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WDSportz European TOTS: Choose your winner!

After almost a whole season without fans, football has had a uniquely different season, and in many ways, it’s just not the same. However, the performances on the pitch have kept their high standard. As a result of these high standards, it’s now time for us at WDSportz to pick our TOTS. It’ll be writer v writer, Jamie v Jozef, and though we’ve picked the teams, above all else the choice for who wins is in your hands.

Both teams had to have at least two players from each of the ‘Big Five’ European leagues, but, we were allowed one additional wild card choice from one of the leagues to round out the team.

Jamie's TOTS

Why Jamie picked his defence – Starting in goal with Lille’s Mike Maignan who, after a stellar season, looks set for a move to Milan to replace Gigi Donnarumma. The Frenchman has played a key role for Lille between the sticks with Christophe Galtier’s side in touching distance of breaking PSG’s domestic dominance. 

In front of him are two players that know each other all too well, Portugal and Man City teammates Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias. The former arrived from Juventus with Danilo going the other way and what appeared on the surface as a fairly uninspiring move has seen Cancelo reach stardom. His prevalence has been overshadowed by that of Dias though, the man who has turned Pep’s side into a defensive powerhouse both domestically and on the continent. City have walked the league this year and he has been an integral cog, will he be named as PFA Player of the Year?

On to the other half of the backline and Dias’ central partner is Frenchman Jules Kounde, a young man who has played beyond his years as Sevilla have put together another superb season. Under Lopetegui, they’ve been in the mix with the big three and Kounde’s partnership with Diego Carlos has been a joy to watch. Finally, to Angelino, formerly of Man City who is know proving his former employers wrong. The Spaniard has been excellent going both ways down that left flank for Leipzig and whilst they were unable to topple Bayern, what a savvy investment Angelino was! The honourable mentions in defence are West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal and PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe.

Ruben Dias of Manchester City features in Jamie's TOTS
Ruben Dias features in both Jamie and Jozef’s TOTS, after arguably being the best defender in Europe this season. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Why Jamie picked his midfield –

Sticking on the topic of the recently-crowned Bundesliga champions and Hansi Flick really has a juggernaut of a side at his disposal. Joshua Kimmich has so many assets, from his versatility to his reading of the game, he reminds me of N’Golo Kante in the sense that he always puts in an above-average performance and never gets enough praise. Whether it be at right-back or in the heart of midfield, the German is, behind Lewandowski, the Bavarian’s most important player. Another man that is often overlooked in this superior Bayern side is Thomas Muller, like a fine wine he has got better with age and his unselfish nature helps facilitate their Polish goalscoring machine.

Phil Foden is one of those that only just missed out in midfield along with Atalanta’s Robin Gosens, USMNT star Weston McKennie, Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice of West Ham and La Masia graduate Pedri. The men that did make the cut have certainly justified their inclusion though, starting with Marcos Llorente who looks like he could win the league title with Atletico Madrid, something he failed to do with their bitter city rivals Real. Another achievement of his is that he is in double figures for goals and assists, Harry Kane, Memphis Depay and Leo Messi also featuring on this exclusive list. The man just ahead of him on the pitch is Napoli’s captain Lorenzo Insigne. Inter have taken the headlines in Italy and rightly so but if Gattuso’s side do pip Juventus to UCL football, Insigne’s goal will have played the decisive role. He has scored some great goals and a lot of them at that, age is just a number and he, along with Muller are living proof of that.   

Why Jamie picked his attack –

Rounding things off with the two men leading the line, two prolific goalscorers who have silenced millions of critics across the globe this campaign. First, to the San Siro with the aforementioned Scudetto winners Inter, a team that under Conte could easily have had five or six players featuring here. Lautaro Martinez has been a joy to watch but Romelu Lukaku is the man of the moment in Milan, the Belgian’s physical game mixed with lethal finishing proving an issue for every defence in the league, Ronaldo being the only player to outscore him this season. 

