No Ronaldo or Messi: The highest-rated 2021/22 Champions League XI

The 2021/22 Champions League group stage is officially over

The 2021/22 Champions League group stage has finally concluded.

Villarreal’s 3-2 victory over Atalanta on Thursday evening in a delayed match saw the Spanish side become the 16th and final team to reach the knockout stage.

Unai Emery’s team joined Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, Benfica, Red Bull Salzburg and Chelsea as the runner-ups.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Lille and Juventus all progressed to the last-16 as group winners.

So with the competition now at the start of a lengthy break until February 2022, it’s time to take a look at the top performers in the 2021/22 Champions League thus far.

Sebastien Haller (10 goals), Robert Lewandowski (9 goals), Mohamed Salah (7 goals), Christopher Nkunku (7 goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (6 goals) are the five leading scorers from the group stage.

Lewandowski with Bayern

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However, only three members of that quintet feature in WhoScored‘s highest-rated XI and it’s the two Premier League boys, Salah and Ronaldo, who miss out.

So who are in the superstar duo’s place?

Well, many would assume that Lionel Messi would occupy the right-wing spot in the absence of Salah after his five goals in five appearances for PSG, but that’s not the case.

GMS Giveaway


City’s Riyad Mahrez, who scored five in six games, takes that position, with Bayern’s Leroy Sane out on the other flank.

Take a look at the XI in full here…

WhoScored’s highest-rated 2021/22 Champions League XI

WhoScored's XI

Mahrez and Joao Cancelo are the only two representatives from Premier League teams, which is a rather huge shock – especially when you remember that Liverpool won all six of their matches.

However, we’re certainly not going to argue with WhoScored’s complex algorithms for rating footballers.

City, Bayern and Sporting are the three teams to have more than one player in the XI and Sebastien Haller claims the prestigious prize of being the highest-rated player of all from the group stage.

Haller with Ajax

You simply cannot argue with the Ajax man’s place at the top of the pile either.

Haller is only the fourth player to reach double figures for goals in a Champions League group stage campaign and he is also the fastest to reach the milestone of 10 goals, achieving it in just six games.

Well played, Sebastien.

Quiz: The ultimate 2021/22 Champions League quiz – a question on each club

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In 2011, Man City played which club in their first ever CL game?

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