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Champions League Team of the Week

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final line up has been completed following the second round of last-16 ties.

Manchester City have joined Chelsea as the Premier League representatives in the last eight, following a 7-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig that sent a statement of their intent. Liverpool are out after a convincing defeat to Real Madrid over two legs, while Inter Milan and Napoli progressed this week to ensure Serie A have three sides in the quarter-finals.

Here is the The Football Faithful’s Champions League Team of the Week

Goalkeeper: André Onana – Inter Milan

Inter Milan are into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 12 years after Simeone Inzaghi’s side withstood strong Porto pressure to progress at the Estádio do Dragão. Andre Onana was the hero for the Italians, as the goalkeeper made a string of saves to frustrate the hosts in a goalless draw in Portugal.

Inter were protecting a 1-0 first-leg lead and rode their luck to reach the last eight, with Onana making a crucial stoppage-time save to turn Mehdi Taremi’s header onto the post as Porto pressed for a breakthrough late on.

An outstanding performance from the Cameroonian, who leads the Champions League for saves (37) and clean sheets (5) this season.

Right-back: Matteo Darmian – Inter Milan

A fantastic performance from the defender in tough conditions in Portugal, with the ex-Manchester United man epitomising the battling spirit from his side at Porto.

So often the 33-year-old was in the right place at the right time to disrupt attacks from the home side, covering errors from several teammates in a disciplined defensive display. Operating on the right-hand side of a back three, his intelligent positioning helped deal with the pace of Porto’s forward line.

Centre-back: Eder Militao – Real Madrid

Eder Militao is maturing into one of Europe’s best centre-backs with the Brazilian again impressive as Real Madrid shut out a lacklustre Liverpool to reach the quarter-finals. After a crucial goal in the first leg, Militao produced a determined defensive showing in the second leg as Real won 1-0 to move into the last eight.

Militao was alert and aggressive in his defending and showcased improving confidence in possession as he stepped forward into midfield and broke lines. His partnership with Antonio Rudiger has the impressive ingredients required to be the foundation for the Spaniard’s defence.

Centre-back: Kim Min-Jae – Napoli

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti this week called Kim Min-Jae ‘the best centre-back in the world right now’ and the South Korean’s reputation continues to enhance with each performance.

The centre-back recorded another clean sheet as Napoli shut out Eintracht Frankfurt over two legs to reach the quarter-finals, with confidence growing that the runaway Serie A leaders can mount a challenge for the Champions League.

Min-Jae lived up to his ‘Monster’ nickname with a dominant defensive performance, allowing the Bundesliga side little chance of rescuing the tie in the second leg. He might just be one of the most sought-after players of the summer transfer window, amid rumours of a modest release clause.

Left-back: Nathan Ake – Manchester City

Pep Guardiola opted for four recognised central defenders to deal with the threat of RB Leipzig this week, a tactic that worked well as Manchester City swatted aside the Bundesliga side to reach the last eight.

Erling Haaland might have stolen the headlines with a five-star showing at the Etihad, but the performance of Nathan Ake deserves praise. Operating at left-back, the Dutchman completed 91.1% of his passes, 100% of his take-ons and won eight duels.

Having come close to leaving the club last summer, Ake is now arguably the first name on the team sheet for Guardiola defensively. He is enjoying a fine season and has been the most consistent performer among City’s defensive options.

Midfield: Eduardo Camavinga – Real Madrid

Is this kid really just 20?

Watching Camavinga you’d be forgiven for thinking the midfielder was a veteran performer, such is the maturity and confidence he shows at the heart of the side. The Frenchman was brilliant in Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool, showcasing the talent and temperament which has seen him come-of-age to take a starting role in the team since the turn of the new year.

Premier League clubs courted Camavinga during the January transfer window, but there’s good reason Carlo Ancelotti called the midfielder ‘untouchable’. An underrated part of the club’s Champions League success last season, his coolness could be crucial once again as the latter stages heat up.

Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

A vintage performance from Kevin De Bruyne who was involved in everything as Manchester City sent out a statement of intent.

City equalled their biggest ever win in this competition with a 7-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig at the Etihad, with De Bruyne a joy to watch as he carved out chances with passes of perfect weight. A thumping effort from distance led to Erling Haaland’s second goal, before De Bruyne rounded off the win with a special strike of his own.

More like it from the brilliant Belgian after a comparative dip from his extraordinary standards. A positive sign for Pep Guardiola to have his big names fit and firing in Europe.

Midfield: Hakan Calhanoglu – Inter Milan

Excellent and cool in the heat of battle against Porto this week, Calhanoglu produced a man-of-the-match performance in Inter’s goalless draw at the Estádio do Dragão.

Composure personified, the Turkish midfielder recorded a game-leading 96% pass accuracy, completed 100% dribbles, created two chances and made a huge 11 ball recoveries. Calhanoglu symbolised a relentless shift from Inter in Portugal, as the visitors hung on on occasion to book their place in the last eight.

The 29-year-old has adapted brilliantly to a new role as the conductor of this Inter side this season and ranks second in Serie A for chances created. He will be crucial to the club’s hopes of progressing deeper into the Champions League.

Forward: Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid

Vinicius Junior has been a thorn in the side of Liverpool in recent meetings and was again influential as Real Madrid progressed to the quarter-finals.

The Brazilian thrived in the space vacated as Liverpool sought to get back into the tie, coming close on occasion to opening the scoring during the first-half and toying with Trent Alexander-Arnold. The 22-year-old was too good, too sharp, and shone in both legs of the tie as the holders dumped out last season’s runners-up.

Vinicius set-up Karim Benzema’s second-half winner at the Bernabeu and earned acclaim from his manager, as Carlo Ancelotti hailed the winger as ‘the best in the world’.

Forward: Victor Osimhen – Napoli

Napoli breezed into the quarter-finals and it was the club’s leading scorer who did the damage against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Victor Osimhen made it 23 goals for the campaign with a brace against the Bundesliga side, rising high to power home a header from Matteo Politano’s cross, before finding himself in the right place to turn in Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s centre for a second.

The Nigerian has tormented Serie A defences all season and is spearheading Napoli’s challenge in Europe. None of the remaining quarter-finalists will want to draw the Italian league leaders in Friday’s draw.

Forward: Erling Haaland

Just ridiculous.

Erling Haaland’s season just keeps on getting better, with the forward becoming just the third player to score FIVE goals in a Champions League fixture this week. RB Leipzig had no answer to the Norwegian, who helped himself to a first-half hat-trick with a penalty and two poacher’s efforts.

Haaland added two more in the second half to take his total to 39 goals in all competitions this season, breaking Manchester City’s all-time club record in mid-March. The levels he could reach – both this season and in the coming campaigns – are frightening.

Guardiola’s 63rd-minute substitution of the 22-year-old might just have been an act of mercy towards City’s shell-shocked opponents.

Read Also – Mind-boggling stats from Erling Haaland’s Champions League career

Read – Ranking the five best out-and-out strikers in European Football right now

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