July 12, 2024

Is better he should go: Golazo head coach ………

The Champions League round of 16 is done and dusted as Bayern Munich, PSG, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal, Barcelona, Dortmund and Atletico Madrid all moved on to the quarterfinals. Here are the best individual performers from the round of 16.

GK: David Raya, Arsenal

The Champions League’s first penalty shootout since the 2016 final delivered a career-defining moment for David Raya, the man who had replaced the beloved Aaron Ramsdale now assured of a place in Arsenal history thanks to his denying of Wendell and Galeno. Generally, misses from 12 yards out are more about what the taker has done wrong rather than anything the goalkeeper has done right but Raya offered the exception to that particular rule when he got fingertips on Wendell’s effort, which might otherwise have nestled in the side netting. The quality of that stop means he just shades Jan Oblak.

The man of the hour was not a title that sat comfortably with Raya, who said afterward, “I wouldn’t say I’m the hero – everyone’s played their part. My part was to save penalties at the end and it feels amazing. To get through to the quarterfinals in this way, after we weren’t happy with our performance over there in Porto, is just incredible.”

Even before the shootout, though, Raya was not someone who should have felt displeased with what he had delivered. He oozed composure and was as dominant as ever when his opponents looped crosses into the box.

RB: Benjamin Pavard, Inter

We’re playing a little fast and loose with Benjamin Pavard’s positioning here but the man on the right of Simone Inzaghi’s back three would be miscast as a mere center back. He helped Inter progress the ball, covered when Denzel Dumfries charged upfield but was also perfectly capable of stepping up into midfield and beyond.

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