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Uefa Champions League – Players of the week ahead of yesterday’s fixtures



(Article written by Obiweluozo Martins)

The Champions League have been explosive in the midweek as we saw big games like Arsenal vs. Bayern game, Napoli vs. Real Madrid and the Barcelona vs. PSG clash at the Nou Camp in Spain. It was a titanic clash that got world viewers glued to their seat as expectations were high among the best players in the modern game.

The Arsenal match was highly anticipated with the fact that goals were expected at least from the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Robert Lewandowski and ageless Veteran of the game Arjen Robben. Napoli showed the possibilities of beating Real Madrid and that got everyone thinking as Barcelona had an impossible task against PSG after losing 4-0 in Paris, France.

At the end it was Bayern Munich and (Real) Madrid who laughed last as Barcelona overcame PSG in an unbelievable game to enhance their reputation as they overturned the 4-0 deficit under 90 minutes of football not forgetting the Dortmund side who breezed past Benfica 4-0 in a frenetic encounter where goals were flowing in from all cylinders.

With the Superlative performances in these games we take a look at the players that made crucial impact for their team ahead of the quarter-final pairings.

Here are our UEFA Champions League players of the week following some eye catching performances in the knockout stages of the Champions League.


sergio ramos

The Madrid skipper was instrumental to the exit of the Napoli in front of their home fans after Dries Mertens had given the home (Napoli) side the lead with the hope of a possible comeback.

The host broke the deadlock through the Belgian star in the 24th minutes of the game to ignite the hope of beating the defending Champions but the Spanish superstar who have been a master of crucial goals for Real Madrid stepped up to equalize for his side thus ending the Napoli’s walk in the competition for yet another season.

The defender met Toni Kroos pinpoint corner-kick delivery to bring the game level at 1-1 before given his side the lead through another from another corner-kick which took a deflection from Dries Mertens in the 57th minutes for Madrid’s to lead in the game as Sergio Ramos improvised for his side when it mattered the most as his side were looking to give in the second goal following Napoli consistent pressure down the Madrid defence.



The Borussia Dortmund hit man produced a special night in front of goal for his teammates as they breezed past Benfica 4-0 at home to book a quarter-finals place along with Barcelona on that special night of football.

The forward missed some begging chances in the first leg away in Benfica, Portugal but put up a show of character to make a amend with a hat-trick in a brilliant free flowing more the Dortmund side.

This makes the want way Borussia Dortmund talismanic forward the first African to score a hat-trick in the knockout stages of the Champions League. A feat African’s finest forwards like Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Samuel Eto’O Fils (FC Barcelona) and Obafemi Martins (Inter Milan) did not achieve in the peak of their carriers at the top level.

The forward have produced he deserved a mention as one of the best in the world and that’s what you get when you put three past the/an opposition like Portuguese giants Benfica in the UEFA Champions League.


arjen ruben

The Bavarians number “10” was exceptional in the both legs against Arsenal as he produced magical moment for Bayern Munich with his left back during the game to help his German side see off the London threat from the likes of Alexis Sanchez and skipper Laurent Koscielny.

The forward wasted no time in showing what he is capable of doing in the game with a couple of dribbling runs down the Arsenal area.

The Bayern side defeated the Gunners 10-2 on aggregate and the Dutch attacker was very instrumental to Arsenal’s exit as he contributed 2 goals out of 10 with quality passes and silky movement around the opposing (Arsenal) area which caused the London side a lot of problems in the tie.

His fear factor cannot be taken away from him as he led the Bayern attack in aplomb alongside the duo of Robert Lewandoski and Brazilian star Douglas Costa who got a goal of their own in the context.

Robben had his way in Arsenal’s defence as the Gunners failed to cope with his dribbling runs and on the ball movement in the entire context as Bayern marched on to the next stage of the Champions League.



The Brazilian was another special player in the UEFA Champions League as Barcelona did the mission impossible at the Nou Camp Capacity Stadium. The Barcelona forward showed flair and quality throughout the game as his combo with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi was repeatedly menacing in the game.

Neymar was key as he produced a work of art in the second half to bend (curl) a brilliant free-kick from the left far side beyond PSG goalkeeper to set the tone for a possible comeback.

The forward had grown in strength and maturity as he took over the game from Messi to bury the Penalty kick from 12 yards for his second goal of the night despite the enormous pressure attached to the spot kick at that moment of the game.

It was a game where PSG‘s defence could not deal with the attacking runs of Neymar as he won a penalty which was converted by the Argentine Lionel Messi as the Brazilian benefited from quality balls coming from the delivery of Andres Iniesta to come on board when Barcelona needed a special response in the game against the visiting side PSG.


The Chile midfielder had a memorable UEFA Champions League night against Arsenal as his Bayern side ran riot 1-5 at the Emirates Stadium.

The midfield talent who moved from Juventus to Bayern Munich after the Champions League final loss (3-1) to Barcelona had one of his best games in the Champions League for Bayern as he put (scored) two past Arsenal to make it (4-1 and 5-1 to the good of the Bayern Munich side) after some good works and patience from Douglas Costa.

The Chile put in a brilliant performance for the Bavarians alongside the duo of Thiago Alcantara and Arjen Robben as they enjoyed a higher share of the ball possession against an Arsenal side who were left to ponder the exit of Laurent Koscielny from the match after been sent off by the central referee for a foul on predatory striker Robert Lewandoski inside the Arsenal 18 yard box.