Uefa Champions League Fantasy Best Players of All Time

Andrew Kovacs

The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football and a fantasy competition based on its teams adds to the excitement by allowing participants to select their own dream squad from among Europe’s top clubs. With UEFA Champions League Fantasy, you can pick your ideal line-up with players from all 32 participating nations as they compete for glory in this prestigious tournament. By utilizing player stats, team form and other criteria, participants will have an opportunity to outsmart opponents while being rewarded for their knowledge of international soccer stars.

Table of Contents

1. João Cancelo

Manchester City F.C.

João Cancelo Career

  • 2002–2007: Barreirense
  • 2007–2012: Benfica
  • 2012–2014: Benfica B
  • 2014–2015: Benfica
  • 2014–2015: Valencia (loan)
  • 2015–2018: Valencia
  • 2017–2018: Inter Milan (loan)
  • 2018–2019: Juventus
  • 2019: Manchester City
  • 2023: Bayern Munich (loan)
  • 2010: Portugal U16
  • 2010–2011: Portugal U17
  • 2011–2012: Portugal U18
  • 2012: Portugal U19
  • 2013–2014: Portugal U20
  • 2014–2017: Portugal U21
  • 2016 : Portugal

João Cancelo is a Portuguese full-back who joined Manchester City in January 2016. He made his senior debut for Benfica in 2014, and had loan spells at Valencia and Espanyol before joining Manchester City permanently the following year.

Cancelo has represented Portugal at the under-19 level, winning silverware at the 2013 European Championships and 2015 U20 World Cup. 

A hard-working defender with good technique, he is known for his pace down the wing as well as solid defending abilities from the backline João Cancelo is a Portuguese professional footballer.

Who plays as a right-back for the Spanish club Valencia and the Portugal national team.

He started his career at Sporting CP but moved to Valencia in 2016 after impressing with Portugal's under-21 side. 

In total he has made 97 appearances for Manchester City, scoring five goals – including two against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League – before joining Inter Milan on loan in January 2019. 

João Cancelo was born on 25 October 1994 in Lisbon, Portugal to parents from Madeira Island; his paternal great-grandfather played football professionally in Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau.

While his maternal grandfather represented Sporting Clube de Loures (now Vitória Sétima) during their victorious 1974 Portuguese Cup campaign.

João Cancello has been capped 64 times by Portugal since making his debut aged 18 years and 259 days old against Denmark on 10 November 2010.

2. Édouard Mendy

Chelsea F.C.

Édouard Mendy Career

  • 1999–2005: Le Havre Caucriauville
  • 2005–2006: Le Havre
  • 2006–2011: CS Municipaux Le Havre
  • 2011–2014: Cherbourg
  • 2015–2016: Marseille B
  • 2016–2019: Reims
  • 2017: Reims B
  • 2019–2020: Rennes
  • 2020: Chelsea
  • 2018: Senegal

Mendy joined Chelsea in the summer of 2017 and has been a key part of their squad ever since. He is currently their first choice goalkeeper and has helped them win several trophies, including the Premier League title in 2018.

Mendy was born in Montivilliers, France and started his career at Le Havre Caucriauville before moving to CS Municipaux Le Havre. 

In 2011, he moved to English club Chelsea where he has played for them ever since – making over 150 appearances across all competitions.

Mendy is known as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and is highly-rated by many teams around the world; most notably Barcelona who were reportedly keen on signing him during the winter transfer window last year.

At 30 years old, Édouard Mendy still has plenty of potential left in him and we can expect great things from him going forward – especially with Chelsea competing for more titles on an annual basis.

3. Arnaut Danjuma

Villarreal CF

Arnaut Danjuma Career

  • 2008: TOP Oss
  • 2008–2016: PSV
  • 2016–2017: NEC
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2015: Jong PSV: 1: (0)
  • 2016–2018: NEC: 40: (12)
  • 2018–2019: Club Brugge: 21: (5)
  • 2019–2021: AFC Bournemouth: 47: (15)
  • 2021–: Villarreal: 33: (12)
  • 2018: Netherlands U21: 4: (2)
  • 2018–: Netherlands: 6: (2)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 19:25, 7 January 2023 (UTC), ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 26 March 2022 (UTC)

Arnaut Danjuma is a Dutch-Nigerian winger who has been with Villarreal since the summer of 2018. He started his career at TOP Oss before moving to AZ Alkmaar in 2016 and then onto Villarreal in Spain.

In total, Arnaut has made 91 appearances for three different clubs across Europe - impressive figures for such a young player. Arnaut's versatility on the wing means that he can play as either an attacking midfielder or out wide on the left side of a 4-4-2 formation.

