CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Champions League: Real Madrid's Rodrygo in breakthrough team

UEFA has published its Champions League breakthrough team for 2019, with Real Madrid's Rodrygo Goes among those included.

Champions League: Real Madrid's Rodrygo in breakthrough team
Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 / Europa Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 / Europa

UEFA has published its Champions League breakthrough team of 2019, with Real Madrid's Rodrygo Goes chosen in attack after impressing for Los Blancos since his summer arrival from Santos.

Rodrygo and Lodi represent LaLiga in ideal XI

Rodrygo grabbed the Champions League headlines in November with a memorable hat-trick in Madrid's 6-0 group-stage win over Galatasaray, and has quickly established himself as a regular in Zinedine Zidane's side despite being just 18.

Rodrygo is, alongside Atlético Madrid's Renan Lodi, one of two LaLiga representatives in the XI. Signed as a long-term replacement for Filipe Luis in the close season, the left-back has so far proved more than equal to the task of filling his compatriot's boots at Los Rojiblancos.

Achraf and Olmo also in breakthrough team

The team also includes two other players who are familiar faces in Spain: Achraf Hakimi and Dani Olmo. Achraf, who is on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid, has scored no fewer than four times in the Champions League this term and has shown an ability to operate in a range of positions.

Olmo, meanwhile, shone for Dinamo Zagreb despite the Croats' group-stage exit, his form earning him a call-up to the Spain squad in November.

Dani Olmo's form for Dinamo Zagreb has led to a Spain call-up.

In goal, Napoli's Alex Meret, 22, has demonstrated that he is ready for the challenge of being the Italians' number-one keeper, while Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard and RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano join Achraf and Lodi in defence.

Despite their young age, Sander Berge, 21, and Kai Havertz, 20, have been key figures for Genk and Bayer Leverkusen, respectively, and are selected alongside Olmo in midfield.

Haaland and Lautaro in attack with Rodrygo

Up front, Rodrygo is accompanied by Lautaro Martínez and Erling Braut Haaland, who has taken the Champions League by storm this term, scoring for RB Salzburg in each of his first five tournament appearances. With a host of major clubs eyeing the 19-year-old Norwegian, it was this week confirmed that he is to join Dortmund.

Although Inter finally had to settle for a place in the Europa League after finishing behind Barcelona and Dortmund in Champions League Group F, Martínez's displays have also attracted transfer interest, with the Blaugrana among his suitors.