It’s that time of year again. There’s a certain buzz in the air for every single football fan because – yes, that’s right – it’s Champions League final time. The 2020/21 edition of Europe’s elite club competition concludes on Saturday night as two sides face off against each other to claim the title of ‘la creme de la creme’ of club football.
This year, we’ll be able to enjoy the third ever all-English final as Manchester City face Chelsea in Porto – two superpowers of the modern game, littered with superstars all over the pitch. Imagine the side they’d have if they combined forces; it would be some team, wouldn’t it?
Well, imagine no more. 90min have compiled a combined XI of this year’s Champions League finalists to satisfy your imagination. And here it is…
Ederson (GK) – Edouard Mendy has had a brilliant debut campaign in the Chelsea sticks but, I mean, come on. Ederson picked up his second straight Premier League Golden Glove this season and has the passing ability of a top central midfielder – there’s no real debate here.
Reece James (RB) – From playing Championship football with Wigan in 2019 to the top of the game in 2021, Reece James has grown rapidly. His combative, skilful and blistering manner of playing – not to mention his versatility – gets him into this side.
Thiago Silva (CB) – Two successive Champions League finals with different clubs? Completed it mate. The experience, leadership and composure Thiago Silva has introduced to the Chelsea back line has been invaluable and, being a modern legend of European football, there’s no way he’s not included.
Ruben Dias (CB) – Another easy inclusion: what a singing. Ruben Dias has exceeded anyone’s expectations and gone on to become City’s leading voice at the heart of defence – despite being just 23 throughout the majority of the campaign. He’s 90min’s Premier League player of the season – you’re a fool if you didn’t expect him to be in this team.
Joao Cancelo (LB) – Right-back, left-back, not a problem. Wherever Joao Cancelo has played this season he’s been top class. Pep Guardiola’s innovative use of full backs has allowed Cancelo to capture the attention of footy enthusiasts everywhere, providing a brilliantly unexpected creative danger as well as defensive solidity.
N’Golo Kante (DM) – The most loveable man in the sport claims the holding midfield spot in this team. As well as having one of the greatest smiles in history, N’Golo Kante is a machine – an actual machine – when it comes to screening a back four. There’s isn’t a blade of grass he hasn’t covered, a ball he hasn’t intercepted, a burst of energy he hasn’t found out of nowhere – with him in the team, it’s more like a combined XII.
Mason Mount (CM) – Having been at the Blues since the age of nine, this final will mean the world to Mason Mount and, my goodness, does he deserve it. He’s been the spark and the drive in Chelsea’s side for most of the campaign and his incessantly assured displays have earned him the club’s player of the season award for 2020/21.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – The German has finally hit top form in a City shirt. A haul of 17 goals and five assists across all competitions to go with consistently influential performances puts him high up on may people’s player of the season lists.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – In a combined XI for the Champions League final, there’s no one else but Riyad Mahrez for right wing. His three goals in City’s 4-1 aggregate win over Paris Saint Germain in the semi final drove the club into their first ever final – a big game player.
Kevin De Bruyne (CF) – Playing as a false nine in this side is the one and only Kevin De Bruyne. A tenacious, dynamic and selfless performer – with technical ability that mere mortals can only dream of – De Bruyne has been a key figure for City for a number of years now and is a no brainer for any combined XI.
Phil Foden (LW) – It’s impossible to watch this guy play football and not fall in love. The elegance, fluidity, pace and power with which he glides around the pitch with the ball is mesmerising and, if Guardiola says he’s never seen anyone with potential like Phil Foden, you can be sure that the 21-year old is rounding off this unbelievable XI at left wing.