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Padraig Whelan·15 April 2024

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇪🇸🇩🇪🇮🇹🇫🇷 OneFootball’s European Team of the Weekend

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Germany crowned a historic first time champion, the Premier League threw up some big shocks at the top and Real Madrid inched closer to glory in Spain.

But who stood out most to make our best XI from Europe’s top five leagues?

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GK: Michele Di Gregorio (Monza)

As close to a perfect goalkeeping performance as it gets. There will be genuine calls for the 26-year-old to earn his first Italy cap and it would be well deserved too, particularly with Gianluigi Donnarumma coming under increasing scrutiny. He made three big stops in the second half en route to a clean sheet but the highlight was undoubtedly his stunning save to deny Riccardo Orsolini what looked to be a certain goal.

RB: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

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His short corner-kick got Bayern going for Raphaël Guerreiro’s goal and he was impeccable in a defensive sense. Kimmich won 88% of his duels against opposing players in addition to completing 94% of his passes and covering almost 12 kilometres with a shimmering showing.

CB: Nicolas Pallois (Nantes)

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Given the nod over Nathan Zézé, he vindicated that decision with a big performance. With Jean-Kévin Duverne struggling alongside him, Pallois steadied the ship in commanding fashion. His match-winning block on Mohamed Bayo in the final minute was as good as a goal for a defender and capped off a huge three points in the potential relegation showdown.

CB: Fabian Schär (Newcastle)

Although he did manage a goal, his performances are often about so much more than what he does in an attacking sense. This was another outstanding individual display even if Spurs didn’t quite trouble him but he marshalled the defence which became only the second to stop Tottenham scoring in the league this season.

LB: Juan Miranda (Real Betis)

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His superb season continued, netting the first in what proved to be a 2-1 win over Celta. Unfortunately but perhaps not unsurprisingly, news soon followed the game that the 24-year-old is moving ever closer to a departure with his contract expiring in June and no sign of a renewal coming. Milan and Real Sociedad reportedly lead the race for his signature.

CM: Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa)

The Belgian looks back to his best and was the standout midfielder on the field in Villa’s 2-0 win over Arsenal – no easy feat given the quality on show. He rattled the woodwork with a ferocious strike before providing a perfect through ball for Ollie Watkins to wrap things up. Tielemans used the ball intelligently throughout and always made himself available for team-mates in trouble.

CM: Granit Xhaka (Bayer Leverkusen)

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Marcel Sabitzer may have been key in Dortmund’s win in Gladbach and Angelo Stiller shone for Stuttgart in their victory over Frankfurt but Xhaka gets the nod by virtue of ending his day as a champion. He was as consistent as ever for Leverkusen in their 5-0 thrashing of Werder Bremen to take the title – with his goal set to be remembered as the one when fans knew the 119-year wait was over and the party could begin.

RW: Romain Del Castillo (Brest)

If ever a player did not deserve to walk off a field a beaten man, it was Del Castillo for Brest against Lyon. One of Ligue 1’s most underrated attacking outlets, he was sensational away to Lyon as he scored twice and provided an assist for his side’s other goal to put them 3-1 ahead with 20 minutes remaining, only to somehow collapse late and lose 4-3.

CAM: Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)

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Substituted on for the champions-in-waiting at half-time, the youngster needed just one half of football to mark their coronation in style as he netted a 22-minute hat-trick to kickstart scenes of wild celebration. Thankfully, that horror ACL injury seems like a long time ago as he took his incredible tally for the campaign to 17 goals in addition to his 18 assists.

LW: Anthony Gordon (Newcastle)

He may have destroyed Tottenham from a right wing role but there was simply no way of excluding the former Everton man so on the left it is. He scored a fine goal, provided two more assists in the 4-0 win and was a pressing machine for a terrified defence when his side were out of position. The eyebrows raised at his signing continue to look ever more foolish.

ST: Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid)

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Deservedly scooped the Player of the Match award for his display leading the line for the Colchoneros in their 3-1 comeback win over Girona. He netted twice (one from the penalty spot) and was a continuous threat – standing head and shoulders above the rest both on the field and in the division: no LaLiga player has scored more goals in all competitions this season.