Lionel Messi majestic, United nemesis Ben Yedder in Champions League Best XI
With the round of 16 first legs over, Nick Ames picks the best Champions League XI with Lionel Messi among the stars of the round.
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Goalkeeper -- Iker Casillas (Porto)
This was not much of a matchday for goalkeepers but, to roll back the years, Porto's veteran deserves his place this week. The 36-year-old was not given a huge amount to do during a formality of a second leg against Liverpool at Anfield but, when called upon, he preserved his clean sheet with a spectacular save from Danny Ings. The sporting applause he received from the Kop at the start of the second half told of the rich esteem in which he is held.
Right back -- Michael Lang (Basel)
Manchester City did not lose too much sleep over a second-leg defeat to Basel but it was still a notable result for the Swiss side and their winning goal was exceptional. It came when Lang, driving forward and making a clever run inside, received a through pass and slammed the ball into the roof of the net from an angle. Although it mattered little in the scheme of things, it was also just reward from another enterprising display by the underrated right-back.
Centre-back -- Clement Lenglet (Sevilla)
The plaudits were pouring in for Lenglet after his performance in the victory at Manchester United. There was good reason for that: the 23-year-old -- who must be in with a shout of featuring for his native France at the World Cup on current form -- was excellent both with and without the ball, keeping a cool head while ensuring Romelu Lukaku barely received a glimpse of goal before his late consolation.
Central defence -- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Juventus were not at their best for long periods of the tie with Tottenham and that went for their feted defence, too. But when the situation demanded it Juventus stood firm and Chiellini, throwing himself into headers during Spurs' late siege and galvanising everyone around him, led by example. His fist-pummelling of Gianluigi Buffon when the goalkeeper gathered a late cross showed just how it meant -- and also showed just how much Chiellini enjoyed doing what he does best.
Left-back -- Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Marcelo was not without his wobbles defensively but, overall, played such an important part in Real Madrid's control of the second leg against PSG. His sorties caused problems all night and he was a reliable source of incisive balls into the box. There remain few players in his position who can inspire the excitement he does when in full flow.
Central midfield -- N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Chelsea may have ended up well beaten by Barcelona but they put up a fight and Kante, close to his very best form, put in a tremendously tigerish shift in the middle of the park. He repeatedly won possession back -- one perfect second-half tackle on Lionel Messi was a highlight.
Central midfield -- Casemiro (Real Madrid)
Casemiro just gets better and better, particularly on these huge occasions. He was dominant at Parc des Princes, completing 56 of 57 passes and ensuring that Luka Modric and Toni Kroos -- who both started on the bench -- were barely missed in Real's 2-1 win. He also popped up with a goal that, even if it deflected in off Marquinhos, added to the impression that he has become a go-to player for the big stage.
Right forward -- Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
Dembele added speed and directness to Barca's attack, both of which were in evidence when he sprinted up the pitch to meet Messi's pass and thump home their crucial second goal. It was his first for Barcelona, which should help him immeasurably after an injury-hit first season, and there was more encouragement too. The French international worked his socks off and one piece of tracking back to deny a poised Marcos Alonso in the second half would have delighted his coach, Ernesto Valverde.
Attacking midfield -- Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
You cannot take your eyes off Dybala and, when Spurs did, they were punished decisively. He never looked in danger of missing after scampering onto Gonzalo Higuain's perfect through ball at Wembley; that said plenty for the way in which the 24-year-old oozes conviction these days, and served notice that he can be the spark to give Juve another serious run at winning this tournament.
Left forward -- Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Although Thibaut Courtois will not want to see either of Messi's goals again -- he was nutmegged for both and, perhaps, did not expect a shot for the first -- it is more appropriate to focus on another decisive Champions League performance from the world's best player. His assist for Dembele, speeding past three players before finding a perfect lay-off, was wonderful and the way he manoeuvred into position to take aim for his second goal was straight out of the vintage Messi playbook.
Centre-forward -- Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla)
Ben Yedder had been on the Old Trafford pitch just 87 seconds when he clinically slotted past David De Gea to send Sevilla on their way. It was the fastest Champions League goal scored by a substitute this season and he followed it swiftly with a back-post header that the goalkeeper could not quite keep out. It was a remarkable contribution from a player who had experienced a relatively dry spell since the start of the calendar year.
Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC on a range of topics. Twitter: @NickAmes82.