UCL Team Of The Season: Chelsea Dominates

Chelsea fans are still celebrating their Champions League success. Thomas Tuchel got Chelsea fans all over the world into hysteria and you can bet the party will last for a long time, to the chagrin of fans of rival clubs.

We take a look at the best performers in the UEFA Champions League this season, with majority of them coming from Chelsea as expected.

Goalkeeper – Ferland Mendy (Chelsea)

The Senegalese shot-stopper capped a fairytale season with a Champions League medal. He had little to do in the final but his assuredness and brilliant saves were crucial in the run-in.

The highlight of his season was keeping Chelsea in the semi-final tie against Real Madrid with brilliant saves in the first leg.

Rightback – Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Chelsea’s captain remained Mr. Reliable. Playing majorly as part of the back 3 in Tuchel’s system. Azpilicueta rarely put a foot wrong throughout his 11 appearances in the competition.

Azpilicueta became the second Chelsea captain to lift the Champions League trophy

Leftback – Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid)

The French leftback was one of the reasons Madrid made it to the semi-final. His highlight was a brilliant performance in the first leg of the quarter-final against Liverpool.

He made 11 appearances and scored one goal.

Center-back – Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Dias marshalled a watertight Manchester City defence, which was the bedrock of the Citizens getting to the final.

Even though Dias couldn’t end an impressive debut season with Manchester City with the Champions League title, he did enough to make our team.

Center-back – Marquinhos (PSG)

The Brazilian must have been disappointed with the Parisiens ouster at the semi-final stage but can keep his head high for his own performance.

He was rock solid in defence as well as contributing goals at the other end. He scored 3 goals in 11 appearances.

Midfielder – Ngolo Kante (Chelsea)

The pint sized Frenchman performance in the final alone is enough to win him a place in this team. He was at his hassling and tackling best throughout his 13 appearances in the competition.

He is already in the conversation for a Balon D’Or.

Midfielder – Mason Mount (Chelsea)

The becoming of Mount was complete with a brilliant performance in the Champions League final, providing the assist for the winning goal.

The highlight of his season was the goal that put Real Madrid to the sword in the semi-final.

Midfielder – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Up until a frustrating final was ended with a ruptured face, the Belgian was arguably the player of the competition.

Playing many times as a false nine, De Bruyne was at his best helping City to their first final.

Right Wing-forward – Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

The Algerian fully got into his own in the knockout stages of the competition.

He scored 3 of the 4 goals the Citizens scored against PSG in the semi-final.

Right Wing-forward – Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Though he looked helplessly from the stands as PSG got knocked out in the semi-final, he was one of the best players of the tournament.

The highlight of his season was a hattrick at the Nou Camp against Barcelona. He ended with 8 goals in 10 appearances.

Center-forward – Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

The Norwegian did his growing reputation no harm with another stellar goals scoring season in the Champions League.

He ended the season as topscorer with 10 goals in 8 appearances, failing to score only in the quarter-final clashes against Manchester City.

Manager – Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)

Unarguably the manager of the season, he masterminded Chelsea’s second Champions League title in just three months in charge.

His solid team barely broke a sweat in seeing off the likes of Atletico Madrid, Porto, Real Madrid and Manchester City in the final, conceding just two goals in the run.

Substitutes: T. Courtois (Real Madrid), A. Rudiger (Chelsea), B. Chilwell (Chelsea), L. Modric (Real Madrid), P. Foden (Man. City), Neymar Jr (PSG), K. Benzema (Real Madrid)

Who do you think we missed out on? Join the conversation. Follow us on Twitter @goaldbal and we are Goaldball on Facebook.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: ‘Whooligans’ United, El Cashico and Other Talking Points

Lunatic things happening in football lately, like some ‘whooligans’ preventing a match from going on to Juventus failing to win the Serie A.

Idiotism is not synonymous to drinking a bottle of Elliot alone, drinking a cup of zobo is enough to make some Desmond, Garuba and Dino think they own a multi million dollars project, even when their landlord must not know their whereabouts. Bringing us to some of the matters the Lunatic wants to talk about today.

Whooligans United

Till now, I don’t really know why some people disrupted the Manchester United vs Liverpool match from going on. I have heard all sorts. From, Adidas making a zebra design jersey, to too much red pigment in the home jersey, to David Beckham joining Real Madrid bla bla bla. Maybe I do not really have a head for the economic side of football but who dictates to a business owner how to run his business? Who really owns most of these clubs? The highest share owner who invested his money in the business or the man who loves the club and buys some Aba-made merchandises?

Glazers out?

I really do not get the protest against the Glazers. Manchester United have the most expensive defender and midfielder in the Premier League. They spend money to buy players and manage the club resources, which is what fans (including Arsenal fans) expect of their owners. The protest by the whooligans appears more like an attempt to postpone Manchester City’s league-title party. Manchester City will win the league, Manchester United are simply accompanying them to the title like they did in 2018. City are in the final of the Champions League while United are on the brink of the Europa League final. United are wishing they are City right now. The noise is coming from the red side these days.

