UEFA Champions League Team of the Season 2023/24 | THT Opinions

It is almost time for the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League final. Before that, let us have a look at The Hard Tackle’s Team of the Season.

It is not long before the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund gets underway. Both teams have gone past some major hurdles to make it to the final, which will take place at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London.

Los Blancos have been a dominant force throughout the season, and they have made it this far in the competition by defeating the likes of Manchester City and Bayern Munich. In contrast, Borussia Dortmund have made their way to the final by taking down the likes of Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Before we focus on the Champions League final and the two teams who have made it to the last UCL fixture of the season, it is time to look at the best performers of the 2023/24 season, players who have stood up on special nights and got the job done for their respective teams.

The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the best players in the 2023/24 UCL season and attempts to create a well-balanced XI with the help of the 4-3-3 formation.

Formation 4-3-3

GK: Andriy Lunin

Injuries to Thibaut Courtois and Kepa Arrizabalaga gave Lunin an extended run in Real Madrid’s first team, and he has not disappointed anyone. While the 25-year-old’s participation in the final is doubtful because of flu, his work until the very end hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Lunin only has two clean sheets in his eight Champions League outings this term. He does not really have the best of records.But his work against RB Leipzig in the round of 16 and the performance against Manchester City in the quarter-final second leg cannot go unnoticed.

While Borussia Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel has made more saves, has more clean sheets and has conceded fewer goals, Lunin’s impact is why he is ahead of the Dortmund shot-stopper. The 25-year-old has played a big part in helping Madrid reach yet another UCL final. Irrespective of whether he plays in the final or not, Lunin deserves a place in the Team of the Season.

RB: Dani Carvajal

At 32, Carvajal seems to have unlocked the very best in him. The Spanish international has been one of the standout performers for the team in white during the ongoing UCL edition. While he only has one assist in his nine Champions League outings, the numbers do not really do justice to the kind of performances the Real Madrid academy graduate has put in.

The five-time UCL winner has come up against some of the quickest wingers and has still managed to get the better of them and in the attacking front, he has been a constant threat from the right flank.

CB: Mats Hummels

Borussia Dortmund have played 12 matches on their road to the final. Hummels has featured in all of those fixtures and has helped them keep a clean sheet on six occasions. The 35-year-old defensive ace also has a goal and an assist to his name.

He has been a standout performer for them throughout and was the man of the match in the first as well as the second leg of the semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain. The German team kept a clean sheet both at home and away, and Hummels was a big reason behind their defensive excellence on the night.

CB: Antonio Rüdiger

David Alaba and Eder Militao have been injured for the most part of the 2023/24 season. In their absence, Rudiger has established himself as the mainstay of Real Madrid’s defence.

The German international has been a standout performer for them. He has featured in 11 of their UEFA Champions League games and also has two assists to his name; he assisted the Joselu winner against Bayern Munich in the semi-final second leg.

While Real Madrid have not really kept too many clean sheets on their way to the final, they have managed to keep the likes of Harry Kane and Erling Haaland quiet thanks to the 31-year-old former Chelsea defender.

LB: Ferland Mendy

Mendy has done wonders for Real Madrid as a left-back slow over the years. He played a huge role in their 2022 UEFA Champions League triumph. The French international does not get the limelight he deserves because he is not an out-and-out attacking full-back and does not really have the flair.

But, he does get the job done and he is second to none when it comes to the defensive side of things. Mendy did not really play a big part in the group stage. But he has been the go-to man for Carlo Ancelotti at left-back in the knockout stages.

The 28-year-old full-back has played every minute of the knockout phase, and his exceptional performances have not gone unnoticed. He has kept things tight at the back and has also helped out the wingers by joining in the attack using his exceptional pace.

Mendy has helped Real Madrid keep quite a few star forwards quiet, and they will hope he has an answer for Jadon Sancho who has been a revelation since returning to Dortmund from Manchester United.

DM: Toni Kroos

Kroos might be gearing up for his final club game, but he still seems to have a lot of football left in him. The 34-year-old has decided to retire from the game, the UCL final will be his final match for Los Blancos before one last shot at the Euros with the German national team.

As far as the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League campaign is concerned, the 34-year-old has once again been the man for Real Madrid. He has featured in 11 of their European games and even has an assist to his name. He has featured as a central midfielder and even in a deeper role when needed.

The German international has effectively managed to dictate the pace of the game and decide how Madrid will go about things. His ability to change the tempo has helped them in big games and he will be looking to put forward one final masterclass against Dortmund.

CM: Jude Bellingham

The former Dortmund star who made a big-money move to Real Madrid last summer hasn’t taken long to fit into the Spanish club’s first-team setup. He has been in sensational form in his debut season, scoring 23 goals and bagging another 12 assists.

As far as the Champions League  is concerned, he has four goals and four assists in his ten outings. He contributed towards a goal in each of his first six Champions League games. While one could say that he has not contributed towards a goal in the quarters or the semis, his work rate cannot be questioned.

Apart from his abilities in the final third, the 20-year-old has a lot to offer and that is exactly what Real Madrid fans have been treated with throughout the season.

CM: Marcel Sabitzer

Sabitzer joined Borussia Dortmund last summer from Bayern Munich following a decent loan spell at Manchester United. Since joining the German club, the 30-year-old midfield general has only gone from strength to strength.

He has been able to help Dortmund control the tempo of the game and have more stability in the midfield. The Austrian midfielder has been one of the standout performers for the team in yellow and black who have made it to the final phase of the competition.

He has featured in 11 Champions League matches and has contributed towards six goals. Sabitzer has the joint most assists alongside Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior. He played a big part in helping them go past Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals with three goal contributions in the second leg.

RW: Phil Foden

In a team full of superstars, academy graduate Foden was the one who stood above everyone else with his impressive performances throughout. He was used on both flanks as well as an attacking midfielder, and the English international did not disappoint.

In his eight UCL appearances during the 2023/24 season, Foden found the back of the net on five occasions and he even bagged three assists. He had a goal contribution in six out of his eight appearances. Not just the end product but his general play was also right up there.

Unfortunately, Manchester City could not go past Real Madrid for the second season in a row. But Foden surely deserves his place in the XI given the performances he has put in.

ST: Harry Kane

Kane moved to Bayern Munich last summer in search of his first major silverware. Unfortunately, the German giants have failed to win a trophy for the first time in years. But, he has surely been in sensation form in front of goal.

He has 44 goals and 12 assists in his 45 appearances across competitions. He played almost every minute of their UCL campaign and was one of their most consistent performers. The England skipper found the back of the net on eight occasions and bagged another four assists in his 12 UCL outings.

Kane scored twice against Lazio in the round of 16, he scored a goal in the quarter-finals against Arsenal and contributed towards a goal in both legs of the UCL semi-finals against Real Madrid. With only the final to play, the former Tottenham striker will end the campaign as the joint-top scorer alongside Kylian Mbappe.

LW: Vinicius Junior

Mbappe scored eight goals in the 2023/24 UCL campaign, and he was a sensational performer for PSG right until the end. But the 25-year-old failed to deliver in both legs of the semi-final clash against Dortmund.

As a result, Vinicius is the one who features in the team of the season, having guided his team to the final. The Brazilian international delivered man-of-the-match performances in both legs of the semi-final clash against Bayern Munich.

Every time the Brazilian has been on the pitch for Real Madrid in this season’s UCL, all eyes have been on him. He has not only scored five goals, but the 23-year-old also has five assists to his name. While Bellingham has been the main star of their La Liga triumph, Vinicius is the one who has helped them reach another Champions League final.

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