Griezmann, Sterling and Mane: The worst Champions League Team of the season
The Champions League final promises to be a match that will showcase some of the very best footballers in all of world football.
While football fans can debate the merits of each side and which club has the strongest squad, few could deny that Manchester City and Chelsea boast two of the most impressive teams in all of football.
However, before we marvel at the stars in light and dark blue, let’s first take a moment to catalogue some of the players that didn’t shine at all in this season’s Champions League.
Using data and their own player rating system, we joined forces with Football Critic to put together a starting XI of some of the most underwhelming players in Europe’s premier competition over the last 10 months.
Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak (6.1)
While Jan Oblak will undoubtedly still be celebrating his side’s title win in the Spanish top flight, there’s no denying that the Atletico Madrid shot-stopper wasn’t exactly at his best in the Champions League this season.
Over the course of eight games in the competition, the 28-year-old Slovenian keeper conceded no less than 11 goals and made just two clean sheets. Sure, Oblak put in a decent performance in the first leg of the Last 16 against Chelsea but besides that he was particularly poor across the competition.
Right back: Alessandro Florenzi (6.3)
Paris Saint-Germain have some of the best players in the world but they may need to buy a new right-back if Alessandro Florenzi’s performances were anything to go by this season.
The 30-year-old defender was relatively useless in an attacking sense, failing to register a single goal or assists over the course of 10 appearances and wasn’t much better in defending either.
Over the course of the competition Florenzi only managed to win 55% of his tackles and 44% of his aerial duels, while averaging 0.6 fouls per game.
Left back: Andrew Robertson (6.5)
Few full-backs in the modern game are as dynamic and dangerous with their crossing as Andy Robertson but for some reason the Scotland international just wasn’t at the races in the Champions League this season.
Despite bagging a goal and an assist in the Premier League campaign, Robertson failed to register a single assist over the course of eight appearances in Europe, despite averaging a similar number of crosses per game in each competition.
Centre back: Jules Kounde (6.3)
While Jules Kounde may be one of Europe’s most impressive central defenders, the 22-year-old French defender actually didn’t enjoy the most successful campaign in the Champions League this season.
Kounde only won 33% of his attempted tackles in the premier continental tournament and was part of a side that not only conceded eight goals in the group stages but also a further five in two legs against Borussia Dortmund.
Centre back: Clement Lenglet (6.3)
One of the most notable disappointing teams in this season’s Champions League were Barcelona and at the heart of that troubled side was central defender Clement Lenglet.
Whether it was the 3-0 defeat to Juventus, which saw Lenglet go off after 55 minutes or the five goals he and his fellow Barcelona defenders conceded over two games against PSG, the French defender never quite looked up to the task of performing in the Champions League this season.
Central midfielder: Georginio Wijnaldum (6.5)
While he may now be the subject of numerous contract offers from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, let’s not forget that Gini Wijnaldum was remarkable average in this season’s Champions League for Liverpool.
Not only did the central midfielder fail to score or assist in eight appearances, but he averaged 8.9 losses of possession per game, which was considerably higher than his more composed performances in the Premier League.
Central midfielder: Ander Herrera (6.6)
No player perhaps personified PSG’s inability to match Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Champions League quite as well as Ander Herrera.
The former Manchester United midfielder was a frequent member of the Parisian club’s European campaign but while he managed to pick up three yellow cards in just 10 games, he failed to provide a single goal or assist for the Ligue 1 giants.
Central midfielder: Bernardo Silva (6.8)
Although Manchester City have marched to the final of the competition, that doesn’t mean all of their players have been at the very best. And one player that seems to have had a particularly quiet campaign is Bernardo Silva.
The Portugal international did enjoy some good games – such as the 2-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach and the 2-1 victory over Dortmund – but aside from that he went 10 games without providing a single goal or assist in a City team that truly dominated each and every match. That simply isn’t good enough.
Winger: Raheem Sterling (6.6)
Another City player that has let himself down in Europe this season is Raheem Sterling. Despite bagging a respectable 10 goals and seven assists in the Premier League this term, the England international has only managed one goal and two assists in Europe.
Furthermore, the winger’s only solid performances seemed to come at the start of the season when his goal and both assists came in the group stages. After that Pep Guardiola offered Sterling just one start and three substitute appearances in the knock-out rounds and he really struggled to offer much for his team.
Winger: Sadio Mane (6.4)
While Sadio Mane may suggest he had a perfectly fine Champions League campaign with three goals and an assist in 10 games, there’s no doubt that the Senegal international was far too quiet for Liverpool in key games.
Sure, he scored two to push Liverpool by RB Leipzig in the Last 16, but he struggled to offer much at all in both legs against Real Madrid and in total went seven games without scoring or assisting for a team that would have had ambitions of challenging for the competition at the start of the year.
Striker: Antoine Griezmann (6.8)
While the jury is still out on how much of Barcelona’s poor season was down to Antoine Griezmann there’s no doubt that his performances in the Champions League were particularly poor.
While he may have bagged goals against minnows like Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros, the France international was completely useless in four games against Juventus and PSG and found himself being subbed off in two of them.
Indeed, Barcelona must have known something was going wrong when Martin Braithwaite was outsourcing their £108 million striker.