Tag Archives: Montpellier

Champions League Permutations

ucl-permutations

Just one round of fixtures remain in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, with 13 teams having already qualified for the last-16. 

All the four Spanish teams are through to the knockout stages along with Arsenal & Manchester United, and with just three places up for grabs holders Chelsea are one of the six teams in contention on 4 and 5 December.

Qualified for the last 16: FC Porto, Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke 04, Arsenal, Malaga (GW), AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund (GW), Real Madrid, Shakhtar Dontesk, Bayern Munich, Valencia, Barcelona (GW), Manchester United (GW).

GW – Group Winners 

Can still qualify: Juventus or Chelsea; Benfica or Celtic; Galatasaray or CFR Cluj (in each case losing team will play in the UEFA Europa League).

Confirmed in the UEFA Europa League: Dynamo Kiev, Olympiakos, BATE Borisov.

Can qualify for UEFA Europa League: Zenit St Petersburg or Anderlecht; Ajax or Manchester City (in each case the losing team will be knocked out of Europe)

Knocked out of Europe: Dinamo Zagreb, Montpellier, Nordsjælland, Spartak Moscow, LOSC Lille, Braga.

Here lets have a look the the permutations for all the eight groups..

4TH DECEMBER

GROUP A

Paris Saint-Germain (12pts) v FC Porto (13), Dinamo Zagreb (0) v Dynamo Kiev (4)

Porto have qualified with the most number of points after five games and will clinch the first place in the group win a win or a draw in Paris.

PSG are also through but must beat Porto to finish top.

Dynamo Kiev will transfer to the knockout stages of the Europa League

Dinamo Zagreb are out of Europe.

GROUP B

Olympiakos (6pts) v Arsenal (10), Montpellier (1) v Schalke 04 (11)

Schalke  are through and will win the group if they get all three points in France or Arsenal are denied a win in Greece due to their head-to-head superiority.

Arsenal have qualified for the knockout stages for the 13th year running but to top the group, they must win at Olympiakos and hope Montpellier don’t lose to Schalke.

Olympiakos will transfer to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Montpellier are out of Europe.

GROUP C

Malaga (11pts) v Anderlecht (4), AC Milan (8) v Zenit St Petersburg (4)

Malaga in their debut season in the Champions League have qualified as group winners due to their head-to-head superiority over Milan.

Milan are through as runners-up of the group.

Zenit lie third on goal difference as they are level on head-to-head with Anderlecht, with whom they fighting for a place in the last-32 of the Europa League. If the two matches in the group end in a draw, the Russian wll qualify for the Europa League due to the superior goal difference.

Anderlecht will qualify for the Europa League knockout stages if they pick up more points than Zenit or overturn their goal difference.

GROUP D

Borussia Dortmund (11pts) v Manchester City (3), Real Madrid (8) v Ajax (4)

Dortmund have qualified as group winners due to their head-to-head superiority over the reigning Spanish champions.

Real Madrid are through as runners-up, the 16th year in a row they have made it through their group.

Ajax will qualify for the Europa League if they win in Madrid or if Manchester City fail to win at Dortmund due to the Dutch champions’ head-to-head superiority.

Manchester City will qualify for the last-32 of the the Europa League if they win in Germany and Ajax fail to win in Spain.

5TH DECEMBER

GROUP E

Shakhtar Donetsk (10pts) v Juventus (9), Chelsea (7) v Nordsjælland (1)

Shakhtar are through and will clinch first place with a win or draw in their final game.

Juventus will finish first with a win against Shakhtar, and will be through with a draw even if Chelsea win against Nordsjælland.

Chelsea need to win their final game and hope the Italian champions lose as their head-to-head record is inferior to both teams above them.

Nordsjælland are out of Europe.

GROUP F

Bayern Munich (10pts) v BATE Borisov (6), LOSC Lille (3) v Valencia (10)

Bayern are through to the last-16 and top on head-to-head record ahead of Valencia. The Germans will win the group if they beat BATE or secure as many points as Valencia.

Valencia are through but must pick up more points than Bayern to finish first in the group.

