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10 Best-Performing Players in the Champions League in 2023/24

Written by on May 2, 2024

Highlights

  • The Champions League this season has seen variety in top performers from different clubs, breaking the usual pattern.
  • Exciting semi-final matchups include Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich and PSG vs Borussia Dortmund as we await a winner.
  • Up to this point in the competition, a number of star names have shone, showcasing top skills on the big stage.



It has been one of the most enjoyable and gripping Champions League campaigns for several seasons. European giants such as Manchester United, Sevilla and AC Milan all crashed out in the group stages before high-scoring knockout ties entertained us such as Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City v Real Madrid.

Then there were four. 14-time champions, Real Madrid, find themselves in their fourth consecutive semi-final and face up against a Bayern Munich side who had not reached this stage of the competition for four years. It is PSG’s first semi-final since 2020/21 and their opponent Borussia Dortmund’s first for 11 years – since they were runners-up to Bayern at Wembley in 2012/13.


And what about this season’s stand-out players? In years gone by, the best-performing players all came from the same two or three teams, but this season we have seen more variety than ever before. Indeed, the top 10 players, ranked on their WhoScored rating for their displays in the Champions League, represent an incredible seven different clubs. Let’s take a look at who has been top of the class.

Best performing players in the UEFA Champions League this season

Ranking

Player

Club

Minutes played

WhoScored average rating

1

Antoine Griezmann

Atletico Madrid

824

7.73

2

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid

820

7.71

3

Phil Foden

Man City

685

7.70

4

Vinicius Junior

Real Madrid

722

7.70

5

Mikel Merino

Real Sociedad

630

7.67

6

Kylian Mbappe

PSG

990

7.64

7

Joao Cancelo

Barcelona

811

7.61

8

Julian Alvarez

Man City

279

7.58

9

Galeno

Porto

654

7.55

10

Raphinha

Barcelona

474

7.51



10 Raphinha

Barcelona

Pipping Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka to 10th place on our list by just 0.01 in rating is Barcelona and Brazil wide man Raphinha. The 27-year-old has been one of Barca’s most consistent performers since signing with the Catalan club in 2022 after starring in a struggling, and eventually relegated, Leeds United team.

The Brazilian played in 36 of 38 matches in his first season in Spain as Xavi Hernandez’ side won La Liga. He has continued his form into this season too, scoring his first-ever Champions League goal in a brace against PSG in the quarter-finals, a performance that saw him deservedly named Man of the Match. Sadly for him, his side wouldn’t make it any further in the competition – losing the return leg at home.


9 Galeno

Porto

Galeno celebrates scoring against Arsenal

Perhaps the least well-known name on this list is fellow Brazilian, Galeno, who has had a season to remember, for both club and country. The stylish left-winger first arrived in Portugal from his native Brazil in 2016, initially joining Porto’s B team. However, Galeno was forced to take the long route to starring in their first team, twice impressing out on loan before permanently joining Braga where he really began to make a name for himself.


Having re-joined Porto last summer, he finally got his chance to impress in Europe’s elite competition, scoring his first Champions League goal against Bayer Leverkusen before netting a brace against Shakhtar Donetsk to ensure Porto’s place in the knockouts. He then scored a 94th-minute winner vs Arsenal in the first leg of the last 16 but this wasn’t enough as his team lost the tie on penalties.

8 Julian Alvarez

Manchester City

Julian Alvarez

The player within the top ten to have played the fewest minutes with five of his seven Champions League appearances coming from the bench, Man City’s Julian Alvarez has embraced more of a super-sub role this season under Pep Guardiola. That isn’t to say the Argentine has been ineffective, however, with the diminutive second striker scoring five and registering two assists in as many appearances, averaging a goal every 55.8 minutes.


With injuries to Kevin De Bruyne among others, Alvarez established himself as one of City’s most important players at the beginning of the 2023/24 season. Also, in part due to his performances for his country, the former River Plate man finished 7th in the 2023 Ballon d’Or rankings, but in recent weeks has seen his game time limited. However, at just 24, the versatile attacker has his best years ahead of him – even if his side weren’t able to successful win back-to-back Champions League titles.

7 Joao Cancelo

Barcelona

Joao Cancelo


Joao Cancelo has quietly enjoyed an impressive season on loan at Barcelona. It had seemed like his career at the top level had maybe run its course after falling out with Guardiola at Man City and failing to impress enough at Bayern for the Bavarian club to make his loan permanent.

