The 2013 UEFA Champions League round of 16 provided some fantastic matchups and spectacular individual performances across all eight matches.
From the heroics of David De Gea at the back for Manchester United to the brilliance of Thomas Muller in attack for Bayern Munich, several stars took the stage during the first leg of the Champions League and deserved to be recognized for their on-field performances.
Read on to see a best starting side from the first leg of the UCL round of 16.
There is little doubting that Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was the best player for the Red Devils in their Champions League clash; without him there was simply no way that United could have hung on for the 1-1 draw that they picked up in the first leg.
De Gea pulled off some brilliant reflex saves but, most importantly, showed little signs of regressing back to the mistake-filled game that had been existent previously in the season.
Few players can claim the game that Alex Sandro had for Porto, who gained a crucial 1-0 lead over Malaga in the opening leg of their round of 16 tie.
The Portuguese side had huge dominance over their Spanish opponents but could not completely put them away until Joao Moutinho's goal in the second half—a goal that Sandro provided the assist for.
The defender also notched up an incredible eight tackles, four interceptions and an 100 percent effectiveness in his clearances for the match.
Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels has been one of the most consistent defenders in world football over the past few seasons, but it was his attacking prowess that was most needed here.
Dortmund were trailing 2-1 with just a couple of minutes to go when Hummels headed home the game-equalizing goal—giving the German champions a huge 2-2 draw and away goal advantage heading into the second leg back in Germany in March.
Hummels had also hit the woodwork with an earlier effort in the match—plus notched up four tackles and an interception at the back to keep the Ukrainian attack at bay.
His significance in this game could not have been more profound.
Bayern Munich were simply superb against Arsenal in their first leg, with right wing-back Philipp Lahm proving to be an absolute handful on the Gunners left hand side.
His crossing and dribbling caused havoc for the North London club all night—laying on one assist and nearly creating two or three more had the Germans' finishing been a little more effective.
Lahm was also dynamic in defense, picking up three tackles and four interceptions.
Manchester United defender Phil Jones was assigned the incredibly tough role of marking Cristiano Ronaldo out of the game in their opening leg, and whilst the superstar winger still managed to find the back of the net, Jones deserves plenty of praise for his efforts here.
Few defenders would be able to stick with the Portuguese star for 90 minutes and be as effective at the back as he was, as well as keep Los Blancos' attack out for the full majority of the fixture.
He wasn't marking Ronaldo at the time of the goal, so it's hard to peg that one on him, with Jones chalking up a very, very important performance at the back for United.
Few performances were more significant than what Jones did on Ronaldo.
The other Real Madrid winger, Angel Di Maria, was absolutely incredible coming in off either flank for Los Blancos here—throwing in the assist from the left for Ronaldo's game-tying goal and nearly breaking the deadlock himself time and time again throughout the second half.
Di Maria was Madrid's best attacking option with Ronaldo man-marked for the whole game, and he very nearly made United pay as a result of that.
With Kaka shining, it will be fascinating to see how Di Maria goes in winning back his starting spot for the return leg at Old Trafford, however.
Juventus were scary good against Celtic, with the visitors controlling the middle beautifully through their central pairing—starting with Marchisio who had an absolute perfect game in the middle.
Marchisio netted a goal and an assist in the 3-0 win and was simply dominant and effective every time he got the ball in the middle of the field for the Italian side.
Solid and near-flawless performance from the midfielder.
American midfielder Jermaine Jones was also a key figure centrally in the Champions League round of 16, starring for German club Schalke in their key 1-1 draw away to Galatasaray.
Jones netted the game-tying goal for the German club but was a complete beast through the middle of the field—dominating in both attack and defense throughout the match.
The midfielder led the team in shots, shots on target, total passes, aerial duels won, times fouled, clearance effectiveness and total match rating—something which wasn't at all that surprising given his effectiveness right across the pitch for the Germans here.
His goal could well prove to be the difference in this tie.
For me, there was no more effective and important player in the opening leg of the Champions League knockout rounds than that of Thomas Muller from Bayern Munich.
The German was simply superb drifting in from the right flank—netting a goal and an assist to give the visitors a huge 2-0 lead early in the match, which could dictate the course of the evening completely.
Muller also chalked up a staggering six tackles and three interceptions, numbers very high for an offensively-minded player, to show that he was a real complete player on the right flank.
Perhaps heightened by the Gunners' susceptibility at left back, but even still. This was a very complete performance from a very skilled player on the night.
For most of the match, Stephan El Shaarawy was the lone attacking option for Milan against Barcelona, with the Italian international forced to attack almost single-handedly down the left hand side.
And yet he did it with such success that Milan were able to expose Barca and create attacking chances of their own and end up pulling off the upset of the first leg.
El Shaarawy nearly scored in the first half and then laid on a beautiful pass to set up the second goal for the home side. Which, given how hard it will be to beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp, could turn out to be one of the most pivotal passes of the first leg.
Without much support, El Shaarawy was fantastic for Milan.
We finish our team of the week here with Mandzukic, who harassed the Gunners' defense all night long through the middle of the pitch and continued to be a real asset for the German giants.
Mandzukic netted the game-sealing goal for Bayern—doing incredibly well to just beat out the closing defender to get the right deflection into the goal—which was a fitting reward for the striker given how hard he had worked all evening against the North London club.
It won't show up on the statistics sheet, but Mandzukic worked incredibly hard all night for Bayern, and the results came in for the German club because of it.