Mind-blowing football has since been associated with Champions League football. Being one of the most watched sporting events in the world, the UEFA Champions League, season after season, served up beautiful football…and this season, history was disrupted.
A certain Leicester City side found themselves playing alongside giants like Real Madrid and Bayern. There was a miraculous, never-to-be-seen-again comeback at the Camp Nou.
There were also weird aggregate score lines. 6-6, 2-10. Of course, the controversies were there too, most notable being Cuadrado sent off during the final after spending only 18 minutes on the pitch. No good without bad, right?
We now have Real Madrid champions of European club football, but let’s take a look at 10 of the best players throughout the season, that played their way into our hearts and left us with memories.
- Cristiano Ronaldo
Finishing the season top scorer with 12 goals (and 6 assists), CR7 broke all records on the way to scoring well past 100 times in UEFA club competition. While the Portuguese occasionally featured more centrally for Real, this didn’t stop the goal-machine from banging in the goals. He must surely have his sights set on winning the Confederations Cup now.
- Dani Alves
The Brazilian right-back was a constant feature in Allegri’s side. His forward bursts provided Juventus with an experienced attacking outlet which they used to pepper opposition defenses. At his age, one would have thought his best years were far gone. Alves has proved all wrong.
- Antoine Griezmann
It’s no small feat to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and lose to the eventual champions. But, Atletico, with Griezmann in their ranks, proved to the world that they can be mentioned among the big names. Griezmann, during the campaign, became Atleti’s top goalscorer in the Champions League. And of course, we saw plenty of that “Hotline Bling Celebration”.
- Gianluigi Buffon
It will take a while before you see another goalkeeper who will keep a clean sheet for 690 minutes in the Champions League. That’s right: 11 hours and 30 minutes of play without conceding a goal. Although the Italian legend lost out on the ultimate prize, the 8 clean sheets he kept was more than enough to catch our attention.
- Lionel Messi
A household name regularly featuring on lists of names of record breakers, Lionel Messi did not fail to show up again this season. Although he missed out on the trophy and the top spot on the goalscorers sheet, his god-like performances produced 11 goals. Not bad, eh?
- Sergio Ramos
Captain Ramos has steadily and successfully steered Real Madrid to another UCL trophy. His leadership at the back, the perfect connection between himself, Varane and Navas all contributed to the success that came this season. He put all on the line in this journey and has reaped the reward.
- Kylian Mbappe
At 18 years and 134 days, he became the youngest player to score in a Champions League semi-final. It’s understandable that the Monaco side he’s part of is a free-scoring side. But, Mbappe was always a stand-out performer for the French side. His finishing was always top-notch and you can be sure there’s more coming from the French teenager.
- Neymar Jr.
It’s hard to overlook a name that bagged 8 assists and scored that beautiful free-kick against PSG. Although he was booked 5 times (joint highest with PSG’s Marco Verratti), that didn’t stop the Brazilian from wowing us with his “show off” style of play.
The one name fans of Atletico Madrid and Juventus won’t be forgetting in a hurry. His heart-breaking goal in the Vicente Calderon still echoes. His stellar commanding performance that blew Juventus midfielders away still rings. The diminutive Spaniard, during the season, showed up when it mattered the most.
- Ousmane Dembele
The Frenchman’s beautiful football added flair to the Dortmund side and gave them even more options as regards attacking play. His 5 assists helped players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score up to 7 goals during the campaign.
And so that’s our list. What do you think? Which player has been omitted? Which player shouldn’t have missed the cut? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.Tags: champions league, ucl 2017, uefa champions league 2017