Sunday, May 26, 2024

Bellingham, Mbappe, Sancho & Musiala: The European Starlets That Will Be Looking To Steal The Champions League Headlines This Week

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With Manchester City relinquishing their maiden Champions League crown a fortnight ago, it appears that Europe’s most prized piece of silverware is firmly hanging in the balance.

Although the Premier League might not have any representation left in this year’s tournament, the semi-finals will get underway on Tuesday night when Bayern Munich welcome Real Madrid to the Allianz for what is rightfully billed as a mouth-watering affair.

With Borussia Dortmund meeting French icons PSG in the other semi-final on Wednesday, a host of Europe’s hottest young starlets will steal centre stage in midweek.

Ahead of a stacked semi-final schedule over the next week, we have taken a look at four of the European superstars that could play a leading role.

Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid

Completing an historic £100million switch from Borussia Dortmund last summer, few would have expected Jude Bellingham’s astonishing start to life in the Spanish capital.

Continuing to receive a string of plaudits from across the continent and already establishing himself as Los Blancos’ new leading talisman, the one-time Birmingham starlet has broken a string of records this season.

Along with notching 17 La Liga strikes this year and sat in the driving seat to claim a famous Golden Boot in his first campaign among Spain’s elite, the 20-year-old has skyrocketed himself into superstardom.

Becoming the first La Liga player at the start of April to reach double figures in both goals and assists this season, Bellingham has also continued to shine while on the Champions League stage.

Registering eight goals contributions in as many European showdowns this year, the 29-cap international is also pencilled in as a leading Ballon d’Or contender and could be the first English player since Michael Owen in 2001 to lift the award.

Kylian Mbappe – PSG

Although it might have not been officially confirmed that Kylian Mbappe will be leaving the French capital this summer, PSG’s record-breaking icon has continued on yet another remarkable flurry this season.

While it might appear that the future Ballon d’Or winner will be completing a blockbuster move to Real Madrid, Mbappe has registered 42 goals across all competitions this year and has only further cemented his spot as the new poster boy of European football.

Spearheading PSG’s dramatic second-leg comeback away at Barcelona on April 16th and leaving Catalonia with a famous brace, the 25-year-old has notched eight goals in his 10 Champions League appearances this season.

Leading the chase to claim the Champions League Golden Boot this year, Mbappe is averaging a European goal every 113 minutes and is desperate to sign off his seven-year stay in Paris in the most memorable of fashion next month.

With PSG’s hierarchy once again making it clear that a maiden Champions League crown is their number-one priority, there is no doubt that their record-breaking talisman will have to play more than a leading role.

Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund

At the heart of a public feud with Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag this season, Jadon Sancho had made it abundantly clear that he was desperate to secure a January switch away from the Premier League heavyweights.

Although the England international might have moved to Old Trafford in July 2021 for a fee in the region of £73million, Sancho drastically struggled to find any kind of fluidity in the red half of Manchester.

However, while the one-time Manchester City academy star might have initially struggled to find his feet after rejoining Borussia Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the season back in January, the 24-year-old appears to be getting back to his best.

Producing five goal contributions across all competitions since returning to rural Germany, Sancho is clearly enjoying life with Edin Terzic’s side and the Champions League semi-finalists are desperate to make his return a permanent one this summer.

Expected to play a leading role when PSG come to town on Wednesday night, the 23-cap international could even be dreaming of the chance to mount a late charge for Gareth Southgate’s EURO 24 squad.

Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich

While England skipper Harry Kane might have enjoyed a record-breaking romp since completing a £100million switch from Tottenham last summer, Bayern Munich’s attacking talisman is not the only superstar that has stolen most of their headlines this season.

Although Jamal Musiala might have missed back-to-back Bundesliga appearances over the past week after dealing with a recent Achilles tendon issue, the Germany international has returned to first-team training and is expected to make a crucial return on Tuesday night.

Enjoying what has been a sensational campaign at the Allianz this season and now regarded as one of world football’s hottest young prospects, the one-time Chelsea schoolboy finds his stock at a red-hot high.

Forming what has become a lethal partnership with Kane and notching 12 goals across all competitions, it is no secret that Musiala is attracting plenty of interest ahead of the summer transfer window.

With the 21-year-old reportedly not inching any closer to signing a new contract extension with Thomas Tuchel’s side, there has been continued speculation that the likes of Manchester City are a huge admirer of the 27-cap international.


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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