Champions League Team of the Tournament from 2013-14 Season
Real Madrid finally ended their 12-year European Cup drought by lifting La Decima, their 10th title, after beating Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final at the weekend.
There were a number of mightily impressive performances during the final itself, especially from those who had excelled during the season as a whole.
Some of them indeed feature here—our Champions League team of 2013-14. Feel free to leave your comments below on who would have made your own side!
Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas, Real Madrid
Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas kicks off our side—perhaps fittingly, since it was he who lifted the great trophy aloft in the end.
A rare error of judgement in the final itself almost took that opportunity away from him for Atleti's goal, but that shouldn't detract from the fact the Spanish stopper was outstanding throughout the competition.
Several times he pulled off saves from the very top drawer of his considerable ability, aiding Real's progression through the competition.
Right-Back: Philipp Lahm, Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich's right-back Philipp Lahm was a clear stand-out in his position, although his role actually entailed a few games in midfield, too.
As calm and consistent in possession as ever, Lahm's brilliance on the ball is perhaps in danger of having his defensive contributions overlooked, but he's rarely beaten for skill or pace and supports his back line extremely well.
Centre-Back: Diego Godin, Atletico Madrid
There can't be many who would disagree with Atletico Madrid's Diego Godin being in the team.
The Uruguayan centre-back was an absolute monster, an almost impenetrable barrier to goal who showed not only great consistency but formidable aggression and endurance in repelling danger time after time, clearing aerial balls and stopping onrushing runners in equal measure.
He must have thought he'd scored the goal to win the Champions League, too, being a goal up in injury time in the final—but it wasn't to be.
Centre-Back: Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid
Alongside Godin, the other goalscoring centre-back from the final: Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos.
The Spaniard rescued the game for his team in the final seconds of the match, heading in to send the game to extra time. Far more than that (admittedly huge) goal, though, was his entire contribution to the team throughout the European campaign.
Ramos has always been a powerful and aggressive centre-back, but one who loves to venture forward at times, support the build-up play and contribute to the attack at vital moments. He's been a great performer for Real and deservedly takes his place in defence.
Left-Back: Marcelo, Real Madrid
Marcelo didn't start the final for Real but had a great impact after coming on, ending with him scoring the third goal of the game for his side.
His adventurous running from left-back has been a feature of his game during the season, making use of the space vacated in front of him by the marauding attackers.
Marcelo's distribution and decision-making in the final third has improved noticeably this term, whether because of his own growth or tactics which make use of his ability on the ball—either way it has benefited Real Madrid enormously.
Central Midfield: Gabi, Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid's central midfielder Gabi was a phenomenon this season.
A tireless runner in the centre of the park, he contributes so much at both ends of the pitch that he really is irreplaceable for his side. A ball-winner, an organiser of his team-mates and a great protector of the back line, Gabi sets the tone for his team-mates to work hard and remain a solid unit.
However, he also shows good invention and reliability going forward, rarely giving the ball away and being a creative source for his attacking team-mates. A great all-rounder.
Central Midfield: Luka Modric, Real Madrid
If Gabi did the all-rounder role for Atleti, Luka Modric proved incredibly competent at a similar job for Real Madrid.
Not naturally inclined to be aggressive or as committed to his defensive work, Modric showed he could be positionally astute, reliable defensively and hard-working off the ball with a much deeper role for Real this term.
He still showed his usual class in possession with his passing range and forays into the final third, playing from just outside the Atleti penalty box in the final to holding in front of his own back line and dictating from deep.
Central Midfield: Angel Di Maria, Real Madrid
Angel Di Maria was a real difference-maker for Real in midfield this season.
Shifting infield to an energetic central midfield position has allowed him to flourish, providing support through the middle to retain and win back possession, as well as aiding a very quick transition game into attack.
Di Maria's ability to run wide and cross offers up the chance to exploit spaces left by wide forwards drifting infield, while he also uses his pace to burst into the penalty area, exchanging quick passes and beating defenders with his movement.
Wide Forward: Leo Messi, Barcelona
Leo Messi plays centrally, of course, in the Barcelona attack, but Tata Martino moved him a little deeper at times, and out onto the right again, his old position, on a few occasions.
The Argentine forward wasn't always at his flying, unstoppable best because of injury, but he still had far too much for most teams to handle.
He created plenty of chances for his team-mates, occupied defenders in and out of possession and scored eight goals in just seven games.
Centre-Forward: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
PSG forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic was injured for his team's second leg of the quarter-finals against Chelsea, and that was perhaps key to the French side not progressing.
He was their creative forward, the goalscorer and a hard-worker, too, pulling into the channels to make space and letting team-mates run beyond him.
Ibrahimovic scored 10 goals in just eight games, a phenomenal return.
Wide Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
The man of the season, the last goalscorer and the record breaker, Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, takes his spot on the opposite flank of attack.
Cutting in from wide areas with the ball at his feet or sprinting beyond the defence to anticipate a through-ball, few can catch Ronaldo once he gets moving.
He hit a Champions League record 17 goals in only 11 games, an outstanding record, including the fourth in the final from the penalty spot. Cristiano Ronaldo—the Champions League's best overall player and our final starter.
Just missing out on the XI and worthy of a mention are the following substitutes:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich
Centre-back: Gary Cahill, Chelsea
Full-back: Dani Alves, Barcelona
Central midfield: Thiago Motta, PSG
Attacking midfield: Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund; Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich
Forward: Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid