Champions League Team of the Week: Messi returns alongside in-form Negredo

The Argentine got back among the goals to join Manchester City’s hat-trick hero and Arsenal’s man-of-the-moment Aaron Ramsey in our best XI from Matchday Four

There are debutants and returning familiar faces in our latest Champions League Team of the Week, as some sides took giants steps towards the last 16 while others were left to rue significant slip-ups.

A host of candidates vied for the goalkeeping spot in our Matchday Four selection, but Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno gets the nod after shutting out Shakhtar Donetsk in the intimidating Donbass Arena to earn his side a valuable draw.

In a defensive back three, Miranda earns a spot after opening the scoring against Austria Vienna in a commanding performance for Atletico Madrid, who earned their place in the last 16 with Wednesday’s 4-0 win.

Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker wins a place for a superb showing in the Gunners’ vital 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund, helping the Londoners become the first side since AC Milan in 2002 to keep a clean sheet at Westfalenstadion. Kostas Manolas completes the defence, having scored the winner against Benfica while leading by example from the back in the Greek champions’ 1-0 win.

Gokhan Inler anchors our midfield quartet, with the Switzerland international capping off a combative display against Olympique de Marseille with a stunning volley in Napoli’s 3-2 win. Aaron Ramsey continued his exceptional form to seal a place, having covered more distance than any other player in Germany on Wednesday evening as well as nodding home the winning goal. Xavi broke Raul’s long-standing record of Champions League wins in Barcelona’s 3-1 triumph over AC Milan, with his free kick setting up Sergio Busquets to add a extra gloss to his achievement, and Atletico’s Raul Garcia was the heartbeat of his side’s thrashing of Austria Vienna, getting himself a goal and a sublime assist.

In attack, Lionel Messi returns to our selection after ending his four-game goal drought with a well-taken double against the Rossoneri. He is joined by Gonzalo Higuain, who struck twice to seal a vital win for Napoli at San Paolo, and Manchester City’s hat-trick hero Alvaro Negredo, with the Spaniard taking his tally to nine goals in eight starts for his new club in the rout of CSKA Moscow which sealed his side’s qualification for the next round.

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