Following the first rounds of the the group stages during the 2015/16 Champions League season, soccer’s most prestigious yearly competition is shaping up to be one to feast our eyes on. The talent on Europe’s pitches is proving to be abundant despite the injuries which have left several top players such as Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, and Sergio Aguero unable to play.
Ticketbis, an international fan-to-fan ticket selling platform, predicts that this year’s tournament will draw more fans from outside of Europe than ever before. So far, the tendency is proving true, at least for Ticketbis, whose ticket sales outside of Europe account for 15% of their total sales for the Champions League group stages compared to 10% at the same stage of the competition in 2014. However, when it comes to European soccer’s international fan base, it is safe to say that one of the most important factors driving the fans to the ancient continent are the stars on the field. Here are the top five players to watch during this Champions League season.
- Robert Lewandowski. Just a month ago, the Polish national not only managed to snatch the win for Bayern Munich against domestic opponent Wolfsburg, but did so whilst achieving four Guinness world records. The striker scored five goals in only nine minutes. Several news stations referred to his performance as “absolutely unbelievable” and “something that has never been seen before.” Now, all eyes are on Lewandowski.
- Cristiano Ronaldo. Recognition of his talent is nothing new, but the Real player, who recently won his fourth “Golden Shoe ” for being the leading scorer of Europe’s top division leagues, seems to be going down the same path this season. So far, during the competition he’s scored five goals in two games. The Portuguese striker is on a roll, having already beat Raul Gonzalez’s record of 323 goals in 741 games, achieving the same number of goals in only 308 games claiming the title of top scorer in Real Madrid’s history.
- Neymar, Luis Suarez and Messi. These three Barcelona teammates have become inseparable in the locker room and, more importantly, on the field. Claimed by many as the greatest front three of all time, the trio had a combined 122 goals last season which helped Barca win the Treble, the highest honour in European soccer. That’s enough to make any soccer fan drool over some more Barcelona action this Champions League season. The next month will be a test for Neymar and Suarez who must manage without their beloved Messi while he recovers from a serious knee injury, but many are confident that his return will lead to more fantastic plays from the dream team.