El Cashico

Manchester City are in the final of the Champions League because Neymar is still alive. Neymar was so bent on being the star of the day while his teammates tried to overturn the first leg deficit against City that he ran about like an headless chicken. The Citizens won because they were the better team (emphasis on team), not because the referee told Paredes and Herrera to f*ck off. In truth, the referee could have called some of the PSG players pussy (as in, pussy cat) because they behaved like one. I can’t totally blame them, I am also a proponent of ‘when you lose the match, don’t lose the fight’. However, I hope the referee was able to get Fernandinho’s shirt and autograph after the match, the only thing Fernandinho had to do to get a yellow card was to headbutt Neymar for being an annoying compatriot but he didn’t.

Neymar was in his own circus, joking

Congratulations to City, billions of dollars after, they are in the Champions League final. One must also salute the genius of Guardiola for taking an expensive assemblage of players to the final. Afterall, it is not necessarily the richest kid that has all the books and facilities that comes first in class. Chelsea or Real Madrid awaits them in the final. We dey here.

Bottlelona FC

Beat Granada at home and go top of the table, Barcelona did not draw, they lost. Bottling is becoming very synonymous with Barcelona. Remember Rome, remember Anfield, I mean they allowed Divock Origi have the best night of his life. If he will ever have such a night again, it will never be on a football pitch, it will be on the bed.

The title race in La Liga is still a three-horse or a two-horse and a Chihuahua race. Barcelona must prove they are not the Chihuahua by winning what looks like a play-off against Atletico Madrid next weekend. They seems to have mastered the art of bottling better than a certain club in North London.

Juve and Pirlo

Juve and Pirlo sounds like Duvet and Pillow. A perfect match on a cold morning but this Juve and Pirlo do not look like a perfect match.

Apart from being a lookalike of the pictorial representation of Jesus, the only reason Juventus must have hired Pirlo as coach is because he is Andrea Pirlo. I mean, it is not like he did apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola, like someone else we know. Juventus must have felt being a good passer of the ball is synonymous to passing tactical information.

Having Ronaldo is not enough

Well, when you have done something consecutively for nine years, there is everything tendency to get bored and want to do something else. I mean from winning the title to contesting for top four trophy, variety is the spice of life. Anyway, congratulations to Inter Milan.

Jose Mourinho finds himself in Rome. When you are in Rome, act like a Roman but trust Mourinho won’t. The same way he acted like a Mancunian while he was in North London, expect no difference.

I always said Sam Allardyce’s jazz was going to fail this time. It is looking like I am a prophet? No. It is simple, everyday no be Christmas. Every lunatic knows that. It is high time clubs stop that sh*t of going into the season with flamboyant coaches only to sack them for Allardyce to try escape relegation. Appoint Allardyce from the beginning if you trust him to do the job.

I am tired of writing, I have to go face other hustles. If you see a guy talking to himself on your street, that’s me, holler, I won’t bite you.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Good Father Mourinho, Captain Musa and Other Talking Points

PSG knocking Bayern Munich out of this year’s UEFA Champions League butreses the point that what Zinedine Zidane achieved with Real Madrid in the competition between 2016 and 2018 is unreal. I can’t associate managerial wizardry to a particular type of hairline. However, It is funny that for all of Zidane’s achievement, he is not considered as a tactical genius while the other guy with his type of hairline is regarded as one. After another win in El Clasico, Zidane could be on his way to back-to-back La Liga titles with a ‘Ronaldo-less’ and ‘crocked- Hazard’ team. Talking about managers and hair, maybe grey hair does not necessarily translate to wisdom (especially those tinted ones), as posited in this clime. We saw two managers with grey hairs drag each other at the weekend, taking me to the Mourinho Derby.

Good Father Mourinho

You know, especially as a kid, when you have bottled anger and someone mistakenly touches you, you explode. For Jose Mourinho, there will always be something to talk about when things are not going his way. He starts reminding everyone of how he invented football, won all the trophies at a swoop while controlling the players with a pad from the comfort of his sitting room. He reminds us of what he has won in the past. How does that change the fact that they have increased the price of a bottle of beer at my favorite joint, it’s paining me sha. Hello Mr Mourinho, that does not take away the fact that you are not meeting expectations at your present club, like in your last two jobs.

Grey hair, same old Mourinho

In response to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s jibe at Son Heung Min acting to get a Manchester United goal chalked off, Mourinho insinuated that Solskjaer is a bad father, which we don’t know. Many fathers won’t be good fathers in Mourinho’s books then, especially father’s from this clime. Apart from going to bed hungry for some misdemeanor, you also get some lashes. Many people from my climes will have telling tales but dare not tag their fathers bad.

