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UCL Fantasy Football: Defenders

Clean sheets are proving an increasingly rare commodity, as UEFA.com picks out some defenders to consider for the semi-finals.

With just four teams now battling out for European supremacy, the choices are thinning when it comes to #UCLfantasy options but UEFA.com finds plenty of appealing options among the remaining defenders.

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Highlights: Liverpool 0-0 Real Madrid
Highlights: Liverpool 0-0 Real Madrid

Real Madrid were the only UEFA Champions League semi-finalists to keep a clean sheet on Matchday 10, which may lead to a number of their defensive assets coming into demand from a #UCLfantasy perspective. With 46 points accrued over the course of the competition so far, Ferland Mendy (€5.9m) is currently the top-scoring Real Madrid defender and with his side having kept three clean sheets in their last five UEFA Champions League fixtures, the French international looks a smart pick should he recover from injury in time for the semi-finals. Another Real Madrid defender well worth considering is captain Sergio Ramos (€6.5m), although he too is a fitness concern ahead of the first leg against Chelsea. The centre-back's penalty-taking responsibilities in particular make him a standout #UCLfantasy asset and the Liga side will no doubt he desperate for him to be available at such a crucial stage of the competition

Highlights: Chelsea 0-1 Porto
Highlights: Chelsea 0-1 Porto

Owners of any Chelsea defenders were left disconsolate after the Blues lost out on what would have been an eighth UEFA Champions League clean sheet on Matchday 10, conceding to quarter-final opponents Porto deep into second half added time. However, that was the first goal conceded by Thomas Tuchel's men in the knockout stage and they remain a hugely attractive outfit from a defensive perspective. Crucial to their solidarity in Europe have been César Azpilicueta (€5.4m) and Antonio Rüdiger (€4.9m), with the two defenders having accumulated 46 and 45 #UCLfantasy points respectively. Given his cheaper price, Rüdiger stands out in particular although at 9% ownership, both represent shrewd differentials which could be crucial to #UCLfantasy managers at this stage of the competition.

Highlights: Dortmund 1-2 Manchester City
Highlights: Dortmund 1-2 Manchester City

The highest scoring #UCLfantasy defender remaining in this season’s UEFA Champions League heading into Matchday 11 is Joao Cãncelo (€6.1m) of Manchester City. The versatile Portuguese full-back has combined defensive stability with attacking prowess over the course of the campaign, registering four clean sheets, a goal and an assist. Most impressive about Cãncelo has been his 46 completed ball recoveries, which has added an extra 14 points to his current overall #UCLfantasy score of 52 points. However, if you are looking for a City defender with differential value, then consider Kyle Walker (€5.9m). The right-back has recorded four more ball recoveries and with 48 #UCLfantasy points to his name, trails his fellow full-back by just four points.

Manchester City's UEFA Champions League semi-final opponents Paris have failed to keep a clean sheet in the competition since Matchday 4 so it would be unsurprising if their defenders were not in high demand among #UCLFantasy managers. Brazilian defender Marquinhos (€6.0m) currently being injured only adds weight to that theory, with the centre-back comfortably their highest scoring defensive asset with 49 points. However, Paris will no doubt be hoping their star defender recovers in time for Matchday 11, so it would be wise for Fantasy managers to keep an eye out for updates on Marquinhos’ condition.