UEFA Champions League Team of the Season ft. : Haaland, Onana, Vinicius Jr, and Leao
Manchester City achieved a historic feat becoming only the second English club after Manchester United to win the treble. City defeated Inter Milan 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday night in Istanbul to win the first UCL title in the club’s history.
Players from both teams who played in the final lit up the competition this term and that’s why City and Inter dominate this year’s team of the season alongside some standout players from Real Madrid and AC Milan both of whom reach the semi-finals.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Champions League 2022-23 team of the season:
Goalkeeper: Andre Onana
Ederson had a stellar season in goal for City conceding just five goals and he made some crucial saves in the final as well, while Thibaut Courtois was equally as decisive in goal for Madrid, but then there was Andre Onana who dominated the competition like no other player in his position.
The former Ajax goalie kept the highest number of clean sheets (8) and also made the most saves in UCL this season (47). He also leads the charts for most goals prevented (7.8), a metric calculated by subtracting the goals let in by a keeper from those shots that a goalie would have been expected to concede.
Defenders: Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-Jae, Ruben Dias, Federico Dimarco
At right-back, Giovanni Di Lorenzo had a stellar season as he captained Napoli, helping them win the Serie A and reach the quarter-final of UCL. The 29-year-old registered two assists and was a rock at the back for his side but their impressive run was halted by AC Milan.
Moving on to the central defenders, Ruben Dias makes the cut at the heart of defence following another rock-solid campaign for the Cityzens. The Portuguese was all over Inter’s attackers winning the most duels (10) and aerial duels (6).
He also made 5 clearances in the final, winning all of his tackles, and that’s just one game. Dias made 2.2 tackles in the UCL in each game, alongside 2.1 clearances. He was the foundation upon which City’s juggernaut was built.
Joining Dias, Di Lorenzo’s team-mate Kim Min-Jae had a breakthrough campaign which has seen him being heavily linked to Man United.
The South-Korean defender chipped in with 1.3 tackles per game, made 2.4 interceptions and 3.6 clearances in every match on average. He was also tidy with the ball at his feet managing a passing accuracy of 87.9% helping shut-out opposition attackers at will.
Federico Dimarco made the cut as left-back due to his ability to maraud up and down on the left side.
The Italian set up five assists for his teammates in 10 outings and the 25-year-old was able to deliver the most assists for Inter in a single UCL campaign alongside Samuel Eto’o and Wesley Sneijder. He was unlucky not to score in the final himself but that summed up what damage he is capable of doing.
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Joshua Kimmich
Talking about the midfield, starting first with the man who scored the winning goal in the final and has his hands all over City’s maiden UCL triumph, Rodri often doesn’t get enough credit for the work he does with and without the ball.
He’s the one who keeps Guardiola’s side ticking, allowing others around him to thrive while he does all the dirty work making it look elegant at times.
Similarly, Joshua Kimmich is another player who may go under the radar but he made the cut in terms of his ball-carrying and passing attributes. Currently being heavily pursued by Barcelona, the German scored one goal, laid on three assists and 91.2% passing accuracy and unleash 2.4 shots per game.
He also had the defensive nous, chipping in with 2.1 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per game, making him the all-round pick for a star-studded midfield.
Onto Kevin de Bruyne, City’s talisman who was the leading assist provider in UCL this season (6). He scored twice himself, including that sweet strike at Santiago Bernabeu while allowing the likes of Erling Haaland and others to thrive. He got injured during the final but played a big role in City’s coronation.
Forwards: Erling Haaland, Vinicius Junior, Rafael Leao
Talking about the attacking arsenal, one of the players who lit up the UCL this season with his dazzling performances, Vinicius Junior tormented many right-backs in the competition up until he faced off Kyle Walker.
The Brazilian was the heartbeat of Madrid’s unit, scoring seven goals, and providing five assists as the 22-year-old’s influence was there for all to see. He’s already being mooted as one of the best young players in the world and he certainly lived up to that billing.
Onto the other flank, another player who was the driving factor behind his team’s success, Rafael Leao always plays with a smile and gave opposition defences plenty of headaches.
The Portuguese scored one, set up three goals had 1.7 shots and completed a staggering 3.5 dribbles per game. His ball-carrying ability along with his speed meant that Leao was a menace down the wing and he was thoroughly missed by Milan in their semifinal first leg as they were outclassed by Inter.
Last, but not least, Erling Haaland makes the cut as the star striker, in his debut season the Norwegian scored 52 goals across all competitions won the treble and finished top scorer in both the Premier League and the Champions League.
Performances such as the five goals against RB Leipzig showed what he is capable of, and even as his influence waned slightly in the latter stages of the competition, he gave opposition teams plenty to worry about.
Substitutes: Thibaut Courtois, Alessandro Bastoni, Federico Valverde, Sandro Tonali, Jack Grealish, Mohammed Salah, Kylian Mbappe