And then there were four. It has been another thrilling and eye-catching UEFA Champions League campaign, and on Friday morning in Switzerland at UEFA headquarters, we will learn the lineup for this season’s semi-finals after some quite extraordinary last-eight ties that have been played out over the past fortnight.
From the Spanish peninsula we have the reigning Liga champions Real Madrid, looking for that elusive Decima 11 years after Los Blancos were last crowned kings of Europe, while alongside Jose Mourinho’s side are their arch-rivals, FC Barcelona, who have qualified for the semi-finals for a record sixth successive year.
And in a neat symmetry we also have two more sides from the same country, with the Bundesliga providing us with the recently crowned champions, Bayern Munich, hoping to appear in back-to-back finals and make up for the agony of losing last season’s showpiece event on their own ground to Chelsea.
Meanwhile alongside the Bavarians are the team who they just replaced as kings of Germany, Borussia Dortmund—back at this stage of Europe’s premier club competition for just the second occasion, and the first time since they went all the way in 1997—after what was one of the most unbelievable comebacks in the 58-year history of the European Cup on Tuesday night against Malaga.
However, which player will be the most important for each of these four sides come the semi-finals later this month?