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Champions League Team of the Tournament

Champions League Team of the Tournament

On Saturday night, the 2022/23 Champions League campaign concluded as Manchester City beat Inter Milan 1-0 in the final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul to win a historic treble, equalling Manchester United’s famous achievement from the 1998/99 season.

This victory meant that Manchester became just the second city in football history to have two Champions League winners, after Milan, while also putting Pep Guardiola’s name in up lights as the first-ever manager to win a treble (league, domestic cup and Champions League) with two separate clubs, having managed this feat with Barcelona in the 2008/09 season.

Here, we take a look at our Champions League team of the season from the 2022/23 campaign…

Champions League TOTS

Goalkeeper: Andre Onana

Inter Milan’s Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana is the first player to feature on this list, with the 27-year-old receiving many plaudits throughout the campaign, having played a total of 13 matches in this season’s competition while keeping eight clean sheets.

Onana, formerly of Ajax, actually made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the competition, saving 47 efforts on goal, preventing a total of 6.84xg. What makes the Nerazzuri goalkeeper’s record even more impressive, is the fact that Inter had to face the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AC Milan on their way to the Champions League final itself.

Right Back: Manuel Akanji

Manuel Akanji has arguably been one of the signings of the season, having been acquired for just £15m last summer from Borussia Dortmund.

The 27-year-old Swiss defender has shown an incredible amount of versatility since joining the Cityzens, having played as a left-back, right-back and as a centre-back when City have used their three-at-the-back formation.

Akanji played 11 times in the 2022/23 Champions League, helping Guardiola’s side to six clean sheets, while averaging 0.8 interceptions per game, as well as 2.5 tackles per game and 1.6 clearances.

Centre Back: Ruben Dias

The second City player to make it into this team is Ruben Dias, who has been a rock at the back for the Sky Blues since joining them from Benfica back in the summer of 2020.

Dias played in 12 of City’s 13 Champions League matches during the 2022/23 season and sensationally displayed his ball-playing ability throughout the tournament with a 97% passing accuracy. The Portugal international also showed his leadership skills in defence, making 2.2 tackles per game as well as 2.1 clearances.

As well as this, the 26-year-old also won an average of 4.3 duels per game which is impressive considering that City were paired up against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of this competition.

Centre Back: Alessandro Bastoni

Alessandro Bastoni proved why he is touted as one of the best centre-backs in world football at the age of 24, having put in many strong displays throughout the competition.

The Inter Milan centre-back played 12 matches across the 2022/23 Champions League season, putting in some very mature performances across the board, averaging 1.7 tackles per game, as well as 2.5 clearances, while also winning 3.9 duels per match. Noticeably, Bastoni also managed a total of three assists from centre-back in the Champions League.

Left Back: Federico Dimarco

25-year-old Italian wing-back Federico Dimarco was one of the surprise performers in this competition, having adequately replaced Ivan Perisic following the Croatian’s move to Tottenham last summer, as well as keeping Germany international Robin Gosens out of the side.

Dimarco managed to create the third-most assists of any player in this season’s Champions League with five assists in 11 matches. The Italian’s attacking performances provided Inter with a great attacking outlet down the left wing, something that is vital in Simone Inzaghi’s side’s five-at-the-back setup, with the wing-backs being relied upon to provide the width.

Central midfield: Rodri

Spanish midfielder, Rodri, was named as the man of the match in the final itself, following the 26-year-old’s dominant midfield performance and superb strike to win City their first-ever Champions League crown.

Rodri scored two goals in this season’s competition as a whole, having struck a stunning left-footed strike to open the score in City’s 4-1 aggregate win over Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

The ex-Atletico Madrid man averaged a total of 1.1 interceptions, 2 tackles, 1.5 possession gains per match in the Champions League, while only being dribbled past 0.4 times per game across the whole competition.

Central Midfield: John Stones

John Stones also features alongside Rodri, having played a hybrid role between defence and midfield throughout the competition.

The 29-year-old played and started eight matches in this season’s competition, and even managed a stunning goal in the group stages as City beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola utilised Stones’ passing ability to perfection in the 2022/23 Champions League season, with the England international finishing on a 91% passing accuracy, with 88% accuracy in the opposition’s half, helping to build play through midfield, while offering defensive stability in the process.

Central Attacking Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne finished as the Champions League’s top assist maker, creating six in total while scoring twice in 10 appearances, averaging 1.6 chances created per 90 minutes.

The Belgian’s appearance in the final was heartbreakingly cut short following a hamstring injury, meaning that he is yet to complete a full Champions League final game, having also been subbed off in their 2021 showdown with Chelsea in Porto due to injury.

However, the ex-Wolfsburg man’s influence on the City team was vital, with one of his key moments being the superb equaliser that he bagged against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu to settle City’s nerves in the first leg of the semi-final.

Right-Wing: Joao Mario

Perhaps an underrated shout in the Champions League Team of the Tournament is ex-West Ham and Inter midfielder Joao Mario, who played a key role in Benfica’s shock run to the quarter-finals of this competition.

The 30-year-old scored a total of six goals and created two assists in 10 matches, contributing to 31% of Benfica’s goals in this competition, scoring each goal across six different matches against the likes of Juventus (twice), PSG, Maccabi Haifa and Club Brugge (twice).

Striker: Erling Haaland

Typically, Erling Haaland finished as the Champions League’s top scorer, bagging a total of 12 goals and one assist in 11 appearances.

The 22-year-old Norway international had an incredible debut season for the Cityzens, scoring 52 goals across all competitions as they went on to win the treble, putting himself in contention with Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or.

Perhaps Haaland’s most remembered Champions League performance to date came at the expense of RB Leipzig, where he scored five times as City thrashed the German Bundesliga side 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the Round of 16 second leg following a 1-1 draw in Germany.

Left-Wing: Vinicius Junior

The final player on this list is Vinicius Junior, with the Brazilian showing superb consistency once again, despite Real’s exit in the semi-finals to City.

Vinicius finished as the third top scorer in this season’s competition with a total of seven goals in 12 matches, while also being the second-highest assist maker with five to his name, capping off another superb campaign for the 22-year-old. Interestingly, the Brazil international contributed to 46% of Real’s goals in this competition, five percent more than Haaland.