Liverpool quintet dominate Champions League Team of the Year 2019

Lionel Messi: Barcelona star gives Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid verdict on rivalry

Messi: Ronaldo rivalry will be remembered forever

The revelation however, left the fans a little surprised.

However, the team curiously used a 4-2-4 formation (four defenders, two midfielders, four forwards) that is rarely seen in today's game.

UEFA Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or runner-up Virgil van Dijk completes a defensive set-up alongside FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year Alisson Becker whilst full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson also feature.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona): The 2018/19 Champions League Forward of the Season, 12-goal top scorer and first player to score in 15 successive seasons in the competition, Messi racked up a half-century of goals for the ninth time in the last ten years.

"Competing head to head for so many years will be remembered forever".

And Messi has praised Ronaldo, telling DAZN: "It was a special duel and it will remain [in people's minds] forever, because it lasted for many years and it is not easy to maintain such levels for a long time". In fact, that UEFA officials delayed the unveiling of the side by a decade; As per the Daily Mail, to manoeuvre the Juventus star in the side.

UEFA chiefs were not impressed and so came up with the formation switch to allocate Juventus's Ronaldo, dropping a midfielder.

A UEFA spokesperson said: "The formation for this year's team of the year was chosen to reflect the votes of the fans in parallel with the players' achievements in UEFA competitions".

The 2019 XI saw seven players make their debut in the team, with six hailing from from English Premier League clubs, including five from 2018/19 UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool FC. "Ronaldo's popularity is so high within the organisation that the formation had to be changed".

Explaining the reason for the change of the formation, UEFA attributed Ronaldo's inclusion to his role in Portugal's inaugural Nations League win.

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