Pitchside Europe

European Team of the Week: December 14-16

Lionel Messi makes a welcome return to our European Team of the Week after reaching a remarkable tally of 90 goals for the calendar year.

Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday night as the Catalans took a big step towards reclaiming their Liga title.

He is joined in the Team of the Week by team-mates Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, with Malaga's Martin Demichelis, Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao and Athletic Bilbao's Gorka Iraizoz completing a strong Liga contingent.

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo takes pride of place in midfield after scoring a gorgeous free-kick in a 3-0 win over Atalanta, but he is the only representative from Serie A.