Hugo Lloris, Harry Winks and Lionel Messi in Champions League Best XI
With the third games in the group stage complete, Nick Ames picks the best Champions League XI -- with Tottenham having a few to celebrate.
Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Mauricio Pochettino said Lloris "showed his real level" during Tottenham's excellent draw at the Bernabeu and few would argue otherwise. While Tottenham could even have won it at the other end (but for Keylor Navas) they owed so much to Lloris, whose headline save came when he implausibly repelled Karim Benzema's point-blank header with his left foot. There was also another sharp reflex stop from Cristiano Ronaldo as Tottenham inched a vital step closer to the round of 16.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
It was little more than a footnote to an overwhelmingly dominant Liverpool performance against Maribor when Alexander-Arnold, who only turned 19 this month, completed the rout late on. His 20-yard drive was slightly deflected off a defender's elbow but the stroke of fortune was deserved: Alexander-Arnold again showed that he has a big future at this level and, added to the goal he scored against Hoffenheim in the playoff round, this effort showed he can have a huge influence at both ends of the pitch.
Left-back: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma)
Kolarov has a hammer of a left foot and, even if his angled drive at Stamford Bridge took a nick off Andres Christensen, the goal that put Roma right back in the game against Chelsea would have taken some stopping. He later produced a superb delivery for Edin Dzeko to nod in Roma's third; it was, on a crazy night in west London, as influential an attacking performance as a left-back can produce.
Centre-back: John Stones (Manchester City)
Napoli are one of Europe's toughest teams to keep quiet and, while they duly caused Manchester City problems after a disastrous start, the home side's defence held firm in a tricky closing spell. Stones was outstanding throughout, dealing with the threat of Dries Mertens and company in robust fashion while building play from the back too. One block from Marek Hamsik was superb and, when he plays like this, Stones shows signs that he can be a complete centre-back.
Centre-back: Rashad Sadygov (Qarabag)
What a result it was for Qarabag, the Azeri minnows, to take their first Champions League point with a battling home draw against Atletico Madrid. The visitors missed a few chances but the home defence held out manfully and that owed plenty to a captain's performance by Rashad Sadygov. The 35-year-old, who won 111 caps for his country, might have thought he would never see an occasion like this but rose to it superbly with a commanding display that got the reward it deserved.
Central midfield: David Luiz (Chelsea)
Chelsea are stretched in the middle and they miss N'Golo Kante badly. Luiz was moved to midfield from defence to help add steel against Roma; he did a good job on that front and added something more with the burst forward and delicious first-time curling shot that opened the scoring 11 minutes in. It was a case of "needs must" for Antonio Conte but his stand-in midfielder stepped up to the plate manfully.
Central midfield: Harry Winks (Tottenham)
Was this a breakthrough night for Winks? The 21-year-old's talent is hardly a secret but he seemed to step up a level against Real Madrid, putting in a midfield performance of supreme composure and intelligence. He was directly in involved in Tottenham's goal, sending Serge Aurier away, and more than held his own against Luka Modric and company throughout. It was a "special" experience, Winks said afterwards -- a word to match his performance.
Attacking midfield: Miralem Pjanic (Juventus)
Juve were toiling against Sporting after Alex Sandro's own goal gave the Portuguese side the lead in Turin -- but then their deadball wizard stepped up to the mark. Pjanic is one of the best free kick takers in Europe and proved it again just before the half-hour, curling in an unstoppable effort to level things up and set the platform from which his team would go on to win. He was influential in open play too, but that intervention from long range could not have been more timely.
Right forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Messi's career has hardly been short of milestones and against Olympiakos came another: his 100th goal in UEFA club competition. Like Pjanic, his major contribution came from an excellent free kick; also like Pjanic, it came at an important time for Barca. They were a goal up against the Greek side but had been reduced to 10 men by Gerard Pique's sending-off; fortunately, in Messi they have a player who can dig you out of any hole.
Left forward: Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow)
Spartak's 5-1 evisceration of Sevilla was arguably the most eye-catching performance of matchday three. They destroyed the Spanish side on the counter during an exhilarating second half and the winger Promes, a thrilling talent at his best, was tormentor in chief. Two goals and an assist from the flying Dutchman underlined the point and created a result Spartak rank among the greatest in their history. "I think we're going to keep the ball the game was played with and put it in the club's museum," their president, Leonid Fedun, said afterwards.
Striker: Edin Dzeko (Roma)
The first goal of Dzeko's brace for Roma at Stamford Bridge was among the best you will see in this season's Champions League. It was the most searing of left-footed volleys, judging Federico Fazio's long pass to perfection, and squared things up in a game Chelsea had appeared to be coasting at 2-0. Shortly afterwards he scored a more typical goal; Roma could not hold on to win but their centre-forward was instrumental in gaining them an important point.
Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC on a range of topics. Twitter: @NickAmes82.