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Most Disappointing Players in 2021-22 Champions League

Mon 04 April 2022 | 10:30

Champions League has always been a scene for top players to show their elite difference compared to other top players. However, every year some top players disappoint the fans. In the most disappointing players in 2021-22 Champions League, you read the latest of them.

From Patrick Kluivert with Ajax to Kylian Mbappe, There’s no bigger stage in club football than the Uefa Champions League has been a stage to embrace the top peak of football, and toppest of the players. The tournament has been a cornerstone for top players who showed their difference in class from other top players, likes of Ronaldo, Mbappe, and Messi. This season, Madrid knocked out Paris Saint-Germain to reach the last eight of the competition, finding out Chelsea as their quarter-final opponent. Meanwhile, Atlético are going through one of their periodic crises of identity as they eliminated Manchester United to face the horrifying Manchester City. The other semi-finals are Benfica against Liverpool and Villarreal versus Bayern Munich.

Ironically, every year there are also top players who become noticed for disappointing performances, players who are supposed to lift their teams up to the next level of the tournament, but not only fail in that, but grew infamy for themselves. The tournament, like

FIFA World Cup

, can lift players, but also ruin their careers. Karius’ infamous performance against Real Madrid in the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League can be an example of the named effect as many would consider Liverpool’s German goalkeeper in their own list of the top 5 most disappointing players of the Champions League, building up a whole worst Champions League team in the history for themselves. However, some of these players somehow end up lifting the trophy, there always are lucky ones, that’s why a list of the top 10 worst players to win the Champions League can be quite fascinating. However, that is not the purpose of this article. Here, we dig through players who disappointed the football lovers the most this year, players who failed to live up to their promises, disappointed the fans, and help us build up the following article.

Everything You Should Know About Most Disappointing Players in 2021-22 Champions League

Listing the best candidates for the worst Champions League team at the most important club scene of the season, we won’t limit the list to the top 5 most disappointing players of the Champions League as we delve into details through the most disappointing players in 2021-22 Champions League. Statically concerned, some might even go up winning the tournament as there has always been a list of top 10 worst players to win the Champions League.

- Marc-André ter Stegen

  • Club:

    Barcelona

  • Age:

    29

  • Post:

    Goalkeeper

  • Nationality:

    Germany

The first entry in our list of the most disappointing players in 2021-22 Champions League is Barcelona’s German goalkeeper, ter Stegen, who also had a horrific season in La Liga. Conceding 9 goals in 6 Champions League matches and keeping only two clean-sheets against Dynamo, conceding three 3-0 losses is enough to make ter Stegen a perfect candidate for the

top 5 most disappointing players of the Champions League

this season.

Ter Stegen, who now is 29, spent the entire of his youth career at his hometown's club academy. He progressed through the academy ranks and had a very successful amateur career with Monchengladbach's B team. He was also a member of Germany's U-17 and U-19 youth teams and won many trophies including UEFA European Under-17 Championship (2009), Fritz Walter Medal U17 Bronze Medal (2009), and Fritz Walter Medal U19 Gold Medal (2011)

Ter Stegen signed a 5 years contract with FC Barcelona at the beginning of the 2014-15 season. In his first two seasons with the Catalans. Ter Stegen performed well for Barcelona in the two seasons he was Ernesto Valverde’s first-choice keeper when he won two domestic doubles. Since joining the club, he's played 312 times for the Blaugrana, preserving 123 clean sheets and conceding 316 goals. For the German national team, he has 27 caps. In the 26 La Liga games that Barcelona has played so far this season, they have conceded 29 goals.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

isn't having a great season at Camp Nou, therefore the Catalan club has chosen to bring in a new goalkeeper. Because, despite his recent struggles, Ter Stegen remains Barcelona's indisputable number one goalkeeper in all competitions. Neto, his understudy, has only been named to the starting XI when the number one has been injured or suspended. This has occurred three times.

- Danilo Pereira

  • Club:

    Paris Saint-Germain

  • Age:

    30

  • Post:

    Defensive-Midfielder

  • Nationality:

    Portugal

A perfect candidate for his post in the

worst Champions League team

of the season, PSG spent €16.00m to bring the highly-rated defensive midfielder from Porto in July 2021. Among the key figures in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 round of 16 loss to Real Madrid, Pereira made 7 Champions League appearances this season and statically was among the most disappointing players in 2021-22 Champions League. Not only did not contribute any goals and assists, but his accurate pass rating was also 52.7 percent through these appearances, making only 0.6 interceptions per game, and 0.4 tackles per game.

