Champions League Team of the last-16 second legs: Messi and Ronaldo join hat-trick hero Van Persie

Two Brazilians make the cut in defence while Ryan Giggs is also rewarded with a spot in our select XI of the best performers from the last two weeks

There were a number of stellar performances in the second legs of the Champions League last-16 ties over the past two weeks – both in crucial deciding encounters and the rather mundane dead-rubber contests.

In goal this week is Manchester United’s David De Gea. The Spaniard may not have stolen the headlines on a memorable night at Old Trafford, but a handful of fine stops – including a remarkable double-save at the end of the first half – helped his side secure their thrilling comeback over Olympiakos.

Dani Alves once more lines up on the right of defence after another match-winning goal against Manchester City, while compatriot Marquinhos is also included following his goal and all-round classy display in Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-1 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen. Two Chelsea defenders complete our back four: Gary Cahill kept Didier Drogba on the preriphery of the action at Stamford Bridge and scored his side’s second goal in their 2-0 win, while Cesar Azpilicueta put in another fine showing as a makeshift left-back for Jose Mourinho’s men.

The double-pivot in midfield sees Axel Witsel make a rare appearance in our selection after a dominant display for Zenit in the second-leg win over Borussia Dortmund. He is joined by Ryan Giggs, who was the driving force behind United’s 3-0 triumph on Wednesday with an energtic showing which belied his years. Further forward, Raul Garcia makes another appearance in our best XI, with the Atletico Madrid man grabbing another goal in a fine display during the 4-1 defeat of AC Milan.

In attack, the tournament’s record-chasers once again forge their way into our side. Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Ferenc Puskas’ tally for Real Madrid with another two goals against Schalke, while Lionel Messi was in inspired form as Barcelona beat Manchester City at Camp Nou. Spearheading the attack is United hero Robin van Persie, who recaptured his form at the perfect time for David Moyes, bagging a hat-trick to send the Red Devils into the quarter-finals.

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