That meant a second successive spell away from the Citizens, and whilst there remain question marks over his defensive contribution, Cancelo has found a home as an inverted left-back under Xavi. The Portuguese international has especially proven his worth in the Champions League, scoring and assisting in a 2-1 win over Porto to ensure Barca’s progression into the knockout phase. Although his entry on this list may come as a surprise as it was his poor challenge vs PSG which allowed Kylian Mbappe to net from the penalty spot and turn the tie around.

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6 Kylian Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain

Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe


What more can be said about Kylian Mbappe? In what is almost certainly his last season in the French capital before making the long-awaited switch to Real Madrid, Mbappe could take PSG all the way to UCL glory. That would be some story.

The 25-year-old has had a remarkable Champions League campaign to date, currently sitting as the competition’s joint top scorer with eight goals, having scored a brace in the away legs of both the round of 16 and the quarter-finals – he’s also the third-fastest player in the competition. Should Les Parisiens overturn their 1-0 deficit from the first leg against Borussia Dortmund to reach just their second Champions League final, the former Monaco-man will surely be central in any success.


5 Mikel Merino

Real Sociedad

Mikel Merino

Real Sociedad midfielder, Mikel Merino, has established himself as one of La Liga’s most consistent players of the last five years. He is a name likely most familiar to English supporters for his brief time at Newcastle United, as a then-21-year-old still very much finding his feet in the professional game.

It was from the Magpies that Merino joined Sociedad, for whom he has gone to make 238 appearances. The Spaniard was key in securing Champions League football La Real this term, recognised in his inclusion in the 2022/23 La Liga Team of the Season. It is the club’s fifth ever season competing in the European Cup or Champions League and just the third time they have progressed beyond the group stages.


4 Vinicius Junior

Real Madrid

Vinicius Jr. celebrates for Real Madrid

If Cristiano Ronaldo is the King of the Champions League, then Real Madrid may just have an heir to the throne. Vinicius Junior is a player of dazzling skill and electric movement. He is also a player made for the big occasions, with his brace on Tuesday night against Bayern just the latest example.

Since netting his first in the competition in November 2019, ‘Vini Jr’ has scored 20 goals and assisted 22 in just 54 Champions League appearances, with his crowning moment to date being his strike in a 1-0 victory against Liverpool in the 2022 final which gave Real Madrid their 14th Champions League. Still only 23, the Brazilian’s five goals and four assists in the competition this term could well prove pivotal in Los Blancos’ quest for number 15.


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3 Phil Foden

Manchester City

Phil Foden in action against Chelsea

Although Man City were unable to retain the club’s first-ever Champions League trophy, exiting on penalties to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, it has still been a campaign to remember, both collectively, and also, for Phil Foden, individually.

Foden, who turns 24 later this month, has enjoyed his best form in front of goal of his career, netting 24 times whilst still managing 10 assists, eleven more goal contributions than his total for 2022/23, nine more than 2021/22 and eight more than 2021/22. The England international has produced the goods in key moments too, firing into the top corner from a distance away to Real Madrid in a thrilling 3-3 draw, but it ultimately wasn’t to be.


2 Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid

Jude Bellingham in action

Another exciting young Englishman is in at number two, Jude Bellingham. Probably the most spoken-about player in 2023/24, and for good reason too. The 20-year-old has produced one of the greatest debut seasons in Spanish football history, taking La Liga by storm and helping bring the title back to Real Madrid.

Playing in a more advanced midfield role, the Birmingham City academy graduate has netted 21 goals and registered 10 assists in 37 matches in all competitions. Whilst he hasn’t quite hit the same goalscoring heights in recent weeks, Bellingham scored against all three group-stage opponents and, as a result, will be regarded as a big reason for any success Los Blancos may have this season in their favourite competition.


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1 Antoine Griezmann

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann

We cross to the other side of Madrid for the highest-rated player in the Champions League this season, Antoine Griezmann. It is rare to find a player gifted in equal part with the match intelligence, goal-scoring and creative abilities of the Frenchman which has made him one of the most well-rounded and respected players of his generation.

An icon of Spanish football and a hero to the supporters of Atletico Madrid, Griezmann has enjoyed another historic individual campaign, becoming the club’s all-time leading goal scorer, fittingly with a goal against city rivals Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final. The 33-year-old has been superb this Champions League campaign too, scoring against every team Atleti have faced except Borussia Dortmund who knocked Diego Simeone’s side out of the competition – meaning the Frenchman is still yet to win the tournament in his career.


All data taken from WhoScored (as of 02/05/24).

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