BATE will finish third and enter the Europa League as their head-to-head record is superior to Lille’s.

Lille are out of Europe.

GROUP G

Barcelona (12pts) v Benfica (7), Celtic (7) v Spartak Moscow (3)

Barcelona are through as group winners

Benfica will be through with a win in Spain, or as long as they pick up the same number of points as Celtic, as they have the head-to-head superiority over the Scottish champions.

Celtic must pick up more points than Benfica to overtake them and make in through to the last-16.

Spartak are out of Europe.

GROUP H

Manchester United (12pts) v CFR Cluj (7), SC (3) v Galatasaray (7)

Manchester United are through as group winners.

Galatasaray are second ahead of Cluj on head-to-head record. They will qualify with a win in Portugal or as long as they pick up as many points as the Romanians.

Cluj must secure more points than Galatasaray to qualify for the Round of 16.

Braga are out of Europe.

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Premier League’s Twenty Most Expensive Transfers Of The Summer

The summer transfer window has shut down and as expected the Premier League clubs were the most busiest this summer, spending a total of around £480 million. In our today’s Picture Special, we look back at the twenty most expensive transfer deals of the season.

Eden Hazard (LOSC Lille to Chelsea – £35.2m)

Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid – £30m)

Oscar (SC Internacional to Chelsea – £25m

Robin van Persie (Arsenal to Manchester United – £24m)

Joe Allen (Swansea City to Liverpool – £16.7m)

Santi Cazorla (Malaga to Arsneal – £16.7m)

Moussa Dembele (Fulham to Tottenham Hotspur – £16.7m)

Javi Garcia (Benfica to Manchester City – £15.8m)

Alex Song (Arsenal – Barcelona – £15m)

Steven Fletcher (Wolves to Sunderland – £13.3m)

Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund – Manchester United – £13.2m)

Jack Rodwell (Everton to Manchester City – £13.2m)

Matija Nastasic (Fiorentina to Manchester City – £13m + Stefan Savic)

Gaston Ramirez (Bologna to Southampton – £12m)

Fabio Borini (AS Roman to Liverpool – £11.7m)

Lukas Podolski (FC Koln to Arsenal – £11.4m)

Adam Johnson (Manchester City to Sunderland – £11m)

Jan Vertonghen (Ajax to Tottenham Hotspur – £11m)

Matt Jarvis (Wolves to West Ham United – £10.7m)

Olivier Giroud (Montpellier to Arsenal – £10.7)

A Complete Guide To The UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw

The draw for the UEFA Champions League 2012/13 group stage takes place today in Monaco, with 32 teams set to discover their fate in the world’s elite club competition.

Last season’s winners Chelsea will be hoping to become the first team to defend their European crown this season in London, since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990, back in the old format of the European Cup. Standing in their way are the usual pre-tournament favourites Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, while big-spending Paris Saint-Germain and the reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are being tipped by many as serious contenders.

The draw will start at 16:45 BST and you can follow it LIVE on Sky Sports and BBC. In the meantime, here is a complete guide which will help you know everything you need to know.

WHERE WILL THE DRAW TAKE PLACE?

The UEFA Champions League group stage draw will take place at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. It will also host the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award ceremony, along with the UEFA Europa League group stage draw which will take place tomorrow.

Champions League winners Chelsea and Europa League winners Atletico Madrid are already in town for their UEFA Super Cup match tomorrow night at the Stade Louis II, and both will give a pre-match press conferences today at the venue before the draw.

The draw will begin at 17:45 local time, which translates to 11:45 Eastern time and 21:15 Indian time.

UEFA president Michel Platini is sure to be present along with General Secretary Gianni Infantino (who will do the draw), the usual array of esteemed former players, an ambassador for the 2013 Wembley final and the representatives from all the 32 clubs in the draw.

WHAT ARE THE SEEDINGS?

