Ten of the players chosen in the UEFA Technical Observers’ best UEFA Champions League squad 2014/15 represent FC Barcelona. This Thursday, uefa.com published an infographic of the full team. Ter Stegen, Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Suárez and Neymar made the list. Here’s a look at what they did to merit their selection:
Marc-André ter Stegen
The German played in the Champions League and the Spanish Cup this season. Against European competition he conceded 11 goals in 13 games (0.85 per game). One of the highlights was when ter Stegen stopped Kun Aguero’s penalty kick in the return leg of the last 16. In the Final, ter Stegen was key in overcoming the pressure of Juventus.
Piqué scored Barça’s first goal in the 2014/15 Champions League against APOEL. Beyond that, the centre-back shined as the leader of the defence. Playing in 11 of the 13 games, he was outstanding in the aerial game and precise on the outlet.
With 12 appearances in the 13 games, Mascherano was a stalwart for the Barça defence and, occasionally, in midfield. He was fourth in passes completed in the tournament.
The ever-present left-back in Luis Enrique’s schemes brought defensive consistency and offensive depth, like on Barça’s first goal in Berlin. Alba was eight in passes completed in the tournament
The centre half-back was a regular in Barça’a midfield backbone. Busquets gave the team balance and circulated the ball with speed and accuracy. He was a key in the battle for midfield at the Olympiastadion Berlin.
The Croatian was a machine. Tactically perfect, helping out everywhere, and technically superb, he also contributed two decisive goals — in the return leg versus Manchester City (1-0) and the first goal of the Final against Juventus (1-3).
The emblem of the Barcelona midfield. His play at Camp Nou against PSG that ended with a goal from Neymar made headlines around the world. In the Final he gave an authentic exhibition. Despite being doubtful for the Final, he assisted the first goal and was chosen as the MVP of the game.
The only Barça outfield player to appear in all 13 matches in the Champions League. Messi scored 10 goals and had six assists. He was the top scorer of the tournament for the fifth time, this time tied with Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. He altered the first leg of the semi-finals against Bayern with two genius plays and took part in all three goals in the Final.
Despite missing the first three games of the competition, Suárez played the ten remaining and scored seven goals. His best performances were at the Etihad and Parc des Princes, where he scored two goals. In the Final, he scored the game-winner.
One of the three co-scoring leaders of the 2014/15 Champions League, Neymar led the tournament in fouls received, with 39. His goals clinched the ties with PSG and Bayern with two goals in each return leg. He scored the third and final goal in Berlin.