He has also represented Netherlands U21s and Nigeria at Under 20 level, scoring six times in 14 appearances during this time frame including two goals during qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2019 tournament in Russia which Nigerians reached the semi finals of. 

Arnaut is highly rated within Spanish football circles and could well have international aspirations after making such progress at junior levels already; we will see what happens next year.

4. Odysseas Vlachodimos

S.L. Benfica

Odysseas Vlachodimos Career

  • 2000–2002: VfL Wangen
  • 2002–2013: VfB Stuttgart
  • 2012–2015: VfB Stuttgart II
  • 2015–2016: VfB Stuttgart
  • 2016–2018: Panathinaikos
  • 2018: Benfica
  • 2009: Germany U15
  • 2009–2010: Germany U16
  • 2010–2011: Germany U17
  • 2012: Germany U18
  • 2012–2013: Germany U19
  • 2013–2014: Germany U20
  • 2017: Germany U21
  • 2018: Greece

Odysseas Vlachodimos is a German-born goalkeeper who currently plays for Portuguese side Benfica. Odysseas spent time with Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart's youth teams before signing his first professional contract with the senior side in 2012.

In total, he has made 52 appearances for Panathinaikos since joining them in 2016 and was an unused substitute against Real Madrid during their Champions League last 16 tie earlier this month. 

Odysseas has represented Germany at under-19 and -21 levels but missed out on selection for the full national team by just one goal in qualifying for Euro 2016, which they went on to win.

He is considered to be among the brightest young goalkeepers in Europe and is regularly linked with moves away from Portugal, where he has won two league titles since moving there permanently in 2017.

Also Played For: sl benfica, liga portugal

5. Reinildo Mandava

Mozambique national football team

Reinildo Mandava Career

  • 2012–2014: Ferroviário da Beira
  • 2014–2015: GD Maputo
  • 2015–2018: Benfica B
  • 2017: → Fafe (loan)
  • 2017–2018: → Sporting Covilhã (loan)
  • 2018–2019: Belenenses SAD
  • 2019: → Lille (loan)
  • 2019–2022: Lille
  • 2022–: Atlético Madrid
  • 2014–: Mozambique
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 23:38, 8 January 2023 (UTC), ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 23

Reinildo Mandava is a left back who currently plays for Atlético Madrid in the Spanish La Liga. He started his senior career with Portuguese side Porto, before moving to Lille in France during the summer of 2017.

Mandava made an immediate impact at Lille, helping them reach the Champions League group stage as well as being named club captain. 

He has also represented Mozambique at international level and was part of their team that reached the quarter-finals of Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.

Mandava has been subject to interest from several top European clubs including Barcelona and Juventus, but he signed a new contract with Atlético Madrid last year which runs until 2024 Reinildo Mandava is a Mozambican professional footballer who plays for French club Lille. 

He made his debut for the Mozambique national team in 2014 and has since represented them at various international tournaments, including the 2018 World Cup.

Reinildo started his career with Brazilian side Ferroviário da Beira before moving to Portuguese giants Benfica B in 2015. In 2017, he signed on loan with Sporting Covilhã and went on to make 31 appearances for them over two seasons before joining Belenenses SAD in 2018. 

On 29 May 2019, it was announced that Mandava had joined Atlético Madrid on a season-long loan deal. Reinildo is known as an attacking midfielder or forward and is considered one of Mozambique's most promising young players.

Also Played For: atlético de madrid

6. Sébastien Haller

Borussia Dortmund

Sébastien Haller Career

  • 2003–2005: FCO Vigneux
  • 2005–2007: Brétigny Foot
  • 2007–2012: Auxerre
  • 2010–2014: Auxerre II
  • 2012–2015: Auxerre
  • 2015: Utrecht (loan)
  • 2015–2017: Utrecht
  • 2017–2019: Eintracht Frankfurt
  • 2019–2021: West Ham United
  • 2021–2022: Ajax
  • 2022: Borussia Dortmund
  • 2010: France U16
  • 2011: France U17
  • 2011–2012: France U18
  • 2012–2013: France U19
  • 2013–2014: France U20
  • 2013–2016: France U21
  • 2020: Ivory Coast
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 23:17, 15 May 2022 (UTC), ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 23

Sébastien Haller is a French-born striker who currently plays for Borussia Dortmund. He started his career at FCO Vigneux before joining Brétigny Foot in 2007.

In 2012, he moved to Auxerre and subsequently made over 100 appearances for the club, scoring 36 goals. He joined Borussia Dortmund in 2019 and has since scored six goals in 17 appearances for the Bundesliga side.

