UEFA have just released their Champions League Squad of the Season made up of the best 18 players of the 2015-16 competition.
Star names expectedly feature in the list of the UCL’s top players of 2015-16 – see below for the full squad – but many are notable by their absence leaving some pundits, many punters and most online football tipsters scratching their heads as to how UEFA’s technical observers arrived at their decisions.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez all make the cut but what about Neymar Jr, Keylor Navas and the glaring absence of any player from the English Premier League.
LA LIGA DOMINATES UCL BEST PLAYERS SQUAD
La Liga players dominate the 18 strong squad of the UCL’s top players with an incredible 15 selected by UEFA, 12 of which play for the two finalists – Real Madrid and Atlético.
The other three are from Barcelona but not all of their Three Amigos make the squad despite their astonishing season – Messi and Suárez won selection but Neymar Jr misses out.
The third Barca man, Iniesta was chosen in a five strong midfield comprising two from both Madrid clubs – Atléti’s Gabi and Koke alongside Kroos and Modrić from Los Blancos.
BUNDESLIGA STARS – BUT NO NAVAS
The Bundesliga is represented by just two Bayern stars. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is chosen despite shipping nine goals in 11 games whilst Real’s Costa Rican shot stopper Navas is surprisingly overlooked. Navas set the record for the longest run without conceding a first Champions League goal, kept an astonishing ten clean sheets in 12 UCL games for Madrid this season and won the trophy yet was still omitted.
Robert Lewandowski hit nine for Bayern in 12 UCL games – including a hat-trick against Dinamo Zagreb – a prolific strike rate that earned him a place in UEFA’s best players squad, but it was still seven short of Ronaldo’s 16 goals in the 2015-16 UCL campaign.
— Champions League (@ChampionsJeague) 28 May 2016
PSG’s Thiago Silva is the only other player from outside La Liga to feature in UEFA’s UCL squad for 2015-16 and makes up a five strong defence comprising Godin and Jaunfran from Atlético and Real’s Ramos and Marcelo.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SQUAD OF THE SEASON 2015-16
Jan Oblak – Atlético Madrid
Manuel Neuer – Bayern München
Diego Godin – Atlético Madrid
Juanfran – Atlético Madrid
Thiago Silva – Paris Saint-Germain
Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid
Marcelo – Real Madrid
Gabi – Atlético Madrid
Koke – Atlético Madrid
Andres Iniesta – Barcelona
Toni Kroos – Real Madrid
Luka Modrić – Real Madrid
Antoine Griezmann – Atlético Madrid
Luis Suárez – Barcelona
Lionel Messi – Barcelona
Robert Lewandowski – Bayern München
Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid
The 18 were chosen by UEFA’s ten strong technical panel lead by their chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu and featured Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Savo Milošević and Jean-Paul Brigger from FIFA among others.
By: Joe Cahal