Champions League players of the week Quarterfinals #528

Barcelona forward Leo Messi 

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Leo Messi is in the argument for the greatest of all time. Most people in a football in the world believes he is the greatest ever. Personally, I think he’s on the verge of being it. I still have the Johan Cruyff as the greatest footballer of all time. With all that being said it is very close and if certain things go Messi’s way to end this year as well in the summer I will also join everyone else in acknowledging that Leo Messi is the greatest of all time. However, the one thing that has always been it a little bit critical about Messi in this debate it’s his inability to come through in the big games. Let me preface that by saying we all know Leo Messi shows up in the biggest moments but in the Champions League over the last few years he has failed to score in the quarter-finals and beyond over the last few years. Leo Messi has put all that to bed after a sensational performance against Manchester United. He is the Undisputed best player in the world I don’t think it’s a debate and even though I think what Cristiano Ronaldo has done in Italy a much more difficult League very impressive it’s not really a debate anymore. The Ballon d’Or this year is as easy to figure out as it has been in years. I believe it even should be unanimous you cannot make an argument for anyone else. Leo Messi ended Manchester United chance at a comeback very early. Leo Messi had a few moments and just like that, it killed it. After what Roma did to Barcelona last year Leo Messi was not going to allow that to happen again. Even though they went into the second leg of this game with 1 away goal this quarterfinal matchup was still very much in balance Leo Messi ended that really quickly. He scored two goals within four minutes of each other in the opening 20 minutes. As a Barcelona opened up a 2-0 lead before a half-hour mark. Leo Messi is about serious businesses this season. It has been his goal from the very beginning of the Season Barcelona is a strong team and there has been some dysfunction with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid winning the league title for Messi this season was never going to be enough he has both eyes on the Champions League. Leo Messi came through in a huge moment it is a criticism of him over the last few seasons failing to deliver and the deeper stages of the Champions League. That argument no longer holds any water. Leo Messi is the best player in the world and against Manchester United, with all the attention on them, he played like it. He was absolutely Sensational and without question has been the best player in the Champions League this season. The semi-final will be against Liverpool and that is a very tough team but make no mistake Barcelona is a very tough team and they happen to have the greatest player maybe in history. Barcelona has an incredibly strong chance to win the champions league for the fifth time. All Leo Messi needs to do is have the moment he was Sensational this week as he has been for the entire competition.

 

 

 

Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt

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Ajax has a chance to make their first Champions League final since the greatest of all-time Johan Cruyff did it three times on the bounce at the beginning of his career. Ajax brushed aside two heavyweights reigning Champions Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus. As I spoke about last time the impact player can change for Ajax because of how many young weapons they have. In the first leg, it was David Neres who broke even almost immediately after a Cristiano Ronaldo opener. As I had mentioned then I really thought Ajax was going to beat Juve at Allianz Stadium. They crushed Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. The odds were always going to be against them and at this point, it’s been a little foolish if to count them out. This time it was De Ligt one of the best young defenders in the world a player that the entirety of Europe will be after in the summer. The match itself had a familiar look to it. The first leg and the second leg of this quarterfinal we’re very similar Cristiano Ronaldo scored at the opener. Much like the first game, Ajax gave an immediate response as a Van Der Beek equalized just six minutes after an opening goal by Juve. Ajax needed a second goal to avoid what would have been extra time in Turin. This team was no stranger to that having done what they did to Real Madrid. De Ligt was absolutely sensational not only because of what he did late in the game to kill it off. The young Defender scored a vital away goal that put Juventus in a corner that they could not get out of. It wasn’t just that defensively he gave Cristiano Ronaldo serious problems. Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who thrives in these moments he has more knockout Champions League goals than any player in the history of the competition. The young that nineteen-year-old Dutch Defender caused him to have a miserable day despite the goal Cristiano Ronaldo failed with his clinical finishing in front of goal. Of his six shots, he took only one of them was on target. De Ligt was a big part of that happening. Not only did he scored the game-winning goal but he made it really difficult on the opponent’s best player. He is absolutely Sensational and whoever gets their hands on this kid is going to feel like they won the lottery. Based on his performances all season in the Champions League his price is going way up. He was an absolute bulldog for that defense. It just furthermore proves that even though Europe is going to raid this Ajax team this could be their last hurrah together and let me tell you something this team has a legitimate chance of making the Champions League final. They will be playing Spurs in semis a team they are so capable of beating. After that performance, I think it really proves The quality and depth of this team. De Ligt is a skilled and talented as any young defender in Europe. He played the game of his life scoring the winner and being the main reason Juventus failed to keep up with the young Ajax. The kid is just special as he proves his unbelievable value on the biggest stage against one of the best strikers in the business a true captains contribution.

 

 

Spurs Winger Heung Min-Son

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Heung Min-Son has been absolutely Sensational season for Spurs, in fact, I would make the argument he is too good for that team. In the first leg against Manchester City, he scored a very important goal that gave Tottenham an advantage going into the second leg at the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City is the most expensive assembled Squad in England. They just happen to have the best manager in the world in Pep Guardiola. They were at home and it didn’t take them very long to get back into the match. Son got Tottenham to their first semi-final in ages almost single-handedly. It isn’t just that he did it is the way in which he did it. Manchester City have depth everywhere I think they’re going to win the Premier League they’ll probably win the FA Cup as well they were on the verge of a possible quadruple. Son giving Spurs the advantage in the first game and away from home at Manchester City’s ground. He made it almost insurmountable to come back from for the reigning Premier League champions. After Raheem Sterling got City back in the cup tie in the opening 4 minutes. Son had a dominating performance scoring twice within 3 minutes of each other as Spurs retook the 2-1 lead not to mention he secure to away goals. A breathtaking performance not only because of what we saw on the pitch but the importance of it. Before we got to the 20th minute Spurs had already accumulated two away goals. Even with the depths that Manchester City has to their disposal, it was something they were unable to overcome. Son has proven to be a big-time player in the big moments. He has 4 Champions League goals this season three of which have come in the quarterfinals that are all you need to know about his unbelievable quality. Spurs is not a team capable of winning the Champions League I will stand by that until I’m proven otherwise. The away goals are the reason they advanced Man City went on to win the match 4-3 but because of the away goals that Spurs ended up getting they Advanced to the semi-finals. Son is a world-class player with the ability to do so much more. This probably should be the last season he plays with this club unless they win the Champions League. Everybody talks about Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen but Son is without question the best player on this team. If you took him away from the squad there’s not a chance that Spurs are in this position. For a team like this was somewhat of the lack of History this is historic they have a pretty good chance at the Champions League final. They will play Ajax a team of young hungry players I honestly don’t think Spurs will have enough to prevent the Young and athletic Dutch side from the final. But with all that being said Son’s performance in the quarterfinals was absolutely unbelievable because of his impact Spurs will always have a chance.

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