It has been turpsy-turvy for Mourinho at Spurs

Anyways, the issue is not about fatherhood. That’s what Mourinho does, he takes attention from the matter. The matter is that Tottenham have lost ten league matches this season, the highest in Mourinho’s career. He can’t start saying this players are not good, he once said they had better players than Manchester United. Make Mourinho no turn am to family matter, man should fix his rot.

A man that disrespected his elders does not even have the moral rights of talking about respect.

Good father Mourinho, face the job.

Captain Musa

So Ahmed Musa is returning to play for Kano Pillars ten years after initially leaving for Europe, while Musa and I hope this will only be a temporary arrangement, at least for now. I can’t help but try to analyze the stage of Musa’s career.

Musa is 28. At 28, a player should be at the peak of his career. A decline is expected at the other side of 30, then the twilight. We have seen players return to play for their boyhood clubs at the twilight of their careers or return to their local leagues, it is nothing new. But it is not when they supposed to be at their peak, especially when they have not been blighted by injuries. Is Musa at the twilight of his career? Elder Arjen Robben recently returned to play for Groningen at 36. Even the likes of Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and some others are playing well in their thirties like they are still ‘peaking’. Maybe those ones are exceptions but a player should not be at twilight at 28. I am not insinuating anything. Decipher what you want.

That’s the way to CHAN

It is of more concern because Musa is the captain of the Super Eagles and expected to still be part of the team. Should a 28-year-old at his twilight be captaining the Super Eagles when there are many young players doing well?

So, since Gernot Rohr suggested that home based players should concentrate on doing well at the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) – specifically for home-based players, Musa should also play for the CHAN team.

Will Allardyce laugh last?

I have not forgotten that I said Sam Allardyce’s ‘jazz’ will fail this time at West Brom. After back-to-back wins, 8 goals scored in two matches and moving to within eight points from safety, could the big Sam perform another miracle? I still believe he won’t do it. It is easier for one Dollar to exchange for a hundred Naira than for West Brom to beat the drop this season.

I am tired of writing. There are many other hustles to do. Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Champions League Draws: Who Are The Favorites For The Quarter-finals? 2

In continuation of our Champions League Round of 16 quick preview, we bring you the concluding part.

Porto vs Juventus

Porto were impressive in their group, finishing second to Man. City. They won four, drew one and lost just one against City. There’s Nigerian interest with Zaidu Sanusi playing for FC Porto.

Juventus edged Barcelona to top spot in their group but are yet to hit top gear. Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to set the stage on fire but has a knack of getting into the grove in the knockout rounds. In terms of quality, Juventus looks more equipped but Porto are more recent winners of the tournament, following their 2004 triumph.

Players to watch: Jesus Corona (Porto), Felipe Anderson (Porto), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

Prediction: This is where we expect our first shocker to come from, Porto to scale through.

Barcelona vs PSG

Another titanic battle in the group. Probably the biggest tie of the round. As stated earlier, Barcelona finished second to Juventus in their group, losing top spot on the last day following their only defeat, at home against the Old Lady. The reward of letting go of top spot is a tie against PSG.

The last time both teams met in the second round of the Champions League, they served us a classic, with Barcelona overturning a 4-0 defeat with a 6-1 win at home. PSG recovered from a defeat against Man. United on the opening day, to finish top of their group.

Barcelona will be looking up to Messi

If he is fit, Neymar will be relishing facing his former team. The Brazilian was pivotal in helping Barcelona turn the tides in 2017, now he is on the other side. Barcelona have not been so convincing this season, with Lionel Messi largely a shadow of his old self. PSG have also not been able to find consistency.

Players to watch: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Neymar Jr (PSG), Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Prediction: PSG to go through

Sevilla vs Dortmund

Another almost balanced tie. If it were the Europa League, we would have easily gone for a Sevilla win.

The Europa League champions qualified quite easily behind Chelsea. They look like a compact side but have struggled for goals.

Dortmund qualified quite easily in a group that had Lazio but have been largely inconsistent, especially in the Bundesliga. They have severed ties with their coach Lucien Favre, they should be a different team by February with Erling Haaland also expected back.

Players to watch: Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Marco Reus (Dortmund), Erling Haaland (Dortmund)

Prediction: Difficult to call, Dortmund to edge it.

Atalanta vs Real Madrid

This should be a mouth watering tie. Atalanta were impressive as they finished second behind Liverpool, winning all their away matches without conceeding a goal. Gian Gasperini’s men have not been at their attacking best but they seem more pragmatic this term.

Zidane has won the Champions League thrice as a manager

Real Madrid left it late to qualify. They picked just a point from their first two matches and stood the risk of an embarrassing group stage exit. They eventually made it, top of their group. They have not been really impressive but they have the knack of getting the job done when it matters.

Players to watch: Alenjandro Gomes (Atalanta), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Prediction: We expect a shocker from here, Atalanta to go through.

Three PSG players test positive for coronavirus


Neymar Jr has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, alongside two other PSG stars.

The other two are believed to be Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes, according to French magazine L’Equippe.

The Parisiens lost in their bid to win their first Champions League title in a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich last month.