Pick of the UEFA Champions League season

UEFA.com selects the highlights of a season in which FC Barcelona triumphed, the record books were continually rewritten and for once a goalkeeper thwarted Lionel Messi (if in vain).

Watch: Iniesta on Barcelona triumph
Watch: Iniesta on Barcelona triumph

Team: FC Barcelona
With Luis Enrique in his first season in charge, Barcelona enjoyed a quite remarkable campaign. By overcoming Juventus 3-1 on Saturday, they became the first club to complete the treble of European Cup, league and domestic cup twice. Their story had a number of fascinating chapters, from Lionel Messi catching all-time top marksman Raúl González, the attacking brilliance of the Neymar-Messi-Suárez trident and Xavi Hernández waving goodbye after 151 appearances to Andrés Iniesta winning a fourth final. "We are the best, as we've shown both with our results and style of play," Gerard Piqué told UEFA.com. Fair comment.

Luiz Adriano on records
Luiz Adriano on records

Player (group stage): Luiz Adriano (FC Shakhtar Dontesk)
Not all the records that toppled this season went to a certain Argentinian and a striker from Portugal. The latter, Cristiano Ronaldo, scored a group-stage best nine last term; Luiz Adriano matched it within 12 months. Even more incredibly, eight of the nine goals came in a fortnight.

The Brazilian had already struck in Shakhtar's 2-2 home draw with FC Porto, a result that left the Pitmen trailing FC BATE Borisov in Group H. No matter – Shakhtar travelled to Belarus and won 7-0. Adriano's five strikes equalled Messi's single-game competition record, four coming in an unprecedented six-goal first-half haul. That was not all, as two weeks later Adriano registered a hat-trick in a 5-0 home defeat of BATE. That was matchday four – not until the semi-finals did Messi and Ronaldo overtake Luiz Adriano's total.

Player (knockout rounds): Neymar (FC Barcelona)
Not since Kaká in 2006/07 had anyone other than Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo finished as UEFA Champions League top scorer. With his 97th-minute goal in the final, Neymar joined the big two on ten to share the accolade. It was at the business end of the competition that he shone. He scored in both legs of the quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain, home and away versus FC Bayern München in the last four and then got the clincher in the Berlin final, a run unprecedented in the UEFA Champions League.

Thiago on Bayern show
Thiago on Bayern show

Performance: FC Bayern München 6-1 FC Porto
There were lots of candidates in this category: Barcelona's breathtaking successes at Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City FC, City's own triumphs against Bayern and AS Roma to somehow qualify from their section (not to mention Roma 1-7 Bayern) and FC Schalke 04's ultimately futile 4-3 victory at Real Madrid CF. However, it is another spectacular Bayern display that gets the honour.

Porto seemed set fair for the semi-finals after a 3-1 first-leg win, but in the end they were grateful to only lose 7-4 on aggregate. Bayern had never previously overturned a two-goal deficit in Europe, but by half-time they were 5-0 up and Xabi Alonso was to deliver a late coup de grace with a free-kick after Jackson Martínez had given Porto hope. Thiago Alcántara told UEFA.com: "We didn't think we could stun Porto like that!"

Messi lauds City keeper Hart
Messi lauds City keeper Hart

Quote: "He stopped everything that came his way, with either his hands or his body – he is a phenomenon."
For once, Messi dishes out the superlatives rather than accepting them graciously after Joe Hart kept him at bay in Barcelona's 1-0 round of 16 second-leg defeat of Manchester City.

Moment: Danijel Subašić (AS Monaco FC)
No team has overturned a two-goal deficit in an away second leg in the UEFA Champions League; only twice has anyone progressed after a narrower opening home reverse. But having lost 3-1 in London to Monaco in the first instalment of their round of 16 tie, Arsenal FC trailed only on away goals after Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey set up a frantic last 11 minutes at Stade Louis II.

The impossible seemed more than feasible when Alexis Sánchez flicked on and Giroud connected at the far post. It seemed a certain goal, but somehow Subašić clawed the ball away just before it crossed the line. Monaco held on. "We play like that all the time," said Subašić.

Number: 71
It was a matter of when, not if. Raúl's long-standing status as the leading UEFA Champions League goalscorer was always likely to go and the former Spain forward would be able to do no more than wave as Messi and Ronaldo soared past him into uncharted stratospheres. Raúl began the season still top on 71 goals, but Messi seized the record on 25 November against APOEL FC. Soon Ronaldo was past the mark too (both in fewer games than the Spaniard) and by the end of the season the players were tied on 77 apiece.

Photo: Xavi Hernández waves goodbye after his record 151st competition appearance

©AFP/Getty Images

Goal: Your choice!
Aaron Ramsey, Branislav Ivanović, Leroy Sané, Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi or Ivan Rakitić: vote in our goal of the season poll.


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