Eight Champions League players to watch, including Diaz, Vinicius and Locatelli

Mark Carey Feb 14, 2022 21
Pump up the volume and blast that Handel-inspired anthem from your speakers, ladies and gentlemen, because the Champions League is back.

It might have taken two attempts to complete the draw but the round of 16 has certainly pulled out some exciting ties, with European heavyweights going head-to-head.

But away from the usual suspects like Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski, who are some of the other players to look out for?

The Athletic has picked eight players who are enjoying great campaigns this season and will be hoping to carry that form into the knockout stages…

Sebastien Haller (Ajax)

Only three teams won all six of their group games — Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Erik ten Hag’s Ajax.

Their tally of 20 goals was bettered only by Bayern on their way to the knockout stages, as Ajax comfortably topped Group C ahead of Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund and Besiktas.

Exactly half of those 20 goals were from the former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller. The 27-year-old leads the scoring charts in this season’s competition and is only the second player to score in every group game, after