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Now that the European season is over, Goal.com outlines the stand-out players from the continent's high-profile tournament, with champions Barcelona boasting four of our XI

The Champions League came to its thrilling conclusion on Saturday night with Barcelona defeating Manchester United 3-1 and now it's time to honour the top performers in Europe's top competition from 2010-11.

Predictably, the winners have strong representation, their 'holy trinity' securing three of the 11 places available and Dani Alves making a fourth. Meanwhile, finalists Manchester United also make up a fair chunk of our esteemed line-up by claiming two spots, including their defensive stalwart Nemanja Vidic, whose solid performances helped the Red Devils to the main event at Wembley.

Of course, those from other sides impressed as well, with Schalke's unlikely run to the semi-final seeing one up-and-coming star and one Champions League veteran incorporated. Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid made it to the last four, breaking their last-16 jinx, and two of their players are also acknowledged for their efforts.

Meanwhile, last year's champions Inter may have disappointed in their defence of the title, but they still have one player who performed excellently to squeeze his way into our 'dream team' for 2010-11.

So here it is, Goal.com round up the best XI from the Champions League.

Formation: 4-3-3


Goalkeeper – Manuel Neuer (Schalke)
Appearances: 12
Clean Sheets: 3

It is no wonder he's considered so highly. A virtual wall in goal at times, the German international made some spectacular saves all the way to the semi-finals. He was one of the reasons former holders Inter were undone and kept a Manchester United onslaught at bay in the first-leg for as long as he could.


Right back – Dani Alves (Barcelona)
Appearances: 12
Goals/Assists: 2/3

Say what you will about the Brazilian, he continues to give his side an extra dimension with his attacking full-back play, making extra work for defences who already have enough to consider given his side's front six. Also helped to contribute defensively as Barca kept five clean sheets on the way to the title.

Centre-back – Nemanja Vidic (Mancehster United)
Appearances: 9
Goals/Assists: 0/0

Manchester United made it to the final on the back of their defence, conceding just four goals until the Wembley showpiece. The rock-like presence of the Serbian was a major reason for that, and his two performances against Chelsea were nothing short of dominant.

Centre-back – Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid)
Appearances: 9
Goals/Assists: 0/0

The former Chelsea man, reunited with coach Jose Mourinho, added much needed experience and savvy to Real Madrid's backline, helping his side keep six clean sheets. The 33-year-old was sorely missed in the team's 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the first-leg of the semi-final.

Left back – Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Appearances: 12
Goals/Assists: 2/2

Considered a liability at the beginning of the season, the Brazilian defender has since flourished and his performances in Europe this season were evidence of that. Established himself as one of Europe's quickest and best attacking full-backs, exemplified by goals against Lyon and Barca in the knockout stages.

Right midfield – Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Appearances: 10
Goals/Assists: 1/7

Intricate and integral for Pep Guardiola's side, Iniesta may just be the best midfielder in the world. His ability to combine with those around him, his quick passing, and that ability to drive forward with the ball were all vital. Showed up in big matches and rarely put a foot wrong.

Centre midfield – Xavi (Barcelona)
Appearances: 12
Goals/Assists: 2/3

If Barca were a body, Xavi would be the heart as everything seemingly goes through the diminutive maestro. Simply irrepressible in the final, not only grabbing an assist, but also controlling the game's tempo in vintage Xavi fashion. As a bonus, he chipped in with two goals on the way to another European crown.

Left midfield – Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
Appearances: 8
Goals/Assists: 1/5

The 37-year-old may not be able to zip through marker after marker any longer, but he has plenty of other weapons in his repertoire and was a key figure for the Red Devils this season. Particularly inspired against Chelsea, he set up all three of United's goals in the quarter-final tie.

Right forward – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Appearances: 13
Goals/Assists: 12/4

The Ballon d'Or winner lived up to his reputation all season long. With mesmerising play, he chalked up a record-equalling 12 goals in a Champions League campaign, including the crucial strike in the final. Just another box ticked on the CV of the current era's greatest player and legend in the making.

Centre forward – Raul (Schalke)
Appearances: 12
Goals/Assists: 5/2

Seemingly ageless, the veteran proved he can still fire in goals in Europe despite no longer wearing the white of Real Madrid. Goals against the likes of Inter, Valencia and Hapoel Tel Aviv confirmed that the Spanish golden boy still had the golden touch in front of the net.

Left forward – Samuel Eto'o (Inter)
Appearances: 10
Goals/Assists: 8/5

The striker single-handedly dragged Inter through the Champions League this season with eight goals in 10 matches. He was the hero of arguably the best match in Europe this season, bagging a goal and two assists in a spectacular comeback to oust Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 at the Allianz Arena.

There you have it. Disagree with our selection? Let us know who you would have included in your esteemed line-up. As ever, we’re open to your suggestions and musings.

For more Castrol Rankings insights visit the Castrol Zone on Goal.com

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