FedEx Performance Zone, players to watch this season | UEFA Champions League
One of the exciting new features of last season’s UEFA Champions League was the FedEx Performance Zone. Who will now be able to follow in the footsteps of the leader of the inaugural classification, Karim Benzema?
Player performance is tracked throughout the competition, with their data collected by a specially designed algorithm and then ranked based on their performance on each day.
Some points such as those for a goal scored, a decisive pass, ball recovery, are the same for each player but certain data are considered specific to each position: for example, not conceding a goal, blocking a shot, succeeding in a tackle are considered key stats for a defender, while shots, successful passes are more important data for midfielders and forwards.
On each day played by a player, points are awarded and added to their previous results in the competition, which means that whoever accumulates the most points at the end of the season, finishes at the top of the ranking. The performances acquired during the group stage have the same weight in the calculation while those achieved during the following rounds count more.
UEFA.com has chosen six players to watch at the FedEx Performance Zone.
The Real Madrid striker topped the standings thanks to his 15 goals (385 points) scored during the campaign. His big lead in the standings (270.5 points) was thanks to the fact that 10 of his 15 goals came in the knockout stage – a goal in the round of 16 brought 22.5 points, in the quarter-finals 30 points and in the semi-finals 37.5 points due to their greater importance. His 23 shots on target during the tournament, yielding 177.5 points, were also key in the performance of a 34-year-old forward who seems to be improving with age. What if he kept his title?
The talented Colombian player scored two goals (30 points) in the group stage with Porto and finished seventh in the standings at the end of the season thanks to his performances with Liverpool, which he joined in January. Two other goals (67.5 points), an assist (18 points), and a high level of passing accuracy in the quarters and semis (39 points), gave him 258 points in four games, more than half of his total for the season (427.5 points). A full season at Anfield could push those numbers up.
Only Sebastien Haller and Antony scored more points for Ajax last season, but their departure means that now everything will depend on Berghuis and newcomer Steven Bergwijn. Three goals (45 points) and one assist (9 points) in the group stage marked a strong start for the 30-year-old, as he netted points in each of his eight appearances for the passing accuracy (42 points in total). The Dutch international finished with 190.5 points last season, expect that score to be higher this year with his new responsibilities.
Leipzig finished third in their group but Nkunku could have taken the club to the knockout stage. He splashed the first day with a hat-trick (45 points) on the lawn of Manchester City, thus winning a total of 57 points on this match, before scoring three other goals (45 points) in the other meetings of the group. The points he scored for passing accuracy in four of the six games (24 points in total) show that he has more to his game than his finishing skills.
Inter offered a good resistance to Liverpool in the round of 16, few teams being able to leave Anfield with preserved cages (12 points). Central defender Milan Škriniar was essential in this performance as well as in the group stage, playing every minute of his team’s eight matches (45 points in total). He is the highest-ranked Italian club player, his two best totals having come against the Reds – 14 digs (21 points), 11 clearance (16.5 points), three tackles (12 points) and three blocked shots (six points) for a total of 79.5 points accumulated over these two matches.
The English midfielder is the highest ranked last season among the youngest players. Dortmund’s campaign lasted just six games, but it was enough for Bellingham to register one goal (15 points) and three assists (27 points). His passing accuracy helped him pick up points in each of the six matches played (39 in total) and his 24 balls recovered (24 points) show that the 19-year-old has more than one string to his bow .
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