The UEFA Champions League, with ease put, is the finest club soccer competition on the earth. Thirty-two teams — together with the properly 4 from England, Germany, Italy and Spain last season, and the accurate three from France — will inaugurate their European campaigns on Sept. 18 or 19.
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The eight corporations, and opening-circular matchups, have been printed last week. And ESPN’s new fable soccer game is up and working!
here’s a look at some key players for the upcoming season:
Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus
The Portuguese celeb led precise Madrid to their third straight Champions League trophy remaining season, scoring 15 dreams in the technique — four more than some other participant — and became the fable elements chief as well. however he left Madrid for the Italian champions, Juventus, this summer time, which throws a wrinkle in forecasting his production in 2018-19.
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- 1 relatedRonaldo has didn’t score a goal in his first three games with Juve, but it surely’s not for lack of making an attempt — he is already attempted 23 pictures, six greater than another participant in Serie A. Juve had been made the 2d favorite to assume the Champions League through many bookmakers, so Ronaldo should still appreciate an extra deep run as a minimum, and be at or near the appropriate of the fable aspects desk.
Benjamin Mendy Manchester metropolis
The favorites to consume the Champions League are Manchester city, the defending English champions. however they handiest advanced to the quarterfinals final 12 months, where they have been knocked out via Premier League opponents Liverpool. and they’ve under no circumstances won this competitors, handiest attaining the semifinals as soon as, three years ago.
That being spoke of, Man metropolis ran away from the pack last season, winning the Premier League with the aid of 19 elements and surroundings records for total features one hundred and dreams scored 106 among other issues. they’re heavy favorites to preserve their title, and have regarded very effective once more thus far, although they did drop aspects in a 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Mendy missed most of closing season as a result of harm, but already has four assists in four games and is probably going to be one of the vital top-scoring defenders in delusion features this season, both domestically and in Europe.
Mohamed Salah Liverpool
The Egyptian changed into the breakout megastar in England and Europe last 12 months, leading the Premier League with 32 dreams in his first season with Liverpool, and also leading his new membership to the Champions League final. they may be anticipated to push Man city shut in 2018-19, and also make yet another deep run in Europe.
Salah has two dreams and an help in Liverpool’s first four games this season, all victories. however the other two participants of Liverpool’s front three are additionally huge delusion property. Sadio Mane changed into ranked fourth ordinary in Champions League delusion points final season, appropriate behind Salah, and has already scored four desires this season. And Roberto Firmino, who scored his first intention closing weekend, scored as many Champions League desires as Salah ultimate season eleven and finished ahead of him in fantasy points — second ordinary, at the back of handiest Ronaldo.
Lionel Messi Barcelona
it be extraordinary to peer Messi now not at the appropriate of any list, however he simplest finished fifth in Champions League fantasy aspects remaining season, at the back of Ronaldo and the Liverpool trio. there is a simple rationalization, though — Barcelona have been upset in the quarterfinals by way of Roma.
Messi was a ways and away the premier player in Spain remaining season, scoring 34 goals — eight more than Ronaldo in second place — and additionally tying for the league lead in assists with 12. He finished with 892.9 fantasy facets — nearly 300 more than every other player in La Liga! Messi already has 4 desires and two assists in Barcelona’s first three games this 12 months, and will be a delusion famous person for as long as Barcelona survives in Europe.
Sergio Ramos precise Madrid
The defending European champions surprised many by way of now not going out and signing an additional galactico to change Ronaldo. in its place, they’re practically promoting from inside — counting on a few avid gamers to decide upon up the scoring load.
Marcelo is precise Madrid’s desirable returnee in terms of Champions League delusion facets — he comprehensive 11th average last season. however I’ve bought my eye on one other Madrid defender this yr — Sergio Ramos. The club captain comprehensive a little bit ahead of Marcelo in La Liga fable points closing season, and with Ronaldo gone, Ramos is now taking penalty kicks. He scored one in opposition t Leganes last weekend, and also scored one towards Girona the week before. this can enhance his value vastly if it continues.
Edin Dzeko Roma
How did Roma make it the entire strategy to the Champions League semifinals remaining season, together with knocking off Barcelona within the method? well, Dzeko is one big reason. the previous Manchester city ahead scored eight goals in 12 games, including a purpose in every leg in opposition t Barca, and accomplished sixth typical in Champions League myth features.
Dzeko scored a excellent intention in Roma’s season-opening prefer over Torino, had an aid the following week, and thru three rounds is 2d in Serie A in pictures, behind handiest Ronaldo. but it surely’s also worth noting that Inter Milan ahead Mauro Icardi scored 29 league goals remaining season, 13 more than Dzeko, and comprehensive sixth ordinary in delusion points, eight areas forward of Dzeko. Inter weren’t in the Champions League remaining season, but can be this 12 months.
Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich
Bayern gained the Bundesliga closing season for the sixth yr in a row, and additionally superior to the Champions League semifinals, where they fell through one aim on aggregate to actual Madrid. This 12 months’s Bundesliga season simplest began two weeks in the past, however the defending champs are off to a great start, with wins over Hoffenheim and Stuttgart. Lewandowski already has two goals and an support.
Lewandowski scored 29 league goals closing season, 14 greater than some other participant, and entire tops in fantasy points as well. however his form wasn’t essentially pretty much as good in Europe. Lewandowski handiest scored 5 desires in 11 Champions League games, and accomplished tied for 14th in delusion aspects.
