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Stats Zone’s European Team of the Month: Two from Barça, one from Madrid – but who?

Gigi Buffon (Juventus)

The veteran shot-stopper set a new record for minutes played without conceding a goal in Serie A last month, which broke the existing feat of Milan's Sebastiano Rossi from the 1993/94 season.

“I was luckier than you because my team-mates made sure that I faced very few shots on goal,” Buffon humbly told the man that he overtook. “You had to earn it more, with superlative saves.”

Torino's Andrea Belotti eventually beat the 38-year-old from the penalty spot, after the Juventus goalkeeper had chalked up 10 consecutive clean sheets in the league.

He did have four goals put past him in the Champions League, but there was little he could do to stop Bayern Munich's revival, and he did keep Pep Guardiola's side at bay for 70 minutes.

Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Mauricio Pochettino has rotated his full-backs at various times during the season, but Walker has still made 26 league starts throughout the campaign.

He created two goalscoring opportunities and made four interceptions in the North London derby, then managed five tackles and all three of his aerial duels won against relegation certainties Aston Villa.

The right-back is known for his pace and positioning, but his capability in the air is rarely highlighted due to his role in the side - although it certainly helps Tottenham's brilliant defensive unit.

He completed a good month when he provided the assist for Harry Kane in the win over Bournemouth and made 12 passes in the attacking third of the pitch.

Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid)

Atletico Madrid's centre-back partnership of Miranda and Diego Godin was an important component of Diego Simeone's side's title win in 2014.

However, the emergence of Jose Gimenez meant that Miranda was allowed to leave for Inter last summer, and the young Uruguayan has been superb when his fellow countryman Godin has missed games through injury.

The defender has a release clause of €65 million, which arch-rivals Real Madrid are keen to activate in the summer according to reports.

Gimenez completed all eight of his clearances in a 3-0 victory over Real Sociedad, plus four interceptions in the defeat to Sporting Gijon.

But his greatest display came in the 0-0 draw with PSV, as he made four tackles, nine interceptions and 10 ball recoveries, also scoring a penalty in the shootout.

Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)

The Borussia Dortmund captain has shown once again why he’s one of the top centre-backs in Europe when playing at his best.

He was man of the match in a back three in the stalemate with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, then impressed against Tottenham in the 3-0 Europa League victory just five days later.

Dortmund have conceded just one goal in the last five matches that Hummels has played in, with his organisational skills and ability to create attacks from the back vital to Thomas Tuchel’s team.

His reading of the game is excellent, while his positional sense ensures he makes numerous interceptions.

The defender is also good in the air, as illustrated with his four headed clearances and three defensive aerial duels won in the 2-0 victory over Mainz.

Christian Fuchs (Leicester)

Three consecutive clean sheets have kept Claudio Ranieri’s team at the top of the Premier League, with left-back Fuchs making a valuable contribution to the team's unbelievable rise.

He made five clearances and three tackles in the win at Vicarage Road against Watford, recovered the ball seven times and completed 41 passes at home against Newcastle, and then managed five tackles and created two chances at Selhurst Park as they defeated Crystal Palace.

“The team is the big star at Leicester and that’s the key to our success,” admitted the Austria captain.

Fuchs will be hoping to add more silverware to the German Super Cup that he acquired when in Germany at Schalke, with the soon-to-be 30-year-old still holding two more years on his contract at the King Power Stadium.

Adrien Rabiot (PSG)

The 20-year-old only started at Stamford Bridge due to Marco Verratti’s injury and was almost punished immediately when he gave the ball away in the opening exchanges.

However, the Frenchman put his shaky start behind him to slot home Zlatan Ibrahimovic's low cross and also made six tackles in the game to thwart Chelsea's attempted comeback.

He completed a fantastic week for PSG in the 9-0 thrashing of Troyes, with another goal and 53 completed passes.

There's plenty of improvement to come from the box-to-box midfielder, but his all-round capability means he could become one of Europe's top midfielders in the coming years.

The youngster isn’t getting carried away though: “I take things as they come, perhaps because I know that everything is fragile. So I do not plan too far ahead,” admitted the man who names Steven Gerrard as his hero.

Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)

The Bayern Munich midfielder has seen his campaign blighted by injuries once again, although he clearly doesn’t need to be fully match fit to show his worth.

Thiago has completed 90 minutes only twice in the last 31 days, but his impact in this period has still been spectacular.

The Brazil-born Spain international was the star performer with a brace as Pep Guardiola’s side destroyed Werder Bremen 5-0.

Thiago played only 19 minutes of extra time against Juventus, but still managed to score and pick up a yellow card in the dramatic Champions League resurgence.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

The Portuguese forward scored four goals against Celta Vigo, as Real Madrid won 7-1 in emphatic style.

Ronaldo's first two strikes were exceptional, as he scored from a free-kick with his second and then hit the crossbar just minutes later.

He surprisingly missed the target from the spot in the 4-0 victory over Sevilla, but did manage to hook Danilo's cross over the line to make amends.

The 31-year-old conjured seven goals in five appearances for los Blancos in March and provided two assists to take his tally to nine in the league for the season.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Messi got off to a flier this month with a hat-trick against Rayo Vallecano, which included him creating three chances and completing three take-ons.

It was a trademark goal from the Barcelona magician for his opener against Eibar, as he beat two defenders before slotting past goalkeeper Asier Riesgo.

He then won the penalty for his second when he wrong-footed former Wigan defender Ivan Ramis during another sublime display.

The Argentine netted seven goals and helped his side with three assists in the 6-0 thrashing of Getafe.

Neymar (Barcelona)

He might have missed the match with Eibar through suspension, but Neymar made up for lost time in the subsequent fixtures.

The Brazilian forward scored twice against Getafe, and showed off his full repertoire of tricks - including winning a penalty off a clumsy challenge from defender Emiliano Velazquez.

It was his performance against Arsenal in the Champions League, though, that illustrated his brilliance and ability.

He scored after 18 minutes of the match against the Gunners, contributed eight ball recoveries and created six chances for his side.

Neymar netted another goal in the 2-2 draw with Villarreal - his 21st league strike of the season, leaving him just one short of the career best he set last term.

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Kane now leads the Premier League goal charts after plundering five in March against Arsenal, Aston Villa and Bournemouth.

His runs between centre-backs and in the channels make it difficult for opposing teams that utilise a high defensive line, while his physical attributes and hold-up play ensure he's an asset with sides that sit deeper.

Kane links up fantastically with Dele Alli, which not only bodes well for Spurs but gives England some hope in France for the summer.

The striker provided the perfect tribute to Johan Cruyff in the 3-2 victory over Germany, as he expertly turned inside two defenders in a similar fashion to the Dutchman at his finest before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Manuel Neuer.

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