Matchday 1 of the Champions League is done and dusted, European football's top competition returning in customary style with high drama and brilliant goals, a non-zero number of which were even scored by a goalkeeper. Here's our pick for the best XI of the first round of games, with apologies to Jude Bellingham, who we suspect will be in the side before too long:
Golazo Starting XI Newsletter
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GK: Ivan Provedel, Lazio
In general, this column is going to endeavor to skew away from just picking the guys who scored this week but if a goalkeeper flicks a last-gasp header into the net, then he is as locked into the XI as it is possible to get. He didn't even need those excellent saves from Alvaro Morata and Samuel Lino. So, well done, Nick Pope, you might have made eight saves at the San Siro. A lot of them were straight at you, though, weren't they? Omri Glazer, your first half at the Etihad Stadium opened up a world of jokes at the expense of Manchester United ownership but what was that punch for Julian Alvarez's free kick?
Anyway even if these two had had the games of their lives, neither of them delivered quite such a towering goal, did they? This was no Jimmy Glass-ish bundling of the ball at the last, instead a run across the face of the defense and flicked header worthy of Erling Haaland or Victor Osimhen. If that alone isn't team of the week status then this whole exercise would be a write-off.
RB: Kieran Trippier, Newcastle
A generous assessment of Newcastle's opening night performance might be that they let their nerves get to them in what was a skittish, awkward display, albeit one that delivered a point in the San Siro that may yet be vital in the battle to escape Group F. That point might not have come had it not been for the decisive interventions of Trippier. All night he was on hand when crosses came into the box from the Milan right, most decisively when Rafael Leao seemed bound to pull the trigger from just inside the penalty area.
That might not even have been the 33-year-old's biggest contribution to this valuable point. Leao still had pace to burn in the 93rd minute. Remarkably, so did Trippier, who did so well not just to beat his more fleet-footed opponent to the ball but to keep it in play after sliding in, robbing Milan of the sort of dangerous position that his teammates seemed only too happy to cede.
While the result was more than adequate, Newcastle will want to see more of Trippier on the front foot if they are really to make an impact on this competition. Still, the start would have been all the worse without their most experienced defender.
CB: Diogo Leite, Union Berlin
It was ultimately to be in vain as Bellingham did Bellingham things in added time but if anyone deserved to return from Madrid undefeated it was Leite, who hurled himself in the direction of danger time and time again. He made an astonishing 12 clearances, more than quite a few teams, and that was a statistic not solely representative of the weight of pressure Real Madrid put on the Union Berlin goal but also the center back's understanding of where he needed to be.
CB: William Saliba, Arsenal
Even though Arsenal emerged 4-0 victors on their return to the Champions League, there were certainly moments where PSV Eindhoven, who resolutely refused to adapt their game to superior opposition than that which the Eredivisie provides them with, asked questions of the Gunners. It was not just that Saliba answered all of them with ease but that he did so with his customary arrogance, typified by the moment in the 65th minute where Noa Lang thought he might have a chance to nick possession only for the Frenchman to drop a shoulder, shimmying and shaking to safety. Like so many in this young Arsenal team, a Champions League debut brought no fear for Saliba, who looks like one of the best young defenders in the world.
LB: David Raum, RB Leipzig
As RB Leipzig kicked off their campaign with a solid 3-1 win at Young Boys, David Raum's set piece delivery proved to be quite the weapon. His fizzing delivery in the second minute found Mohamed Simakan for the first goal of the group stages and he put tempting balls in the path of Youssef Poulsen and Lois Openda too. Add into the mix some particularly impressive challenges when the scores were level and this was a strong display indeed.
CM: Rodri, Man City
Like Saliba above, you could hardly argue that Rodri faced one of his toughest assignments in City's 3-1 win but in many ways what made him so impressive is how he adapted to an opponent that were pegged back to their own penalty area. Before this season, City would unlock teams like Crvena zvezda with the late penalty box darts of Ilkay Gundogan; he has moved on to Barcelona and the man who succeeded him, Mateo Kovacic, is more passer than runner.
The burden then might fall to Rodri. A player who might top out at one to 1.5 shots per 90 minutes before this season has taken five in three of his last four games, including Tuesday's win at the Etihad where he turned outside the area and breezed into it before rolling the ball into the far corner. Don't expect to see the best holding midfielder in the world do the same when the big Champions League games arrive in the spring, but the possibility that Rodri might offer some of Gundogan's shot output shouldn't be discounted just yet.
CM: Vitinha, PSG
One could make a case for almost any of PSG's midfield -- they actually have one of those this season, have you ever seen the like? But it's Vitinha who gets the nod because of how redolent he is of the swift impact Luis Enrique has made on the Parc des Princes. Warren Zaire-Emery deserves particular note for the mature performance of a man a decade older than his 17 years but it's Vitinha who takes this spot for his sensational work to tee up Achraf Hakimi for the second goal.
Shaping first to shoot, he drifted into the box before an elegant backheel found Hakimi. The right back gave and went before weaving through the defense and finishing, a goal of precise construction that might well be the best of the matchday. After a slow start to life with PSG, this was just the game that Vitinha needed, a reminder of why his club spent €41.5 million to get him from Porto just over a year ago. Now that he is in a team that is more than just superstars and a supporting cast, he might well shine.
RW: Ousmane Dembele, PSG
You could make a case for any one of half a dozen PSG players making this XI, so impressive were they in putting Borussia Dortmund to the sword. Then again, Kylian Mbappe's excellence on the Champions League can rather be priced in, arguably even the same for a veteran such as Marquinhos. Given that he was making his European debut for his new club and just his fifth appearance for the French champions, his display was exceptional. No one on the pitch created more chances and few players over the entire week managed as many progressive carries as Dembele. Just look at the occasions where he moves the ball into dangerous areas in or just outside the penalty box.
No wonder Luis Enrique gave him such a glowing write-up.
"If I were a fan of any team, I would pay to see Dembele play," he said. "He has something special about him. He can miss three times, but he's a player with magic. He may want to score his first goal, but that's a normal process. He's a wonderful player."
CAM: Julian Alvarez, Man City
City didn't need Alvarez in particular to dig them out of the hole they found themselves in at halftime against Crvena zvezda on Tuesday night. Despite the shock goal they conceded just before the interval, the reigning champions would have won this game before too long. However, the comeback win was a reminder of the burgeoning brilliance of the Argentine, who scored the equalizer with a brilliant two-touch finish before bending a free kick of such devilish whip that it was perhaps understandable that Glazer flicked it into his own net.
LW: Joao Felix, Barcelona
While it feels much too soon to declare that Joao Felix is back -- had he ever truly arrived in the first place? -- his Champions League bow for Barcelona began in magnificent fashion. As if his drilled strike past Jean Butez, who Felix knew would be unable to shift his weight quick enough if the shot went back the way the goalkeeper was coming from, was not enough, he soon delivered a quite wonderful assist for Robert Lewandowski. His second goal might not have kept up the lofty aesthetic standards he had set for himself but one suspects those back-post opportunities will be a productive avenue for the 23-year-old.
Above the small matter of Tuesday's events there is something quite invigorating about the prospect of seeing Felix in an environment conducive to his qualities. As an aside, what does it say about Chelsea and Atletico Madrid that lever-pulling, last-minute squad-registering Barcelona have the look of a stable situation for such a prodigious talent? He will hope that the travails of Stamford Bridge and the Metropolitano are for the past, that his future will be defined by performances like this week's.
ST: Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal
Even in a start to the season that has seen Arsenal drop just two points there has been half a feeling that something is suboptimal with Mikel Arteta's side. The results are there and the underlying metrics are just fine but the verve has not quite emerged. It felt a little hard to put your finger on exactly what was missing until Jesus returned to the starting XI. Suddenly Arsenal were a joy once more.
The fluidity of his movement unlocked new avenues to goal for the Gunners, it was his turn and drive forward that set the stage for Leandro Trossard's goal. He would get in on the act himself before the break, whacking the ball beyond Walter Benitez from the right corner of the box. With Jesus in the side Arsenal look like a team who can romp to the top of Group B in no time at all.