day sees the Brazilian push his way into contention among the best of this first round. Coutinho netted five times and added two assists to send Liverpool through to the knockouts at the top of their group, and no team on the continent will want to face them with him, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in top form
CRISTIANO RONALDO | REAL MADRID
Ronaldo has been going through something of a slump domestically, but he has scored nine goals in the Champions League, and is the leading scorer in the leading competition on the continent. He has scored in every single European game Real have played this season, including four over two ties against APOEL Nicosia.
KYLIAN MBAPPE | PSG
Mbappe may well be the most amazing prospect to emerge since the Brazilian Ronaldo in the 1990s. Mbappe has dominated games in the European top-flight, even with Neymar hogging the left flank alongside him, and drew ever more admiring glances after an incredible performance in the 3-0 thrashing of Bayern Munich. Four goals and three assists in six games is a tremendous return; Mbappe will surely add to that tally as the competition progresses.
NEYMAR | PSG
Maybe the best player in the competition this season, Neymar has transformed the Ligue 1 side into one of the most feared sides on the planet. The Brazilian, the most expensive footballer of all time, has contributed to 10 goals in just six games – six goals, four assists – as the club have progressed from Group B.
HARRY KANE | TOTTENHAM
The Tottenham striker has long been tipped as one of the best strikers in Europe, but, prior to this season, he hadn’t proved it against the best on the continent. This season, that’s all changed – a dynamic, hungry display against Real Madrid inspired Spurs to a 3-1 win at Wembley, while he also scored home and away against Borussia Dortmund. Tottenham have won their group, and Kane has subsequently become one of the most feared strikers on the planet.
UCL TEAM OF THE GROUP STAGE