The lineup and seedings are complete for today’s UEFA Champions League group stage draw. The 32 qualifiers have been divided into four pots based on the UEFA coefficients, which are in turn determined by a mixture of the team’s own performance in Europe over the past five seasons, as well as the strength of their country’s league. Here are the seeding for all the 32 teams:

POT 1
Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Porto, AC Milan

POT 2
Valencia, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St. Petersburg, Schalke, Manchester City, Braga, Dynamo Kiev

POT 3
Olympiacos, Anderlecht, Ajax, Juventus, Spartak Moscow, Paris Saint-Germain, Galatasaray, Lille

POT 4
Celtic, Borussia Dortmund, BATE Borisov, Dinamo Zagreb, CFR Cluj, Montpellier, Malaga, Nordsjaelland

HOW DOES THE DRAW WORK?

The Champions League group stage comprises eight groups of four teams. A team from each pot is drawn and placed into one of the eight groups available. This is done by pot and not “one at a time”. That is to say, all the teams from pot one will be placed into a group, and then pot two, and so on down to the fourth and final pot.

There are some restrictions, though. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn together, and even prior to that there will be two ‘sets’ of groups decided for the purpose of television rights. For example, the four teams from England cannot all be drawn in the same set.

Potential Group of Death – The champions of Spain, England, Italy and Germany could all be drawn in the same group. That means, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund could all end up in the same group.

WHAT IS THE FORMAT AND THE SCHEDULE?

The four teams in each group will face each other home and away. This means there will be a total of six “matchdays” in each group spread across a Tuesday and Wednesday. The top two teams from each group advance to the first knockout round (Round of 16). The third-place finishers in each group enter the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

From the last 16 untill the semi-finals, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis with the club scoring the greater aggregate of goals qualifing for the next round. Away goals and then penalties will be used to determine the winner if there is a draw. In the last 16, group winners play runners-up other than teams from their own group or country, while from the quarter-finals on the draw is free.

The final is decided by a single match, which this season will be played at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 25th May 2013.

Group Stage, Matchday 1 – 18/19 Sep
Group Stage, Matchday 2 – 02/03 Oct
Group Stage, Matchday 3 – 23/24 Oct
Group Stage, Matchday 4 – 06/07 Nov
Group Stage, Matchday 5 – 20/21 Nov
Group Stage, Matchday 6 – 04/05 Dec

Round of 16, 1st Leg – 12/13 Feb & 19/20 Feb
Round of 16, 2nd Leg – 05/06 Mar & 12/13 Mar
Quarter-Finals, 1st Leg – 02/03 Apr
Quarter-Finals, 2nd Leg – 09/10 Apr
Semi-Finals, 1st Leg – 23/24 Apr
Semi-Finals, 2nd Leg – 01/02 May

Final (Wembley Stadium) – 25 May

WHO ARE THE FAVOURITES?

Barcelone finished trophyless last season as they lost their League title to Real Madrid and were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Champions League by eventual winners Chelsea. But as always, they are the favourites with most bookmakers to win the Champions League this season under new boss Tito Vilanova.

Real Madrid are a close second, with Jose Mourinho hoping to win his first Champions League title with the Whites, while Manchester United and Manchester City are next in the line. Holders Chelsea are placed at 14/1 odds to defend their crown along with runners-up Bayern Munich.

Moneybags Paris Saint-Germain and Italian champions Juventus are priced as high as 18/1 by the bookies, while Arsenal, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund are in the next group back.

Premier League New Signings Best XI

With just over two weeks to go for the new 2012/13 Premier League season to begin, we continue to look forward to it and build up for the new season. Today, we have decided to make a best XI of the new signings done by the Premier League clubs this summer.  

The team is formed by using the 4-2-3-1 formation. It also has a manager (who has been recently appointed) and seven substitutes. Have a look at the them and feel free to comment below.

GK – ROBERT GREEN (WEST HAM TO QPR – FREE)

The experienced England keeper may be still haunted by the goal he conceded against USA in the 2010 World Cup, but he is a safe and reliable man to have inbetween the sticks. Hughes snapped him up for free after his contract with the Hammers came to an end this June.

RB – NATHANIEL CLYNE (CRYSTAL PLACE TO SOUTHAMPTON – £2M)

The young, highly-rated but talented right-back joined the Saints for a compensation fee after his contract with the Eagles expiered in the summer. The 21-year-old, who was once a target of Manchester United, will add a lot pace to Southampton’s defence and will be a constant threat on the right-side.

