Messi & Higuain spearhead Champions League Team of the Round
Loris Karius – Liverpool
The German goalkeeper may have attracted plenty of criticism during his time at Anfield, but he has looked more assured of late. That improvement is reflected in the fact that he was the only man to keep clean sheets in both legs of a last-16 encounter – with Liverpool proving too strong for Porto.
Rafinha – Bayern Munich
The buccaneering full-back provided the cross that forced the unfortunate Gokhan Gonul to put the ball into his own net as Bayern eased their way towards the last eight with a 3-1 victory over Besiktas in Turkey – with the German giants progressing 8-1 on aggregate.
Dejan Lovren – Liverpool
Like club colleague Karius, the Croatian centre-back often generates as many questions on the back of his performances as he offers answers. He was, however, rarely threatened by a mediocre Porto side as Jurgen Klopp’s side swept into the quarter-finals on the back of a 5-0 aggregate success.
Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus
The celebrations which greeted some heroic late rearguard action by the Italian champions against Tottenham told you all you need to know about how much weight the Bianconeri still place on the art of defending. Their battle-hardened centre-back remains a rock at the age of 33.
Aleksandar Kolarov – Roma
The former Manchester City left-back was Roma's player with the most passes in the opposition half in the game against Shakhtar and helped his team keep a clean sheet en route to reaching the next round on away goals after a 1-0 home win in the second leg.
Casemiro – Real Madrid
Now firmly established as an elite holding midfielder in world football, the Brazilian remains a reassuring presence at the heart of the Real Madrid side. Battled bravely to help the Blancos past Paris Saint-Germain, with a priceless goal netted to settle any late nerves at Parc des Princes.
Steven N'Zonzi - Sevilla
Dominated Manchester United's midfield with a commanding performance, with his range of passing stretching the home defence throughout.
Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich
Netted the first of Bayern’s eight goals across two legs against Besiktas, with a brace in a 5-0 victory on home soil helping to end the tie as a contest. The World Cup winner was also heavily involved in the return date, with his inch-perfect cross allowing Thiago Alcantara to break the deadlock.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona
Messi opened the scoring in the second leg of Barcelona's tie with Chelsea with the quickest goal of his career after just two minutes and eight seconds. He then set up Ousmane Dembele for the Frenchman's first Barca goal and Messi put the seal on his club's safe passage into the quarter-finals by scoring his second of the night, which was also his 100th in the Champions League.
Wissam Ben Yedder – Sevilla
Was only introduced in the second leg of a meeting with Manchester United in the 72nd minute, but made the most telling of contributions. Within 87 seconds of entering the fold he had fired Sevilla in front, and doubled their lead four minutes later to leave Jose Mourinho and Old Trafford stunned.
Gonzalo Higuain – Juventus
Probably thought he had done enough after netting twice inside the opening nine minutes of a first leg clash with Tottenham, but saw Spurs hit back to leave the tie level. Juventus needed away goals at Wembley, and their Argentine hit-man got the first to help seal a dramatic 4-3 aggregate success after an excellent all-around performance.