Tue, Oct 15, 2019

Welcome to the Soccer Star Power Index — a close look at the players who are making the most noise on the pitch. Note: Inclusion on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you’re capturing the soccer world’s attention. It’s also worth noting that this is not a list of rankings. The players listed are in no particular order as it pertains to the buzz they’re generating.   

Luis Suarez, Barcelona 

  • Road struggles continue in Champions League

It might sound crazy if you haven’t been watching Barcelona lately, but Luis Suarez has become nonexistent on the road in the Champions League. He’s one of the best strikers we’ve seen over the last couple decades, yet he’s gone four years without a goal away from Camp Nou in the Champions League — a competition he takes part in pretty much every season. You have to go all the way back to the 2015 Champions League final in Roma to find his last goal away from Barcelona — a 3-1 win over Juventus. It’s not quite a form thing because he scored two goals last weekend off the bench. He’s just in a slump away from home in the biggest competition, and it’s concerning for Barca. 

Angel Di Maria, PSG

  • Two goals against former club Real Madrid

That’s quite the way to fire back at your former club. Angel Di Maria had two goals against his former team Real Madrid on Wednesday, and boy was he sharp. Clinical with his two golden chances, he stepped up in a huge way in a game in which his current team was missing Neymar (suspension), Kylian Mbappe (calf), and Edinson Cavani (hip). His performance in PSG’s 3-0 win should earn him more playing time moving forward. And if you haven’t seen the second goal, take a look:

Eden Hazard, Real Madrid

  • No impact in Real’s 3-0 loss to PSG

It’s getting a bit concerning at this point. He hasn’t played all that much due to injury, but Eden Hazard hasn’t looked quite comfortable yet for Real Madrid. He lacked ideas on Wednesday in Paris. He was holding onto the ball way too long and just didn’t seem like himself. With so many guys around him that want to do it themselves like Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, right now the team feels like a collection of talent that just doesn’t quite work together as a team. It’s early, but it’s a troubling sign thus far. 

Mislav Orsic, Dinamo Zagreb

  • Three goals against Atalanta

The Croatian midfielder is in the best form of his career after a spell in Asia. After 13 goals last season in 44 games, he’s got seven goals in 10 games — three of which came against Atalanta in UCL on Wednesday. Three goals from an attacking midfielder in a game? Yeah, that doesn’t happen much. His big performance has his team sitting pretty when it comes to getting out of the group, and if he keeps it up, he’ll start to pop up on the radar of some bigger clubs. 

Erling Haland, Red Bull Salzburg

  • Hat trick in 6-2 win over Gent

This name may sound a bit familiar to you. Haland is the tall, sturdy young striker who scored nine goals against Honduras in a single game at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May. He plays for Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg, coached by American Jesse Marsch, who made history this week. Haland had three goals for his side in their dominant showing on Tuesday, and he’s got 17 goals in just nine games overall this season. At this rate, and seriously speaking, expect him to be linked with the biggest clubs in the world before long. The 19-year-old is simply on fire.

Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund

  • Missed key penalty in draw against Barcelona

Dortmund really should have beaten Barca. They had the chances, Reus included. He had a penalty saved by fellow German Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, one that if he had followed up a half a second early, he could have put the rebound away. When you look at it from the outside, a draw against Barca isn’t a bad result when you also consider that Inter Milan, who is also in the group, drew a game against Slavia Prague it was expected to win. But if this team struggles against Inter Milan, this may be the result that they let slip that could have gotten them into the next round.

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