Sébastien Haller is widely considered one of France's most promising young strikers and has been called up to the national team on multiple occasions; most recently being named in their squad for the World Cup Qualifiers against Bulgaria and Romania later this year.

Outside of football, he studied business administration at university level and now works as a financial consultant. 

Sébastien Haller is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for Dutch club Utrecht and the Ivory Coast national team.

Sébastien Haller began his career with Auxerre before moving to Dutch side Utrecht in 2015. He has since made over 60 appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt, scoring 24 goals, and represented France at U21 level on multiple occasions. 

In September 2020, it was announced that Haller had been called up to the Ivory Coast squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Madagascar and Gabon.

He made his international debut later that month playing the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw against Madagascar. 

Sébestien Haller is known for his pace, dribbling ability, shooting power, and set-piece skills; he has also been praised for being an excellent header of the ball and strong tackler in midfield.

7. Diogo Costa

FC Porto

Diogo Costa Career

  • 2009–2011: CB Póvoa Lanhoso
  • 2011–2019: Porto
  • 2017–2021: Porto B
  • 2019: Porto
  • 2014–2015: Portugal U16
  • 2015–2016: Portugal U17
  • 2015: Portugal U18
  • 2016–2018: Portugal U19
  • 2017–2019: Portugal U20
  • 2018–2021: Portugal U21
  • 2021: Portugal

Diogo Costa is a goalkeeper who currently plays for Portuguese side Porto. Diogo Costa made his senior debut in 2017 and has gone on to play 51 matches for the club since then, without conceding a goal.

Diogo Costa also represented Portugal at youth level, playing 4 matches as part of the U16 team and 14 games with the U17s. 

After impressing during his first season with Porto's reserves, Diogo Costa was called up to the first-team squad in January 2019 and made his debut later that month against Leixões in a 1-1 draw.

Withdrawn from Portugal's international duty after picking up an injury earlier this year, it remains to be seen if he will make any more appearances for his country at senior level moving forward but regardless, he is unquestionably one of Europe’s top young goalkeepers right now.

8. Antonio Adán

Atlético de Madrid

Antonio Adán Career

  • 1997–2004: Real Madrid
  • 2004–2006: Real Madrid C
  • 2006–2010: Real Madrid B
  • 2010–2013: Real Madrid
  • 2013–2014: Cagliari
  • 2014–2018: Betis
  • 2018–2020: Atlético Madrid
  • 2020: Sporting CP
  • 2002: Spain U16
  • 2002–2005: Spain U17
  • 2006: Spain U19
  • 2007: Spain U20
  • 2007: Spain U21

Antonio Adán is a Spanish goalkeeper who currently plays for Sporting CP. He started his career at Real Madrid, playing for their C team from 2004 to 2006 before making the step up to their B side in 2006.

In 2010 he joined Real Madrid's first-team and went on to make 7 appearances during three seasons with the club before moving back down to their B side in 2013. 

Antonio Adán made his debut for Spain national team in 2007 and has since gone on to represent them at Euro 2012, Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

He was part of the Portugal squad that reached the semi-finals of UEFA European Championship in 2016 but they were beaten by Croatia after extra time; this saw him named as one of UEFA's Best 3 Goalkeepers of 2016 alongside Lars Lagerback and António Semedo.

With regards to Sporting CP, they finished second behind Barcelona in La Liga last season and qualified for Europe through knockout stages;[4] Antonio Adán will be hoping to help them retain their title next season.

Also Played For: sporting cp

9. Jude Bellingham

Borussia Dortmund

Jude Bellingham Career

  • 2010–2019: Birmingham City
  • 2019–2020: Birmingham City
  • 2020: Borussia Dortmund
  • 2016–2018: England U15
  • 2018–2019: England U16
  • 2019: England U17
  • 2020: England U21
  • 2020: England

Jude Bellingham is a young English midfielder who currently plays for Borussia Dortmund. Jude started his career with Birmingham City before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2020.

Jude has impressed during his time at Borussia Dortmund, and was part of the team that won the German Cup in 2019. 

Jude is known for his explosive attacking play and impressive passing range, which makes him an important member of the midfield unit.

With a promising future ahead of him, there are few players more deserving of recognition than Jude Bellingham. 

Jude Bellingham is a talented young footballer who has been playing for Birmingham City in the English Premier League. 

Jude has represented England at youth international level and is looking to make his senior debut soon.

He was named runner-up in UEFA's European Championship this year, which shows just how good he is. Jude is highly rated by scouts and will no doubt be one of the stars of the future if he continues to develop at such a pace. 

Keep an eye out for Jude - he could well be on his way to becoming one of the best footballers in the world.

