Maguire & Depay among flops in Champions League worst team of the groups

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • Updated: 8 Dec 2021 14:22 CET
  • 5 min read
FT Desk Updated: 8 Dec 2021 14:22 CET 5 min read
Harry Maguire, Man Utd v Atalanta, 2021-22

The 2021-22 Champions League group stages has produced some magnificent performances from many of the world’s greatest footballers.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah have delighted audiences but, on the other end of the scale, there have been some high-profile players who have massively disappointed.

Football Transfers selects its flop XI from the Champions League so far, with an emphasis on bigger-name players.

Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge)

Simon Mignolet is best known for his mixed spell in English football with Sunderland and Liverpool.

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For the last three seasons he has been playing in his homeland of Belgium, but it was not a memorable group stage for the goalkeeper.

Club Brugge conceded more goals than any other team in the pools, shipping 20 goals in six games as they finished bottom of their group.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd)

It has been clear pretty much since the day he signed over two years ago that Aaron Wan-Bissaka is not at the level required for a club as big as Man Utd.

This has been especially evident this season, including during a rocky Champions League group stage for Man Utd.

Wan-Bissaka’s attacking qualities are virtually non-existent, while even his defending has been suspect this campaign – as demonstrated versus Atalanta.

Harry Maguire (Man Utd)

Harry Maguire has endured a disastrous season so far from an individual point of view, being guilty for a catalogue of errors at home and abroad.

In the Champions League, Maguire was directly responsible for three of the goals Man Utd conceded in the group stages.

These were Duvan Zapata and Merih Demiral’s strikes for Atalanta and Nicolas Ngamaleu’s goal in the defeat to Young Boys.

Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)

When it comes to teams, Borussia Dortmund are probably the biggest flops of the Champions League group stages.

Dortmund and Hummels were dumped out of the UCL in the group stages

Dortmund and Hummels were dumped out of the UCL in the group stages

Failing to qualify in a rather modest group consisting of Ajax, Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas is a huge failure.

The main reason for only coming third was their leaky defence, with Mats Hummels guilty of numerous mistakes.

Nico Schulz (Borussia Dortmund)

In truth, all of Dortmund’s backline could have been selected in this worst XI as they conceded a whopping 11 goals in their six games.

This included the 4-0 thrashing by Ajax in Amsterdam, in which Schulz was run ragged by the likes of Antony and Dusan Tadic.

Dortmund simply have to improve their defence if they are to have any hope of challenging Bayern Munich in Germany for the rest of the campaign.

Franck Kessie (AC Milan)

Franck Kessie’s contract expires at the end of the season and it seems almost certain now that he will choose to leave the club on a Bosman Transfer.

The Champions League group stages offered him the chance to prove his worth to the cream of the continent but he failed dismally.

Franck Kessie had a shocking group stage for Milan

Franck Kessie had a shocking group stage for Milan

He was one of the key reasons Milan exited from Europe. Although he was unlucky to an extent, he stupidly got himself sent off for two yellows at home to Atletico Madrid. That red card cost Milan the win and ultimately saw the Rossoneri go out. He was also overrun in both losses to Liverpool.

Weston McKennie (Juventus)

Juventus’ central midfield has been a big problem for years, ever since the great trio of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba left the club between 2015 and 2016.

This has been evident during what has been a disastrous Serie A season for Juventus this term. The Bianconeri have fared a bit better in Europe and have at least qualified for the knockout stages.

However, they were humiliatingly thumped 4-0 at Chelsea to show just how big the gap is between them and Europe’s elite. McKennie was particularly bad in that game, with a horrific clearance leading Chelsea’s fourth goal.

Champions League Worst Team of the Group Stage

Champions League Worst Team of the Group Stage

Lautaro Martinez (Inter)

Lautaro Martinez has had an up and down season so far. His overall record for Inter is decent, with eight goals in 17 starts.

However, that included a scoreless run of a month, and no goals or assists at all for the Nerazzurri in the Champions League.

Lautaro is undoubtedly a top forward but he needs to improve his finishing and he was wasteful in the two defeats to group winners Real Madrid.

Neymar (PSG)

When Lionel Messi signed for PSG on a Bosman Transfer this past summer, football lovers were salivating at the prospect of the Argentine teaming up with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

However, the trio have failed so far to gel. Messi has scored only one goal in Ligue 1 while Neymar has struggled both in France and in Europe.

Neymar had no goals or assists in the groups

Neymar had no goals or assists in the groups

The Brazilian scored no goals and generated no assists in his four games before he was struck down with injury.

Memphis Depay (Barcelona)

Having flopped earlier in his career with Manchester United, there were always doubts whether Memphis Depay was good enough to really make it at an elite club.

So far, since his summer Bosman Transfer to Barcelona from Lyon, it seems that he isn’t.

Zero goals and zero assists in five Champions League games tells its own story as Barca risk being eliminated in the group stages.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had the chance this season to become the oldest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League, with no player ever finding the net over the age of 40.

However, the Sweden legend barely threatened at all during his four appearances in the group stage.

He was particularly disappointing in the must-win final matchday game as Milan fell to a desperately disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool.