The Champions League has reached the business end and there are some brilliant Brazilians who can shape the destinies of their clubs
5) Ederson – Manchester City
Manchester City massively struggled with Claudio Bravo in goal last season, but Ederson has proven to be a big upgrade over the Chilean international. With his ball-playing abilities, calmness under pressure and impressive shot-stopping skills, the 24-year-old has an essential role to play, if the English team are to return victorious from Switzerland in the clash against Basel.
4) Casemiro – Real Madrid
There is little doubt that all eyes will be on the clash between reigning European champions Real Madrid and French giants PSG. The Spanish side is living a nightmare of a season, trailing long way behind Barcelona in the league table and out of the Spanish Cup. Madrid sees the Champions League as their last remaining hope. Here is where Casemiro needs to step up and confirm that he is one of the best in the world in his position, to give Tite a reason as to why he should retain his spot for the World Cup, instead of Fernandinho, who is having a much better campaign.
3) Douglas Costa – Juventus
According to form, Juventus should be hosting the return leg, as this is usually the case when a team tops the group. However, Tottenham have surprised everyone this season with their brilliant form in Europe, as they rightly finished first in their group ahead of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, whereas Juve fell short behind Barcelona.
The tie is considered as one of the most balanced in the round, and this is where Douglas Costa is expected to prove his worth, as the Champions League will be his last realistic chance of booking a World Cup spot. The skillful winger has been in brilliant form for the Italian side and will be looking to continue it against Spurs.
2) Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
Liverpool scored goals for fun in the group stages, earning them a well-deserved ticket to the round of 16 where they will clash with Porto, a team regarded as the underdogs. One man who has been sensational for the Reds is no doubt Roberto Firmino, who has already scored six goals and mustered three assists in his first attempt in Champions League football – only Cristiano Ronaldo has managed more goal-involvements.
With Gabriel Jesus still injured, it is now or never for Firmino’s chance to guide his team to the quarter-finals and also earn Tite’s recognition.
1) Neymar – PSG
The Champions League round of 16 is set to host a series of exciting fixtures, but there is no doubt that the one pitching Real Madrid against PSG is the clash of clashes. The defending champions will give their everything to save the remainder of their season, but Neymar joined the French side with the hope of writing history and winning the Ballon d’Or. This is the Brazilian star’s golden chance to outshine a direct competitor for the throne, pay back some of his fee and finally prove that he is ready to conquer world football.