Last but by no means left, a Turkish forward whose form in front of goal would have been a surprise to many. The obvious candidates; from Lewandowski to Messi, Karim Benzema to Mbappe as well as Memphis Depay and Luis Suarez have all been beaten out by Lille’s Burak Yilmaz. At 35, Yilmaz has led the way for Lille as their top scorer as Les Dogues have their own destiny in their hands after PSG have dropped a few points recently. As well as thriving on the goals front for his club, Yilmaz scored a hat-trick for his country a few months ago against the Dutch so he could have a huge role to play for them at the Euros this summer. His teammate Jonathan David who represents Canada has himself impressed, the same going for Renato Sanches and Sven Botman but it is Yilmaz and Maignan who are carrying the Lille torch in this TOTS XI

Romelu Lukaku’s been proving the doubters wrong all season long and earns his place in Jamie’s TOTS. (Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jozef's TOTS

Why Jozef picked his defence –

If the season was to end today my defence would have four league winners, and every single one of them would have deserved that honour.

I used both my Premier League players in the defence and it’s easy to see why. For the best part of a decade, Manchester City have been looking for that centre-back to solidify them as the world’s elite footballing side. After over 300M spent on the position in ten years, they have found their man in Ruben Dias. Whilst, on the other side of Manchester, Luke Shaw has had the best season of his career, marking a truly incredible resurgence.

Meanwhile, Jan Oblak, Jose Fonte, and Achraf Hakimi will potentially each have a league winners medal at the end of the season. Oblak has been the star of an Atletico Madrid defence that has conceded just 23 goals, Hakimi has been the perfect modern wing-back and Fonte at the age of 37 has defied the odds and retained 18 clean sheets in a fairytale Lille side.

Luke Shaw and Ruben Dias doing Manchester proud in Jozef’s TOTS. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Why Jozef picked his midfield – Well people may have expected De Bruyne, but instead I’ve gone for Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul. 9 goals and 9 assists, he leads the charts in both categories for his team. A player who has been far too good for Udinese for the last three seasons, the time is now for him to leave the club for good.

Filling out the remaining two midfield roles is Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich. Two players who are the epitome of consistency and are a large part of the reason Bayern not only won the Bundesliga this season but in the case of Muller he has been a focal point of their nine consecutive titles. They are immeasurably vital to the Bayern team, and there are very few players like Kimmich and Muller in world football today.

Why Jozef picked his attack – With 117 goal contributions in 91 league games this season my front three writes itself. They are superstars of the highest calibre, and not only feature in my TOTS this year but, most others as well.

Mbappe is still just twenty-two years old, and yet this season he’s played with a level of composure and confidence akin to a player far more senior in his years. With 32 goal contributions in 29 league games, it’s been business as usual for the Frenchman, who is now just 71 goals away from becoming PSG’s all-time top-scorer. Whether Mbappe will reach that honour or not is up for debate. A player of his quality deserves honours far greater than featuring in this writer’s TOTS (though I’m sure he’ll be proud nonetheless), and at PSG right now those honours are not within reach.

Do I even need to explain Messi making my team? It’s Lionel Messi. 39 goal contributions in 35 league games, at 33 years old. He is a phenomenon and we will never see another like him.

Finally, it’s Robert Lewandowski, 40 in 28 league games, leaving the opposition keeper picking the ball out of the back of the net on average once every 59 minutes. With an additional 7 assists to boot, he is the best number nine on the planet.

An anomaly of the best calibre, Lewandowski has produced his best ever season at the age of 32! Football fans this season have been denied a barrage of big moments by not being in attendance, and few will sting quite like the Bayern faithful missing out as the big Polish striker tied Gerd Muller’s record for 40 league goals in a single season. With one game left, who knows, he may even break it!

Bayern Munich's Lewandowski, Muller and Kimmich who made Jozef's TOTS.
All three of the Bayern players made Jozef’s TOTS.(Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Which team do you think is the best?

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Cover Photo credits:

Top Left: (Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Bottom Left: (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Top Right: (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)

Bottom Right: (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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