Champions League Team of the Group Stage: Messi & Ronaldo make all-star XI

No sooner had the Champions League group stage kicked off in a flurry of flashbulbs back in September and we are now faced with a near three-month impasse before our next fix from the cream of the continent’s crop.

From Malaga’s unbeaten start in their debut season in the competition, to Shakhtar Donetsk’s South American revolution and the shock exit of reigning European champions Chelsea, there has been no shortage of thrills and spills.

As ever has been on hand to witness every kick of the action and we have selected our best XI from the group stage based on our very own ratings index.

Manchester City may well have bowed out of the competition with just three points to their name, but goalkeeper Joe Hart could not have done much more for his side – with his two performances against Borussia Dortmund his stand-out displays.

Bayern Munich’s Mr. Consistent, Philipp Lahm, has proved dependable yet again as the Bavarians secured top spot in Group F and though he does much of his best work at left-back he slots into our side on the opposite flank. Thiago Silva of Paris Saint-Germain and Malaga’s Martin Demichelis partner one another at centre-back after helping their sides to top Groups A and C respectively, while Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini is included for his part in a Bianconeri defence that shipped just four goals.

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fernandinho and Willian give a South American feel to our midfield, with the Brazilian pair shining as they combined to help dump Chelsea out of Group E. And Malaga’s 20-year-old sensation Isco struck twice in six games to announce himself on the European stage and walk straight into our line-up.

In attack Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have again been at their irrepressible best, with 11 goals between them, but our front-line is spearheaded by the competition’s surprise individual package. With six goals in six games, Burak Yilmaz scored all but one of Galatasaray’s group stage goals and almost single-handedly secured their place in the last 16.

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