Marco Reus, Branislav Ivanovic and Philipp Lahm gatecrash a side dominated by the Madrid clubs as Goal selects the standout performers from Europe’s top competition this term
Real Madrid’s dramatic 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid sealed the fabled Decima triumph as the 2013-14 Champions League drew to a thrilling close on Saturday in Lisbon.
There were records broken, upsets pulled off and dramatic comebacks aplenty in an enthralling competition, and the standout stars of the tournament this term have been rewarded with a place in Goal‘s Team of the Season.
In goal is Atletico’s on-loan star Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian, who is yet to reach a decision on whether he will return full-time to parent club Chelsea for next term, secured five clean sheets in 12 matches in the tournament and was a model of consistency in Atleti’s surprise march to the final.
Our back four begins with Branislav Ivanovic, who was part of an exemplary Blues defence which kept seven clean sheets prior to their 3-1 semi-final second leg loss to Atletico. The Serbian was a crucial cog in Jose Mourinho’s solid side and even managed to create six goalscoring chances from full-back.
In central defence, Sergio Ramos earns a place after some colossal performances in the latter stages of the tournament. The Spaniard was a rock at the back for Madrid, particularly in the semi-final against Bayern Munich, against whom he scored an impressive double in Germany. After a shaky start in the final, Ramos became a vital springboard for Madrid’s efforts to get back into the game and his last-gasp header was fully deserved following his Lisbon showing.
Alongside Ramos is Atletico stalwart Miranda. The Brazilian was a rock for Simeone’s side, particularly in the wins over Barcelona and Chelsea, and his tremendous efforts in keeping Madrid’s attackers quiet for much of the first 100 minutes in Lisbon meant he certainly did not deserve to be on the losing side.
Miranda’s team-mate Filipe Luis completes our back four, with the left-back notching a goal and an assist to cap a hugely impressive campaign for the beaten finalists.
First up in our three-man midfield is Luka Modric. The Croatian has established himself as one of Madrid’s best players under Carlo Ancelotti, creating close to 20 goalscoring chances and maintaining a pass completion rate of more than 92 per cent throughout the tournament.
In the middle, Philipp Lahm just about earns the spot after a remarkable season playing in two different roles for Bayern. Lahm, shifted into central midfield for much of the campaign under Pep Guardiola, was exemplary on the ball and in screening the defence against Manchester City in the group stage and was at his brilliant best in switching between midfield and full-back against Arsenal and Manchester United in the knockout rounds.
Finally, Angel Di Maria completes the midfield trio, with the Argentine adapting to a central role in fine style this season as he notched three goals and six assists in the competition and put in a man-of-the-match showing in the final in Lisbon with his electric bursts forward.
Our three-man attack begins with Marco Reus. The Borussia Dortmund star enjoyed another impressive campaign in Europe, notching five goals and three assists before Jurgen Klopp’s side were edged out by eventual winners Madrid in the quarter-finals. Reus scored a double in the second leg to inflict the only defeat on the Spanish side in this season’s tournament.
The central striker is none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who lit up the first two rounds of the tournament with 10 goals in just eight appearances for Paris Saint-Germain. The Sweden star was sidelined for the return trip to Chelsea due to a hamstring injury, with the French champions ultimately crashing out in his absence.
Finally, this season’s top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo secures the final spot in our XI after a quite remarkable campaign. The Portugal captain broke the record for goals in the group stages with a total of nine strikes following on from his opening-day hat-trick before he went on to surpass Lionel Messi’s best of 14 in one campaign with his double against Bayern. A late penalty in Saturday’s final took Ronaldo to a record-setting 17 for one Champions League tournament as he inspired Madrid – finally – to La Decima.