CB – JAN VERTONGHEN (AJAX TO TOTTENHAM – £11M)

The Belgium international was chased by a hosts of top clubs across Europe, but in the end Tottenham won the race to sign him. With Ledley King having announced his retirement in the past month, Vertonghen will be a perfect addition to the squad and his presence will be felt at the back.

CB – RON VLAAR (FEYENOORD TO ASTON VILLA – £3.5M)

The Dutch international has spent the best part of his eight year career at Feyenoord and the hard tackling defender – who had a decent Euro 2012 campaign compared to his team – will be a great addition to Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa side – who have been poor at the back in the past couple of seasons.

LB – FABIO (MANCHESTER UNITED TO QPR – LOAN)

The young United left-back has been primed for big things in the future, but his opportunities and Old Trafford have been very limited. The pacey Brazilian, who is good with either foot is expected to be R’s first choice left-back at Loftus Road and will be hoping to impress his employees with a good season under Mark Hughes.

CM – OSCAR (INTERNACIONAL TO CHELSEA – £28M)

The young Brazilian has been one of the top performers for his country at the Olympics this year and his big money move to Chelsea has excited a lot of fans. The playmaker, who has great vision, passing and an eye for spectacular goals, is tipped for big things at Stamford Bridge.

CM -GYLFI SIGURDSSON (HOFFENHEIM TO TOTTENHAM – £8.8M)

The Iceland international had a very successful loan spell with Swansea last term and that attracted a lot of suitors for the 22-year-old midfielder. The former Reading star snubbed offers from Liverpool and Swansea to join Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham and is expected to play a major role at White Hart Lane this season.

LW – LUKAS PODOLSKI (FC KOLN TO ARSENAL – £11.4M)

It’s not often that you see Arsene Wenger buying experienced and proven talents over youngsters, but this signing of the German international, who has more than 100 caps to his name, could be a masterstroke and could well help the Gunners win their first ever major silverware in more than seven years.

CAM – SHINJI KAGAWA (DORMUND TO MANCHESTER UNITED – £13.2M)

Kagawa has seen a steap rise in his career from Japanese League football to Premier League football in the last three years or so. The Japanese international was named the Bundesliga player of the season last term after helping Dortmund do the domestic double and his transfer to United has delighted the United fans. The playmaker is expected to play a key role in helping United regain their Premier League title this season.

RW – EDEN HAZARD (LILLE TO CHELSEA – £32.5M)

The highly-rated playmaker was the most sought-after property in Europe at the start of the summer. Manchester City and Manchester United were both interested in him, but in the end Chelsea landed the Belgium international after winning the Champions League. Roman Abramovich has again splashed a lot of money on a youngster who is expected to become one of the best player in the world.

ST – OLIVIER GIROUD (MONTPELLIER to ARSENAL – £10.5M)

The France international had a great last season as helped Montpellier win their first ever league title in their history. Arsenal ssigned the striker early in the summer beating off competition from several clubs across Europe. With skipper Robin van Persie expected to leave in the near future, Giroud will have a huge role to play this season.

Manager – ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS (UNEMPLOYED TO TOTTENHAM)

The Portuguese had a distatourous time at Stamford Bridge which lasted for just over nine months, after he had helped Porto to do the treble in the previous season by winning the League, domestic cup and the Europa League. Villas-Boas was given another chance to prove himself in the Premier League after he was appointed as the new boss at White Hart Lane to succeed Harry Redknapp. The 34-year-old will be hoping make the most of his second chance and help Tottenham secure Champions League football for the next season.

Subs – Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton to West Ham for Free), Steven Whittaker (Rangers to Norwich for Free), James Collins (Aston Villa to West Ham for £2.8m), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen to Chelsea for £8.6m), Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United to QPR for £2.7m), Junior Hoilett (Blackburn to QPR for Free), Fabio Borini (Roma to Liverpool for £11.7m).

