With the UEFA Champions League group stage kicking off on Tuesday, let’s take a look at a combined starting lineup of the best players from each group.
Sidibe and Pulisic are the only non-Atlético players to make the cut. The French fullback gets the start ahead of Juanfran and Dortmund’s Lucasz Piszczek, while the American slightly edges out Ángel Correa.
Subs: Burki, Glik, R. Guerreiro, Tielemans, Witsel, Reus, Falcao
It was a tough decision to leave Luis Suarez out but Harry Kane gets the nod ahead of El Pistolero. Elsewhere, World Cup winner Hugo Lloris is a backup, alongside Ivan Perisic, Sergi Roberto and co.
Subs: Lloris, Miranda, Vrsaljko, S. Roberto, Perisic, Suarez, Icardi
The likes of Cavani, Mertens, and Manè have to settle for a place in the bench, while the immense amount of attacking firepower up top leaves no room for Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne.
Subs: Areola, T. Silva, Fabinho, Milner, Mane, Cavani, Mertens
The so called “Group of Life” is headlined by six Porto players. Galatasaray’s Fernando Muslera starts over the legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas, while Lokimotiv’s Benedikt Höwedes partners former Shalke 04 teammate Matija Nastasić in the back.
Subs: Casillas, Mbemba, Baba Rahman, Inan, Rudy, Konoplyanka, Marega
Let’s face it, none of Ajax, Benfica, or AEK Athens’ players are good enough to get in Bayern’s lineup. 19 year old Matthis de Ligt earns his place on the bench however, next to Ajax teammate Daley Blind and Benfica’s Jonas.
Subs: Onana, de Ligt, Blind, Ribery, Coman, Jonas, Huntelaar
Just like Group E, this group’s combined XI is comprised of one team. Manchester City’s gulf in class leaves Lyon duo Memphis Depay and Nabil Fekir on the bench, while Aymeric Laporte gets the start in the back ahead of John Stones.
Subs: Lopes, Stones, Delph, B. Silva, Fekir, Memphis, G. Jesus
The one team combined XI trend ends with Real Madrid in Group G. Isco is preferred over Marco Asensio, while Karim Benzema narrowly beats Roma’s Edin Dzeko to the number 9 spot.
Subs: Navas, Manolas, Nacho, De Rossi, N’zonzi, Asensio, Dzeko
Manchester United and Juventus make up Group H’s combined XI, with the Turin side fielding 7 starters. Valencia’s sole representative is Spanish international Rodrigo, who makes his way on the bench alongside Alexis Sanchez and Mario Mandzukic.
Subs: Szczesny, Shaw, Benatia, Sanchez, Costa, Mandzukic, Rodrigo