Bayern have been the best German team to improve to the knockout rounds final season. Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Hoffenheim will also participate at the least within the neighborhood degrees this year. Naldo, a significant defender for Schalke, finished 2nd average in Bundesliga fable points — but he obtained a large enhance from scoring seven desires, after scoring just one league aim the previous two seasons combined. Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric had 13 goals and 6 assists and comprehensive fourth amongst outfield gamers in delusion aspects. Dortmund’s gold standard delusion performer, complete facets-sensible, became imperative defender Sokratis Papastathopoulous, who comprehensive most effective 34th among outfield avid gamers and has moved on to Arsenal.
Neymar Paris Saint-Germain
The Brazilian complete ninth overall in Champions League myth facets closing season, however that PSG have been knocked out through real Madrid within the circular of sixteen, so he only bought to play in seven video games. Neymar averaged 23.13 fable elements per video game, rating him 2nd at the back of most effective Ronaldo amongst gamers who participated within the knockout rounds.
he’s off to a flying begin this 12 months as well, with 4 dreams and an help in PSG’s first 4 games. however Ligue 1 is the weakest of the 5 main European leagues, and Neymar’s existing membership has in no way advanced past the quarterfinals in the Champions League.
Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham also fell within the circular of 16 closing season, dropping by way of one goal on combination towards Juventus. but Kane was simply as good in Europe as he was in England. He scored 30 Premier League dreams, 2d handiest to Salah, and comprehensive third overall in fable elements. And he had seven goals and two assists in seven Champions League video games.
Kane famously had certainly not scored a Premier League purpose in August before this season, however he is already scored two in Tottenham’s first 4 games this yr. And the 25-year-old’s obtained a proven track listing, having scored 29 league desires in 2016-17, and 25 the season earlier than that.
David De Gea Manchester United
Jose Mourinho’s crew become knocked out by Sevilla in the round of 16 final season, who went on to simplest finish seventh in La Liga. Man United performed stronger domestically, managing to qualify for the Champions League once again by way of finishing 2nd in the Premier League. however they’re off to a poor begin this year, dropping 3-2 at Brighton and 3-0 at home to Tottenham in two of their first four games.
It speaks volumes when your standout performer, in usual terms and from a fable standpoint, is a goalkeeper. however David De Gea is the greatest player Man United’s received at the moment. He become the true Premier League goalkeeper when it comes to fantasy aspects last season, and additionally the top Champions League goalkeeper when it comes to delusion elements per online game.
Dani Parejo Valencia
Atletico Madrid ahead Antoine Griezmann complete just a little forward of Parejo in La Liga myth points final season – fifth average among outfield avid gamers, two spots in entrance. but we’re highlighting Parejo as a result of he’s a midfielder, and was the 2d-choicest fable midfielder in Spain remaining season behind best Illarramendi of real Sociedad.
Valencia weren’t in the Champions League last 12 months, however earned a section by way of completing a powerful fourth in La Liga, just three elements at the back of real Madrid. Parejo is never super-flashy — he had seven goals and seven assists final season — but was fourth within the league in chances created and fifth in achieved passes.
Switching countries, two midfielders comprehensive within the precise 5 in fable aspects in England ultimate season: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester metropolis second, and Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur fourth. however De Bruyne is out for as a minimum the next couple months because of injury, and Eriksen is off to a relatively slow initiate, with out a desires and one support in four games.
It become the equal case in Italy last season, with Paulo Dybala of Juventus completing fourth in fable points, and Ivan Perisic of Inter Milan fifth. Perisic has two desires and an assist in Inter’s first three games of the season, but Dybala hasn’t begun Juve’s past two games, as supervisor Massimiliano Allegri tries to discover a formation that most closely fits Ronaldo.
Lorenzo Insigne Napoli
Napoli fell simply short of toppling Juventus final season, finishing four aspects behind, but their closing total of ninety one aspects changed into a list volume for a Serie A runner-up. And winger Lorenzo Insigne topped the fantasy facets desk with the aid of a ways, finishing greater than eighty facets ahead of some other participant. He only scored eight goals, however had 11 assists, led the league in options created, and became sixth in accomplished passes.
They didn’t get out of the neighborhood stage in the Champions League last season, and they lost supervisor Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea. but new boss Carlo Ancelotti has received the Champions League thrice, and Napoli won their first two video games, including an Insigne goal within the first game, despite the fact they misplaced 3-0 to Sampdoria remaining weekend.
Memphis Depay Lyon
the former Manchester United castoff became super final season for Lyon, who comprehensive in third area in France – two points behind Monaco and 15 behind PSG. Depay had 19 desires and 13 assists, and complete 2nd usual in Ligue 1 fantasy facets.
Lyon have two wins and two defeats in their first four games this season. Depay only has one intention and one support, however he leads the league in options created. It looks like Depay’s headed for an extra huge 12 months, and it’ll be his first opportunity to play in the Champions League due to the fact the 2015-sixteen season, when he scored three goals in eight video games for Man United.
Monaco comprehensive above Lyon final season, but their highest quality fable performer — midfielder Rony Lopes 15 dreams, 5 assists — simplest entire 17th among outfield gamers in Ligue 1 myth features.