There’s a lot of European football to consume on a weekly basis and plenty of top performances that warrant our attention.
Whether it’s a flurry of goals from a single player or underrated contributions that had big impacts, we’re keeping an eye on them.
As such, after every round of fixtures in Europe’s top five leagues, we pick out the outstanding performers and slot them into our Team of the Week.
Here’s our latest selection:
GK: THIBAUT COURTOIS | REAL MADRID
The Belgium No1 had very little to do at a damp Santiago Bernabeu.
He, however, averted disaster in the fraught final moments against Levante. With the score set at a fraught 3-2, a threatening free-kick was curled into Ruben Vezo’s path.
The Portuguese centre-back made a solid connection, only for Courtois to spread himself wide and repel his effort.
RB: CHRISTOPHE JALLET | AMIENS
The timeless right-back was at his best versus vaunted former employers.
A fortunate seventh-minute goal saw his deep free-kick spin into the top corner once Lyon centre-back Joachim Andersson failed to stretch his leg and clear. His 91st-minute header then allowed midfielder Mathieu Bodmer – another veteran ex-Les Gones player – to secure a memorable 2-2 draw.
CB: NIKOLA MILENKOVIC | FIORENTINA
Maurizio Sarri’s first experience on the touchline for Juventus ended in frustration – and Serbia centre-back Milenkovic was a key source of this pain.
Played on the right-hand side of a three-man defence, the 21-year-old helped shackle Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain. There could even have been greater cause for personal celebration, a 77th-minute header being superbly repelled by Poland No1 Wojciech Szczesny to maintain the champions’ unbeaten start.
CB: LUCA CEPPITELLI | CAGLIARI
1 - Luca Ceppitelli is the first defender to have scored a brace in the top-5 European Leagues 2019/20. Unexpected.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 15, 2019
Ceppitelli showed the Rossoblu attackers how it’s done, netting a first-half brace in their 3-1 victory against Parma.
The skipper swept home from just inside the penalty area, then powerfully headed in a 39th-minute second. In the process, he became the first defender in Europe’s top-five leagues during 2019/20 to double up in a single game.
LB: NACHO MONREAL | REAL SOCIEDAD
What a smart pick-up Monreal is proving to be.
The 33-year-old preyed upon a rare Jan Oblak fumble to tap-in and seal a seriously impressive 2-0 victory for La Real against then-unbeaten Atletico Madrd.
At the other end of the pitch, his experience within a youthful side helped repel the threats of Joao Felix and in-form Vitolo.
RW: ANSU FATI | BARCELONA
The kid can play.
New benchmarks keep being set by the 16-year-old sensation. In the 5-2 dismantling of Valencia, he became the youngest player in La Liga history to score and assist a goal in the same game.
This was the Frenkie de Jong and Fati show – both players teeing the other up for goals. It takes some talent to fill the void left by the absent Lionel Messi.
CM: KENNY MCLEAN | NORWICH
McLean symbolised everything good about the Canaries in their shock 3-2 triumph against champions Manchester City.
The Scotland centre midfielder pressed high and fast from kick-off to unsettle Pep Guardiola’s thoroughbreds. He would then adroitly take advantage of a recurring weakness at the near post from set-plays and flick in a memorable opener.
CM: MARCO REUS | BORUSSIA DORTMUND
One of the results of the weekend was BVB’s surgical 4-0 dismantling of Bayer Leverkusen.
Germany forward Reus put the scalpel into the visitors, netting a brace to send his side back top of the nascent Bundesliga. An unselfish fake shot by Paco Alcacer teed him up five minutes after the restart, before completing the rout on 90 minutes.
LW: AMINE HARIT | SCHALKE
⭐ Man of the Match performance— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) September 15, 2019
🗓️ First goal since November 2018
✌️ First ever Bundesliga brace
What an evening for Amine Harit! pic.twitter.com/WhgPYC6NTW
This is how you end a nine-month Bundesliga drought.
The Morocco midfielder was simply unplayable in the 5-1 humbling of Paderborn.
Harit deftly let the ball go across him to curl in his 71st-minute first, before finding the bottom corner at the death to end the scoring. This was also a first Bundesliga brace for the 22-year-old.
CF: TAMMY ABRAHAM | CHELSEA
Abraham’s prodigious talent continued to shine bright during a memorable 5-2 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The 21-year-old became the first player in Premier League history to notch a hat-trick and own goal in the same match. His three-goal haul also moved him top of the 2019/20 Premier League scoring charts with seven.
CF: DARIO BENEDETTO | MARSEILLE
What a pick-up the Argentina centre forward is proving to be.
The €14 million summer addition from Boca Juniors was brilliant again in the south-coast clash at Monaco. Sunday’s hosts charged into a 2-0 lead, only for Benedeto to strike twice – and rock the crossbar – in an eventual 4-3 win.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic pronounced himself the best MLS player ever after scoring a hat trick in the LA Galaxy’s 7-2 rout over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Swedish star pounced on a saved penalty kick in the 32nd minute to match the Galaxy single season goal record set by Carlos Ruiz in 2002, then struck again in the 51st to break the mark before completing his hat trick in the 85th.
The former Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan striker, who joined Galaxy on a free transfer from United in 2018, has scored 48 goals in 51 appearances in MLS.
“I think I am the best ever to play in MLS. And that, without joking,” said the veteran forward.
“Have you been looking for the two years I’ve been playing? Or in Sweden they don’t show the games?”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick to break the Los Angeles Galaxy’s season scoring record in a thumping 7-2 defeat of Sporting Kansas City in the MLS on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Swedish star equalised at 1-1 after 32 minutes – scoring off the rebound as his penalty attempt was blocked by Tim Melia – to match the club record of 24 set by Carlos Ruiz in 2002.
He then broke that mark and put LA up 3-1 in the 51st minute after some typically brilliant penalty box work to trap a cross from Swiss defender Rolf Feltscher and outfox two defenders.
After the Galaxy took full control, Ibrahimovic made it 7-1 with his 26th goal of the season five minutes from time, celebrating a clinical strike from just inside the box by balancing on an advertising hoarding, with arms raised to lap up the applause of the adoring LA fans.
Joe Corona, Uriel Antuna and Sebastian Lletget (two) scored LA’s other goals, with Felipe Gutierrez scoring twice for Kansas.
Wayne Rooney made his comeback from a two-game violent conduct suspension but was not required to score in a 1-0 win to the Washington Nationals at the Portland Timbers, whose defender Bill Tuiloma scored an own goal in the 25th minute.
United have now won two straight after a three-game losing streak and sit fifth in the league’s eastern conference with three home and away games to play, with seven teams progressing to the play-offs.
The Seattle Sounders, second in the western conference, beat the New York Red Bulls 4-2 in a wild match in Seattle.
They led 2-0 thanks to Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro, but were pegged back by Aaron Long and Alejandro Romero. But Sean Davis put through his own goal (83) and Lodeiro sealed it in added time.
Toronto FC also let a two-goal lead slip before recovering for a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rapids.
Tsubasa Endoh and Alejandro Pozuelo took Toronto to a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes before Keegan Rosenberry and Sam Nicholson restored parity by the 62 minute mark.
Jonathon Osorio put the home side back in front with a neat strike from just inside the box on 70 minutes.
In Sunday’s other game, Minnesota United came from 1-0 down to score a 3-1 win over Real salt Lake, thanks to a double from Darwin Quintero and an 83rd-minute sealer from Ethan Finlay.
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