10. Brandon Mechele

Club Brugge KV

Brandon Mechele Career

  • 1999–2013: Club Brugge
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 2013–: Club Brugge: 262: (8)
  • 2016–2017: → Sint-Truidense (loan): 17: (2)
  • 2013–2014: Belgium U21: 8: (0)
  • 2019–: Belgium: 3: (0)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 26 December 2022, ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 11 November 2020

Brandon Mechele is a Belgian center-back who currently plays for Club Brugge. Brandon was born in Belgium on January 28, 1993 and started playing football at the age of six.

He made his senior debut with Kortrijk in 2011 before moving to Club Brugge two years later. In total, he has played 91 matches for Club Brugge including 39 appearances in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League and 26 Champions League appearances.

Brandon featured prominently for Belgium at the World Cup where they reached the quarter finals but were eliminated by Uruguay after a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in Group G play. 

The defender also represented his country at Euro 2016 where they finished as runners up to Portugal and Copa America 2018 where they won the silver medal after losing to Brazil in the final match of group play.

11. Karim Adeyemi

Borussia Dortmund

Karim Adeyemi Career

  • 2008–2010: TSV Forstenried
  • 2010–2012: Bayern Munich
  • 2012–2018: SpVgg Unterhaching
  • 2018–2020: Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2018–2022: Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2018–2020: Liefering (loan)
  • 2022: Borussia Dortmund
  • 2018: Germany U16
  • 2018–2019: Germany U17
  • 2021: Germany U21
  • 2021: Germany

Karim Adeyemi is a young German forward who currently plays for Borussia Dortmund. He made his Bundesliga debut in 2018, and has also played for SpVgg Unterhaching, Bayern Munich, and Red Bull Salzburg on the senior level.

Karim Adeyemi has been praised for his speed and dribbling ability, as well as his goalscoring record at youth levels. In 2020 he was signed by Red Bull Salzburg, where he has since established himself as one of the club's key players.

Karim Adeyemi is a professional footballer who currently plays for Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. 

Karim has represented Germany at youth level and won the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2021. He began his career with Liefering before joining Borussia Dortmund on loan in 2018.

In 2020, he joined Red Bull Salzburg permanently where he has since made 68 appearances and scored 27 goals.

Also Played For: youth soccer, fc red bull salzburg

12. Gonçalo Ramos

S.L. Benfica

Gonçalo Ramos Career

  • 2009–2011: Olhanense
  • 2011–2013: Loulé
  • 2013–2019: Benfica
  • 2019–2021: Benfica B
  • 2020: Benfica
  • 2017–2018: Portugal U17
  • 2018: Portugal U18
  • 2019: Portugal U19
  • 2020: Portugal U20
  • 2020–2022: Portugal U21
  • 2022: Portugal

Gonçalo Ramos is a Portuguese forward who currently plays for Benfica. Ramos made his senior debut for Benfica in 2019 and has since scored 16 goals in 37 appearances for the club's B team.

Prior to joining Benfica, Ramos spent time with Olhanense, Loulé, and the Portugal under-21 side. At 6'1" tall, Ramos is both physically imposing and an accurate finisher with either foot.

With 88 caps to his name, Gonçalo Ramos is one of Portugal's most experienced players at the international level and will be looking to help Benfica win more trophies during his time in Lisbon Gonçalo Ramos is a Portuguese footballer who plays for Benfica.

He has played at both youth and senior levels for Portugal, and was part of their squads that won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2019 and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2021. 

Ramos started his career with Vitória Guimarães before moving to Porto in 2013. He spent two seasons there, winning the Primeira Liga championship in 2014–15, before joining Benfica in 2017. 

In total, he has made 147 appearances for Benfica across all competitions – scoring 23 goals including one during his time with Portugal at the UEFA European Under-19 Championships and three while playing for Portugal U21s en route to their runner-up finish at Euro 2020.

Outside of football, Ramos is studying law at university.

Also Played For: uefa youth league, portugal football team

13. Hans Vanaken

Club Brugge KV

Hans Vanaken Career

  • 2002–2008: PSV Eindhoven
  • 2008–2010: Lommel United
  • 2010–2013: Lommel United
  • 2013–2015: Lokeren
  • 2015–: Club Brugge
  • 2012: Belgium U20
  • 2013–2014: Belgium U21
  • 2018–: Belgium
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 23:13, 26 December 2022 (UTC), ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 21

Hans Vanaken is a Belgian attacking midfielder who currently plays for Club Brugge. He started his career at Lommel United, before moving to Club Brugge in 2013.

Hans Vanaken has represented Belgium at youth international level, and played in the 2012 European Championship Qualifier against Sweden. 

