Fantasy Football: Group stage heroes

UEFA.com looks at the numbers to see which players have done well in the group stage in years gone by.

Bayern's Robert Lewandowski scored eight times in last season's group stage
Bayern's Robert Lewandowski scored eight times in last season's group stage ©AFP/Getty Images

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.

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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. 

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