Arsenal’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Arsenal had a strong end to the season after having started it with one of the worst starts in their history. The Gunners finished third behind the two Manchester clubs, but had to rely heavily on Robin van Persie’s goals.

This summer, Arsenal have already strengthen their attack by signing the likes of Lukas Podolshi & Oliver Giroud from FC Koln and Montpellier respectively, but they are set to lose their talismanic skipper after he announced yesterday that he has decided against signing a new contract. Arsene Wenger will have to dip in the transfer market and buy some players not only to replace Van Persie but also Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who left the club last summer. Here are Arsenal’s potential summer transfer targets..

HUGO LLORIS – LYON (GOALKEEPER)

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that the club are ready to listen to offers for the France skipper Hugo Lloris, who is valued around €20m. With Wojciech Szczesny highly inconsistent and a bit less experienced, Lloris would be a great signing for the Gunners but they face some competition from a host of European clubs like Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan.

EMILIANO VIVIANO – PALERMO (GOALKEEPER)

With Manuel Almunia having left the Emirates and Lukasz Fabianski not interested in staying Szczesny’s deputy, Wenger has targeted the 26-year-old Palermo stopper Emiliano Viviano – who is co-owned by Inter Milan – as a possible cover. Neither club view him as a potential first choice for the new season, so his agent has been told he can negotiate a transfer. Fiorentina have also expressed a firm interest in Viviano along with some other Serie A clubs.

MAPOU YANGA-MBIWA – MONTPELLIER (DEFENDER)

The 23-year-old is another defender from Ligue 1 linked with the Gunners this season. Yanga-Mbiwa captained Montpellier to the title this season and was their stalwart in defence. The Montpellier skipper would be a very useful signing for Arsenal as they lack some strong backup for Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny. It has been suggested the player would cost in the region of £13m.

ABDOU KADER MANGANE – RENNES (DEFENDER)

Abou Kader Mangane, the 29-year-old Senegalese defender who Wenger has previously shown interest in, is another potential transfer target for the Gunners. The 6ft 4in Rennes centre-back will be a major physical presence at the back and will cost around £4-5m. He has also been linked with the likes of Sunderland and Everton in the past.

YANN M’VILA – RENNES (MIDFIELDER)

The 21-year-old will be a perfect signing for the Gunners and will be a rock alongside Alex Song in the midfield. With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri having left last summer, the Gunners need some quality players in the midfield and M’Vila is surely one of those. Arsenal were once reported to be in ‘advanced negotiations’ with Rennes for the defensive midfielder’s services but nothing has progressed since then. The French international who has been capped 22 times would cost in the region of £20m.

LUCAS BIGLIA – ANDERLECHT (MIDFIELDER)

The experience midfielder is a second choice option for Arsene Wenger behind M’Vila. The 26-year-old Argentine international, who has 6 caps to his name, guided Anderlecht to their second consecutive Belgium league title this season. At just £8m asking price, Wenger may go for the cheaper option.

YOUNES BELHANDA – MONTPELLIER (MIDFIELDER)

The 22-year-old Moroccan is one of the upcoming stars in European football having helped Montpellier win their first ever Ligue 1 title. Belhanda was the standout performer scoring 12 goals and assisting 4 times in 28 matches. Wenger has expressed his interest in the versatile winger, who is rated in the region of £15m, but will face some competition from the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid.

ALAN DZAGOEV – CSKA MOSCOW (MIDFIELDER)

The 22-year-old had an outstanding UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine and was the join top goalscorer with three goals. The Russian international, who can play anywhere behind the striker, is valued at £13m by CSKA but with just six-months left on his contract,  the Russians may be forced to accept a lower asking price or lose him for nothing.

DANIEL STURRIDGE – CHELSEA (STRIKER)

The Chelsea striker is said to be unhappy at the lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. With Van Persie expected to leave, Wenger might try and sign the 22-year-old pacey forward – who can also play on the wings – but will face some tough competition for his signature from Tottenham, who have also expressed their interest in him.

