Fantasy Football: Ronaldo and three other must own options for the Champions League semi-finals

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David Ramos
Our Fantasy writer looks ahead to the next round of European football and highlights the best remaining players from Real Madrid, Liverpool and Roma

We are on the precipice of the Champions League semi-finals and as just four clubs remain, the player pool has naturally decreased in size. We are now left with the four best sides in Europe and most of the budget options have already exited the tournament.

Gone are the days of picking an obscure £5.0m that you think can make the difference - now it’s the time for the stars to shine.

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GK: Loris Karius - Liverpool, £6.1, owned in 3.12% of teams

Liverpool’s defence was the butt of many a joke at the start of the season but they have quickly become a unit that no one will want to face. Since January, when Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk and promoted Karius, they have the most clean sheets in the Premier League and are allowing less than a goal per game.

Those clean sheets are not limited to domestic football, either, as Liverpool lead the Champions League in that statistic and the German goalkeeper has conceded less goals than any of the remaining preferred goalkeepers. Add in the fact that their opponents, Roma, have the worst scoring record among the semi-finalists, and Karius looks the best goalkeeping option in the Goal game this week.

DEF: Kostas Manolas - Roma, £6.3m, owned in 2.47% of leagues

James Milner should have been the easy pick here but, despite his eight assists in the tournament this term, the Englishman’s starting spot is never guaranteed in such a competitive squad. So, in step Roma hero Kostas Manolas.

Kostas Manolas Roma Barcelona

The Greek defender has helped them to the third-most Champions League clean sheets this campaign (five) while also being an attacking threat as he boasts the most shots on target among defenders. His efforts are certainly reflected in the Goal game where he has the most points of any centre-back (42). Roma will face a very dangerous opponent in Liverpool, but there are no easy matches at this stage of the competition.

MID: Mohamed Salah - Liverpool, £8.0m, owned in 30.76% of leagues

The newly minted PFA Premier League Player of the Year is definitely deserving of a spot in your Fantasy squad. He leads all midfielders in points in the goal game (76,) largely based on the fact that his eight Champions League goals are only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fantasy UCL semi graphic

In fact, the Egyptian is actually ahead of Ronaldo in the European Golden shoe with 31 goals, and 41 in all competitions. Roma are one of the better defences on the continent but considering Salah has failed to score just once at Anfield in 2018, it’s hard to see him as anything other than a must own.

FOR: Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid, £10.1m, owned in 46.65% of leagues

Ronaldo is just a cheat code in this season’s Champions League. The Portuguese talisman has scored in every single match that Real Madrid have played in this competition, racking up 15 goals in the process.

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It’s not just on the European stage that Ronaldo has been dominant though, as he has scored in 14 of his last 15 matches to the tune of 26 goals. The only downside to Ronaldo is that his creative stats are down a bit this season but, when you score against nearly every team you face, that hardly seems to matter.

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