As the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League gears up for matchday one, UEFA.com singles out players who have historically performed well in the group stage.
Cristiano Ronaldo (€11.5m) – Juventus
The leading scorer in UEFA Champions League history, Ronaldo has run up an incredible 126 goals in 162 matches for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, with 47.6% coming during the group stage. His best group performance came in 2015/16, when the Portuguese hitman found the net a record 11 times with Madrid; two years later, in 2017/18, Ronaldo set another competition best in becoming the first player to score in all six group matches.
Lionel Messi (€11.5m) – Barcelona
Hot on Ronaldo’s heels is Messi. Second in the all-time UEFA Champions League scorers’ list, the Argentinian has 112 goals in 135 appearances – all for Barcelona. The group stage has yielded 66 goals, the current record and five ahead of Ronaldo. Messi also ranks higher than Ronaldo in group stage #UCLfantasy points over the past three seasons with 116 #UCLfantasy points in that time, more than any other player, at an average of just under 39 points each season; that works out at 6.44 points per appearance.
Neymar (€11.5m) – Paris
Over the past three seasons, Neymar has been arguably the most consistent group stage player in #UCLfantasy. The Brazilian is the only player to register 33 group stage points or more in each of the last three seasons, picking up a total of 114 Fantasy points in that period. This consistency is primarily due to his threat as both a goalscorer and a creator. Over the last three seasons, Neymar has registered 13 goals and 12 assists, while also securing no fewer than seven attacking returns per season in the group stage.
Edinson Cavani (€9.0m) – Paris
Despite his excellent group record over the last three years, Cavani is a reasonable priced this season. While 2018/19 brought only two goals, the Uruguayan still managed 24 points at an average of 4.00 per appearance. Prior to last year, Cavani had been one of the stand-out #UCLfantasy players having recorded 41 group stage points in both 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons. During those two years, Cavani found the net a combined 12 times, and he could prove a bargain if he can rediscover that form.
Robert Lewandowski (€10.5m) – Bayern
Has scored 16 group goals in the last three seasons, including eight in 2018/19 – more than any other player, making him the top scorer in #UCLfantasy last season after matchday six. Currently sixth in the all-time UEFA Champions League scoring charts, Lewandowski will be looking to climb the rankings with another strong showing this time round.