SALOMON KALOU – FREE AGENT (STRIKER)

According to some reports in the England, Arsenal are interested in the former Chelsea forward who has a lot of Premier League experience and a Champions League winners medal to his name. Kalou is for free but will demand high wages and regular first team football. The Gunners will also face some stiff competition for his services from the likes of Lille, Schalke and Premier League rivals Liverpool.

KLAAS-JAN HUNTELAAR – SCHALKE (STRIKER)

The 28-year-old Dutchman, who has a €20m release clause in his contract, will be a ready-made replacement for his fellow Dutch teammate Robin van Persie at Arsenal. The Schalke hitman who has been on Arsenal’s radar for quite some time now, scored 29 times in 32 Bundesliga matches last season as his club finished third. The former Ajax striker is back to his best following disappointing spells at Real Madrid and AC Milan and will be hoping to try his trade in the Premier League.

SALOMON RANDON – MALAGA (STRIKER)

Randon is not very known outside Spain, but the Venezuelan striker is very highly-rated and was Malaga’s top goalscorer this season. According to the papers in Spain, Arsenal are preparing a £10m bid for him as they look to replace Robin van Persie, but at the same time Chelsea are also interested in him and want him as a cover for Fernando Torres.

European Team Of The Season 2011/12

What an exciting season of football it has been across Europe this year. Real Madrid, Manchester City, Juventus all won their first ever league titles in years, while Montpellier won the Ligue 1 for the first time in their history and Dortmund made it two in two years in the Bundesliga. Chelsea shocked the footballing world by winning the Champions League against all odds and Atletico Madrid defeated their Spanish rivals Athletic Bilbao to win the Europa League in Bucharest.  

As we draw to an end to league football across Europe for the season and as we move closer to the European Championships in Poland & Ukraine in the summer,  we look at the eleven best players and one manager who form our European Team of the Season 2011/12.

Gianluigi Buffon (GK) – Juventus

He has been a loyal servant to the Bianconeri having stayed at the club through the Calciopoli Scandal and the relegation to Serie B in 2006/07. At 34-years of age, many thought he was past his peak but he has proved everyone wrong. Except for that one blunder against Lecce, the 2006 World Cup winner was back to his best and with 21 clean sheets and just 16 goals conceded, he has to be the best keeper around Europe this season ahead of the likes of Iker Casillas, Joe Hart or Manuel Neuer.

Lukasz Piszczek (RB) – Dortmund

The Poland international has been sensational for Dortmund this season as they went on to do the domestic double by winning the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal. The 26-year-old has had an outstanding season for the Bundesliga champions this year and he comes in this team ahead of the German captain Philipp Lahm and Barcelona’s Dani Alves. Piszczek has been very good both offensively and defensively for his side and he is the leading goal scorer as a right back this season with 4 goals.

Mats Hummels (CB) – Dortmund

He is the second Dortmund and Bundesliga player in this team and truly deserves his place. Hummels has been a rock in the defence for the Bundesliga champions this season and his partnership with Nevan Subotic in center of that Dortmund defence, has conceded just 25 goals this season. He is in the team ahead of the likes of Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol and Thiago Silva and is there for a good reason as he has been able to stop Bundesliga’s top strikers like Mario Gomez, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Lukas Podolski, Raul, Claudio Pizarro and Marco Reus from scoring any goals against BVB this season.

Vincent Kompany (CB) (C) – Manchester City

What a season this man has had. He led City to their first ever league title in 44 years and also scored the most important goal against Manchester United in the Manchester derby at the Etihad stadium which decided the title. Like Hummels, Kompany has been a rock in that City defence and the Premier League champions have missed him badly whenever he was injured or suspended. The Belgium international who has scored three goals and created one this season is also Premier League’s Player of the Year. He has been a true leader on and off the pitch and has also been an inspiration for his City team-mates and that’s why he is also the captain of this team.

Jordi Alba (LB) – Valencia

This year has been a dream year for Jordi Alba. The left back who came through the ranks at La Masia has been in form for Valencia this season, making the step up to the national team to become Spain’s first choice left back. With 2 goals and 5 assists, Jordi Alba has been a key member of the Valencia team that finished third for the third time in a row. With his performances attracting interests from the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona, dont expect him to be around at the Mestalla next season.  The young Spaniard is in the team ahead of Philipp Lahm, Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra.