Progressing through Benfica's youth development system,

Danilo Pereira

is a promising defensive midfielder known for having the ability to maintain possession of the ball and looking for the passes that can start attacks. The Portuguese midfielder made his senior career debut for the Italian professional football club Parma in 2010 but found his place in Marítimo and after a couple of seasons of solid performances, Pereira left Marítimo to sing for Porto for a reported sum of €4.5 million in July 2015, earning two Primeira Liga championships and one Taça de Portugal while being a member of the team that won the domestic double in 2020, making 202 appearances. He joined Paris Saint-Germain on a one-year loan for a reported sum of €4 million on October 5, 2020, with a conditional obligation to purchase for €16 million after the season.

Pereira, who was born in Guinea-Bissau, represented Portugal at the international level. He debuted for the senior national team in 2015 and was a member of the teams that won UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals on home soil. He made his debut for the main selection of Portugal on March 31, 2015, by the hand of Fernando Santos, in a 2-0 defeat, in a friendly against Cape Verde, in a match played at Estádio António Coimbra da Mota, in Estoril. From that moment on, Danilo was regularly used by Fernando Santos.

- Matthijs de Ligt

  • Club:

    Juventus

  • Age:

    22

  • Post:

    Centre-Back

  • Nationality:

    Netherlands

The next on our list of the

most disappointing players in 2021-22 Champions League

is the Juventus defender,

Matthijs de Ligt

, who has been disappointing since he joined Juventus for a hefty €85.50m back in July 2019 from Ajax. Making 7 Champions League appearances, de Ligt helped Juventus earn three early clean-sheets against Malmö, Chelsea, and Zenit, but then drastically conceded 10 goals in four matches against Zenit, Chelsea, and Villarreal at the round of 16 of the tournament, an early exit after a 3-0 home defeat to Villarreal for Juventus. He averaged 1 tackle per game, 1.3 interceptions, and only 0.3 blocks.

Coming through the youth ranks, De Ligt became a regular starter for Ajax after the selling of Davinson Sanchez and was elected team captain in March 2018, making him the youngest player to fill the club role. The success of De Ligt improved considerably, which drew offers from top European clubs. In December 2018, De Light was given the European Golden Boy award for his excellent performance. At the age of 19, De Ligt became the youngest captain to lead his team to the Champions League knockout stage in February 2019. De Ligt proved his worth again in April 2019 by scoring the winning goal that defeated Juventus and guided Ajax to the Champions League semi-final for the first time since the 1996/97 season.

Having played as an offensive midfielder in his youth, De Ligt is a right-footed center-back, both physically and technically talented, known for his clean tackling, anticipation, marking, height, power, pace, and precision passing, which helps him to begin attacking play from the back; In addition, his height makes it possible for him to be a serious threat from set-pieces, while his power means that he is unlikely to be driven off the ball, particularly in aerial duels similar forward surges, a propensity to create an extra man in midfield, and Calmness on the ball, similar forward surges, a propensity to create an additional man in the middle, and calmness on the ball, solid shot and strength of the body.

Superior in the air, thanks to his faith in possession, he is gifted with stamina, fine distribution, and stability, and can play out from the back, while his clever positioning helps him deny pacy forwards. De Ligt's ability to play out from the back and coordinate his fellow teammates are important resources in a time when the shortage of quality defenders has been highlighted.

- David Alaba

  • Club:

    Real Madrid

  • Age:

    29

  • Post:

    Centre-Back

  • Nationality:

    Austria

Next on our list is

David Alaba

who joined Real Madrid as a free agent last summer following the expiry of his Bayern Munich contract. Agile enough with high-precision passing abilities to play as a left-back, while also being strong and tactically aware enough to play as a center-back and hold off the opposition strikers, Real Madrid had a lot of hopes when they lured Alaba away from Bayern last summer as winning two continental trebles in a decade is not something many footballers have achieved, however, he was one of the 

Most Disappointing Players in 2021-22 Champions League

as he failed to perform up to expectations.

Deployed as a centre-back by Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Alaba has made 8 Champions League appearances this season, scoring a goal against FC Sheriff. However, 0.3 blocks per game, 0.6 interceptions, and 0.6 tackles per game are not good stats for Real Madrid’s summer marquee purchase.

When it comes to versatility and being able to play in a multitude of positions, few come close to how comfortable Alaba is with being deployed almost anywhere on the pitch. Not only is he a jack of all trades, but he is also a master of defense as he is most comfortable playing as a left-back or a center-back. He has multiple points of strength in his game, with an impressive defensive awareness which helps him solidify Bayern’s backline while being able to tackle his opponents with precision or even intercept the ball before it reaches the opposition strikers.

