This year’s Group D in the Champions League should prove to be an exciting one with the quality on offer among the teams involved.
It all kicks off on Wednesday, with Bayer Leverkusen welcoming Russian league runners-up Lokomotiv Moscow, whilst Atletico Madrid entertain 35-time Serie A champions Juventus to Wanda Metropolitano.
Here’s a closer look at the best players available to the four managers, and how would they line up in the combined best XI.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Jan Oblak (GK) – Picking the Slovenia international is a real no brainer here, as he’s been one of world’s best keepers for a few years now. He has more clean sheets than goals conceded since 2014/15 season, which is frankly ridiculous.
Kieran Trippier (RB) – The defender seems to have rediscovered his World Cup form since completing a move to Diego Simeone’s side in the summer. Since the start of the season, Trippier has registered one assist and two clean sheets at the new club, getting rewarded with a recall to England’s senior international squad.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – Giorgio Chellini would have been the obvious choice here, but the 35-year-old veteran is injured until March. However, Bonucci, Chellini’s right hand man, is the next best thing and has proved his solidity at the back for many years now.
Jonathan Tah (CB) – When you make your Bundesliga debut at 17, it’s usually a good sign. Once deemed the ‘next Jerome Boateng’, Tah is now making his own name with consistent and impressive performances for Bayer and the German national team. At 23, Tah looks ready to face some of the best European forwards.
Alex Sandro (LB) – Having been first choice at both club and international level, the Brazilian has slowly established himself as one of the most valued left backs in modern football. Real Madrid’s Marcelo has regularly been considered as the best left back in the world, but the fact that Sandro took his place in the Brazil squad in the summer underlines just how good he is.
Saul Niguez (CM) – One of Diego Simeone’s trusted workmen who has always featured during the big European nights for Atletico Madrid. Admired by many, he’s displayed his versatility and athleticism on the pitch for many years now. He provides great cover for a stern Atletico defence, as well as, chipping in with a fair few goals too.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – Bosnia international Pjanic was one of the first names on the team sheet during the
Joao Felix (RW) – The most expensive transfer this summer, Felix has incredible awareness and an eye for a goal, which he regularly demonstrated for Benfica last season. He still has a long way to go if he wants to repay the fee invested in him or to fill Antoine Griezmann’s void, but the start has certainly been encouraging.
Kevin Volland (ST) – Sure, you could go with any one of Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata or Diego Costa, but Volland had a more successful 2018/19 season than any of the previously mentioned forwards and already has a goal and two assist in the league this campaign.
Cristiano Ronaldo (LW) – Sometimes, pictures speak louder than words.