Andrea Pirlo (CM) – Juventus

For me Pirlo has to be Serie A’s Player of the Season. Many thought the Italian international was past his prime and finished when he left Milan for free last summer and joined Juventus. But like Buffon, he has answered his critics by the performances on the field. The veteran was a  standout in his debut match against Parma as he put in an outstanding performance in 4-1 win and as the season progressed he got better and better. With 13 assists and 3 goals to his name in 37 league appearances this season he has proved everyone that he is far from finished and is surely a player to watch at the Euros this summer.

Yaya Toure (CM) – Manchester City

David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero got all the praise for guiding Manchester City to their first ever league title in 44 years but Yaya Toure has played a key part as well. He play like what Patrick Vieira use to play during his times at Arsenal and is the driving force in the heart of the City midfield. The Blues missed the Ivorian badly when he was on international duty during African Cup of Nations but ever since his return he has been inspirational in their bid for the title. He also scored the two important goals for City at Newcastle in penultimate game of the season that got them one step closer to the title.

Mesut Ozil (CAM) – Real Madrid

For an attacking midfielder with an advanced role Mesut Ozil doesn’t score enough goals but has been a vital part of Real Madrid team this season as they went to win their 32nd La Liga title. The German international has just 7 goals in 52 appearances this season but has created 23 goals which is only second best to Lionel Messi (28). His movement off the ball is one of the best in the world at the moment and has been consistently the best attacking midfielder for the last two years for both club and country. He is in the team ahead of David Silva because he guided Los Blancos to the semi finals of the Champions League and also created the goal for Cristiano Ronaldo against Barcelona which handed the league title to Jose Mourinho’s men.

Cristiano Ronaldo (RW) – Real Madrid

The Portuguese failed to win the Golden Boot or the Pichichi Trophy this season as he ended just four goals behind Lionel Messi but it was Ronaldo who had the last laugh as Real Madrid went on to win their first ever league title since 2008. With 46 goals in the La Liga and 60 in all competitions, the former Manchester United player has played a pivotal role in helping Mourinho’s men win their 32nd La Liga title and also reaching the semi finals of the Champions League this season. The 27-year-old’s winner against Barcelona at Camp Nou guaranteed that the league title will be heading back to Madrid.

Lionel Messi (LW) – Barcelona

It hasn’t been a good season for Barcelona as they finished second behind Real Madrid in the league and were knocked out by eventual winners Chelsea in the semi finals of the Champions League but on a personal note it has been Messi’s best season as he continued to break more records. He went on to become the club’s all-time highest goalscorer this season with 252 goals in all competitions and also set a new record of goals in a European season with 72. He also created a new record of most number of goals scored in the league with an incredible number of 50 goals.

Robin van Persie (ST) – Arsenal

The Dutcman has single-handedly carried Arsenal on his shoulders and guided them to a third place finish in the Premier League after having one of their worst starts to the season. He scored 30 league goals this season and those goals consisted of both stunning striker and poacher like finishes which proves what a complete striker he is. The PFA Player of the Year and the Premier League Golden Boot winner has been a true leader for the young Arsenal side on the pitch and has brought them back from the dead too many times this season. He is the key to any future success that is in store for Arsenal and the Gunners must do everything possible to keep him at the club.

Antonio Conte (Manager) – Juventus

It was a tough choice to choose between Conte and Jose Mourinho as both led their clubs to league success after many years but in the end it was Italian for me. The former Juventus fan favourite was appointed as the new coach at the start of the season and did a tremendous job in his first season by lead the Bianconeri to their first ever  Scudetto title since 2006. In the process Juventus stayed unbeaten in the Serie A through out the season, winning 23 and drawing 15 games. Conte also guided the Zebras to their first ever Coppa Italia final since 2004 only to be beaten by Napoli 2-0. The Italian who joined in May last summer has now signed a new contract which will see him stay at the Juventus Stadium for the next three years.

Substitutes

Petr Cech (Chelsea), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).