Hans Vanaken is a hard-working midfielder who is capable of scoring goals from set pieces or from distance, and he is considered one of Belgium's most promising young players.

Hans Vanaken will be hoping to add more silverware to his trophy cabinet with Club Brugge this season Hans Vanaken is a Belgian footballer who currently plays for Club Brugge in the Belgian Pro League. 

Hans Vanaken made his professional debut with PSV Eindhoven in 2002 and went on to make 276 appearances for the club, scoring 84 goals.

After leaving PSV Eindhoven, Hans Vanaken spent time at Lommel United before joining Club Brugge in 2015. Hans Vanaken has represented Belgium at youth level and played two games for the senior team during 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.

14. Gregor Kobel

Borussia Dortmund

Gregor Kobel Career

  • 2013–2016: Grasshoppers
  • 2014–2016: 1899 Hoffenheim (loan)
  • 2016–2020: 1899 Hoffenheim
  • 2019: FC Augsburg (loan)
  • 2019–2020: VfB Stuttgart (loan)
  • 2020–2021: VfB Stuttgart
  • 2021: Borussia Dortmund
  • 2014: Switzerland U17
  • 2015: Switzerland U18
  • 2015–2016: Switzerland U19
  • 2016: Switzerland U20
  • 2016–2018: Switzerland U21
  • 2021: Switzerland
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 22:45, 11 November 2022 (UTC), ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 09

Gregor Kobel is a goalkeeper for Borussia Dortmund and has been with the club since 2017. He made his professional debut in 2018, starting in BVB's 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Gregor was born in Zürich, Switzerland on December 6th 1997 and started playing football at an early age with local clubs Grasshoppers and 1899 Hoffenheim before joining Borussia Dortmund as a youth player in 2013.

He broke into the first team during the 2018-19 season, making 15 appearances including 10 consecutive starts between October 18th - January 1st 2019 which led to him being nominated for the Bundesliga Goal of the Month award but he ultimately lost out to Alaba from Bayern Munich who scored twice against Hamburg.

His performances have seen him called up to Switzerland’s senior squad multiple times and he played Europa League qualifying matches against Iceland (as captain) and Andorra last month.

He is currently Borussia Dortmund’s first choice goalkeeper, having won both Belgian Pro League titles (2018 & 2020) as well as reaching the Champions League semifinals back-to-back years ago, something that few clubs can boast about nowadays.

15. Mohamed Simakan

RB Leipzig

Mohamed Simakan Career

  • 2008–2009: Vivaux Marronniers
  • 2009–2010: FC Bruz
  • 2010–2011: FC Rouguière
  • 2011–2014: Marseille
  • 2015: JO Saint-Gabriel
  • 2015–2017: SC Air Bel
  • 2017–2019: Strasbourg
  • 2017–2019: Strasbourg B
  • 2019–2021: Strasbourg
  • 2021: RB Leipzig
  • 2019: France U20
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 23:15, 9 November 2022 (UTC), ‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 17

Mohamed Simakan is a young defender with RB Leipzig. He made his professional debut in the 2018–19 season and has since played 32 matches for the club. Mohamed Simakan was born on 3 May 2000 in Marseille, France.

At 1.87 metres (6ft 2in), he is tall for a defender and has good athleticism which makes him effective at defending both goals and wide areas. 

Mohamed Simakan began his youth career with Vivaux Marronniers in 2008 before moving to RC Strasbourg two years later where he spent two seasons developmentally playing for their academy team before joining RB Leipzig in January 2019.

MohamedSimkan joined RB Leipzig from French side RC Strasbourg ahead of their inaugural Bundesliga campaign, becoming the joint-second youngest player ever to play in Germany's top flight behind only Kevin Großkreutz.

He made his professional debut on 10 August 2018 against Eintracht Frankfurt aged just 18 years old coming on as a substitute for Marcel Sabitzer after 73 minutes. His first start came six days later against Bayer Leverkusen.

After 74 appearances across all competitions during the 2018/19 season, scoring twice, Mohamed became an important member of Rudi Völler’s starting XI going into the new season under head coach Ralph Hasenhüttl.

Also Played For: rb leipzig

Final Words

. . The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football and a fantasy competition base. Many fantastic players have graced this prestigious tournament over the years, but who are the best in UCL history? This article takes a look at some of the most successful stars to ever grace this illustrious competition.

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Andrew Kovacs

I am a Head Boys Soccer Coach at Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts. I have coached for the past five years and I am currently working on my master's degree in Exercise Science. I coach soccer because I love the game and I enjoy being around the kids. It is rewarding to see them develop their skills and grow as individuals. LinkedIn

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