The best line-up of players out of contract in 2018
This group of players, who will all be out of contract in the summer of 2018, would have the quality to compete for the Champions League.
Europe's big clubs still have work to do to retain their star players beyond the end of the 2017-18 season.
Talented players at Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, and other Champions League challengers will leave after June 30 2018, unless they sign contract extensions. The ideal team made up of players in the last year of their contracts would line up like this:
Iker Casillas: The Porto 'keeper has made a fine start in the Portuguese league, after deciding to extend his stay at the Estadio do Dragão for an additional season. He may be 36, but the Spaniard is still capable of performing at the top level.
Juanfran Torres: The Atlético Madrid right-back has been at the top level for years, as much in LaLiga as in the Champions League. Diego Simeone has decided to ration his playing opportunities this season, with Sime Vrsaljko also competing for the same spot.
Joao Miranda: The Brazilian centre-half shone with Atlético Madrid and has since been plying his trade with Inter Milan. He is 33 years old, but provides solidity and aerial prowess at the back.
Giorgio Chiellini: The most important piece of Juventus' defensive puzzle, and Leonardo Bonucci's surprise move to AC Milan has given him an even more important role. The man nicknamed 'King Kong' for his chest-beating goal celebrations would fit in to any defence.
Daley Blind: The son of the mythical Dutch player Danny played for Manchester United in their first three Premier League matches. But since then, he has only played one minute, against Southampton. José Mourinho does not fully commit to anyone, particularly left-backs, as Luke Shaw would testify. United have the option to extend his contract by one year.
Ander Herrera: Last season, Mourinho found in the former-Athletic Club man the defensive midfielder he had been looking for. He was a key part of Manchester United's success in the Europa League, but the signing of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea has robbed Herrera of a protagonist's role in the centre of midfield.
Mesut Özil: The German could look for pastures new, as Arsenal appear incapable of challenging for the Premier League title, and are not currently in the Champions League. If he does stay in North London, he will demand a fat wage packet.
Juan Mata: As with Ander Herrera, Mata has had to share minutes with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, although he continues to occupy a starting berth. The diminutive playmaker his highly-rated in England, and many clubs would fight for his signature if he moves away from Old Trafford.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Swede has not played this season as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury. Despite signing Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United have extended Ibrahimovic's contract until the end of this season.
Alexis Sánchez: Along with Mesut Özil, the Chilean is Arsenal's big star and big problem. He is demanding an eye-watering wage packed to remain at the club, after his deadline-day move to Manchester City did not go through. It appears likely that he will link up with Pep Guardiola in the summer, but PSG are also admirers.
Leo Messi: There is no doubt that the Argentine plans to see out his career at Barcelona, but he has yet to sign on the dotted line. It is possible that he has stalled due to problems that emerged between the squad and the board during the summer. Manchester City are thought to be ready to pounce for Messi if he does not sign a new contract at Camp Nou.
Beyond that succulent starting line-up, there are enough soon-to-be-out-of-contract players to fill a formidable bench. Among those are Ross Barkley (Everton), Emre Can (Liverpool), Leon Goretzka (Schalke 04), and Mario Balotelli (Nice).
Gabi Fernández (Atlético Madrid), Arjen Robben, and Franck Ribery (both Bayern Munich) would provide added experience.
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