The Champions League Round of 16 has come and gone and it was filled with plenty of twists and turns. In fact, half of the matches this round saw the team that lost the first leg come from behind and advance through to the quarter-finals. Unsurprisingly, plenty of goals needed to be scored to overturn those matches and because of that, three of them (Juventus, Manchester United, Ajax) have landed representatives on this list.
The most common thread among the players below isn’t dramatic comebacks though, it’s the Premier League. The majority of players in our Team of the Week are currently playing in England - little surprise considering all four of their teams advanced into the final eight - and an astounding nine of them have played there at some point in their career. To see who all has made the cut, just continue reading.
GK: Hugo Lloris - Tottenham - 1 Game, 7 Saves, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points
DEF: Virgil Van Dijk - Liverpool - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 1 Goal Conceded = 11 Points
Van Dijk is making a strong case as the best defender in the world these days, and this week’s performance certainly did little to convince otherwise. In the second leg against Bayern Munich, the Dutchman precorded both a goal and an assist to ensure the English side would advance to the quarterfinals.
We obviously don’t know which club Liverpool will draw in the next round yet but, considering his prowess in defence and his increasing involvement in attack, Van Dijk should probably be in your team come April.
DEF: Joao Cancelo - Juventus - 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points
DEF: Gerard Pique - Barcelona - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Goal Conceded = 8 Points
MID: Dusan Tadic - Ajax - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 3 Assists = 17 Points
What a performance this was by Ajax on the whole, and Tadic in particular. In their biggest match in years, the former Southampton man ran circles around Real Madrid, recording a goal and three assists en route to a 4-1 pummeling of the reigning champions. The Serbian star was in our Expert XI coming into the round, so a solid performance wasn’t exactly surprising, but even the most ardent Ajax fan wouldn’t have expected this.
Whether or not he can keep up this form in the next round remains to be seen, especially with a tricky draw likely, but considering he's the highest scoring player in our Champions League game this season, it would take a brave man to bet against Tadic going forward.
MID: Leroy Sane - Manchester City - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 3 Assists = 17 Points
MID: Sadio Mane - Liverpool - 1 Game, 2 Goals = 14 Points
Mane’s first goal against Bayern Munich was one of the best scored this round and will surely be on many a highlight reel. His second goal - Liverpool’s third - sealed the victory against the German side to send the Merseyside club through to the quarter-finals.
After his brace on Wednesday, Mane is now level on points with Mohamed Salah (37) yet is owned in 20% fewer of teams. Having now scored 10 goals in 10 matches in all competitions, Mane is in blistering form and will definitely be worth a look ahead of the next round
MID: Bernardo Silva - Manchester City - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 2 Assists = 14 Points
FOR: Lionel Messi - Barcelona - 1 Game, 2 Goals, 2 Assists = 18 Points
After Ronaldo’s hat-trick on Tuesday, many seemed prepared to label him the best player in the competition - only for Messi to do him even better on Wednesday. The latter was, incredibly, part of four of Barcelona’s five goals against Lyon this week as they, after a hard-fought first leg, ended up cruising through the second-leg 5-1.
After the Argentine superstar’s outing, only Tadic has recorded more points in the Champions League thus far this season and, with four of the next five highest-scoring forwards eliminated, Messi will almost undoubtedly be a must-own for the quarter-finals.
FOR: Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus - 1 Game, 3 Goals = 17 Points
FOR: Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United - 1 Game, 2 Goals = 12 Points