Many would argue Alaba’s performances never were solid enough as they select him as a candidate for the

top 10 worst players to win the Champions League

as he lifted the treble with Bayern Munich, however, many consider him as one of the best and the most flexible players of that Bayern Munich team, and Alaba’s Real Madrid performances help their point of view.

- Joao Felix

  • Club:

    Atletico Madrid

  • Age:

    22

  • Post:

    Second Striker

  • Nationality:

    Portugal

There are many rumors about the 22-year-old star leaving Atletico, and reports suggest that teams are looking to sign him in January. He joined Atletico for €125m from Benfica, the most expensive purchase in the history of the club. He scored 9 goals in the first season and 10 goals in the second season, but this season he has recorded only 1 goal and 2 assists. He has made 6 Champions League appearances for Simeone’s men, scoring a goal and contributing an assist, his other stats in the Champions League per game are 1.5 attempted shots, 0.7 dribbles, 2.5 bad control, and 1.3 being dispossessed.

Simeone now claims that the future of the Portuguese star at the club is uncertain. He said: "I always understand everything, I am open to everything, and the most important thing is always the team, where Joao is an important figure.

"He has to repeat performances like the one he had the other day at the Bernabeu. He showed all the talent he has, and I hope he would repeat it more times because he is the footballer we need."

"He is a very good footballer, the same thing happens with Portugal where many times he does not start, but he does finish the games.

Felix

, who was born in Viseu, started playing football at Os Pestinhas in 2007 before joining the FC Porto youth ranks a year later, aged eight. Felix debuted professionally for Benfica's reserve team in LigaPro at the age of 16, coming on as an 83rd-minute replacement for Aurelio Buta in a goalless draw at Freamunde. he became the youngest player to debut for Benfica B.

Felix signed a seven-year deal with Atletico Madrid on 3 July 2019 for a transfer fee of €126 million (£113 million), the fourth-highest amount ever paid in football (this was also Benfica's biggest transfer and Atletico's most lucrative signing ever) and the second-highest fee ever paid for a teenager (after Kylian Mbappe), initially paying  €30 million and the rest €96 million via installments, thus surpassing Felix's €120 million release clause, and with Benfica paying €12 million in mediation services. The number 7 jersey, previously worn by Antoine Griezmann, was handed over to him upon his arrival.

- Jadon Sancho

  • Club:

    Manchester United

  • Age:

    22

  • Post:

    Left Winger

  • Nationality:

    England

Jadon Sancho

joined Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund for an €85.00m fee last summer, after scoring 16 goals and assisting 20 in all competitions for the Bundesliga side. However, he failed to perform as expected, even falling out of the England manager’s call-up shortlist. Playing 7 Champions League matches, Sancho has only scored one goal and contributed no assists.

On his decision to not pick Jadon Sancho, Southgate said:

"Because the other attacking players in the squad are slightly ahead of him at the moment. You can see the names – Foden, Sterling, Saka, Smith-Rowe, Grealish. If you look at the seasons, they've had.

"Jadon, over the last few weeks his performances have without doubt improved at Manchester United but it's an area of the field where we've got really big competition for places and at the moment, we've got those guys slightly ahead."

Meanwhile, Gary Neville believes that Jadon Sancho may end up being like Donny van de Beek as the England international doesn’t fit into Manchester United’s system.

"

I can’t help thinking about Van de Beek,"

the former Red Devils captain said.

"Who has put their name on him? Who’s sponsoring that at Manchester United, that £40 million that’s been spent on that kid who’s been sat in the stand and not kicked a football for nearly 18 months?

"Sancho, if he’s not careful, is going to end up exactly the same. He’s played in some pretty appalling performances in the last few [weeks], not him… I mean team performances.

"He’s come into a club that’s looked completely disjointed in terms of their football. He’s played in a far better team and unit at Dortmund. He’s come in here and probably thinking, ‘what the hell am I in here? What is this?’ There’s no organisation, there’s no structure, the defensive work rate is poor.”

- Sadio Mané

  • Club:

    Liverpool

  • Age:

    29

  • Post:

    Left Winger

  • Nationality:

    Senegal

A name most unlikely to appear in this list, especially with the international triumphs he had in AFKON 2022 with Senegal and their qualification for the World Cup, Sadio Mane tops our list of the

most disappointing players in 2021-22 Champions League

.

Sadio Mane

moved to Liverpool from Southampton on a £34-million deal in 2016 and since then has made 218 appearances through which he has been able to score 97 goals. Also, during his time at Anfield, he has won a Champions League crown and a Premier League title. This season, the Senegalese has provided a total of 14 goals and 2 assists in a total of 37 appearances, only two goals come in his 8 2021-22 Champions League appearances so far with no assists.

However, he seemingly is restoring his form as he helped Senegal beat Mohamed Salah’s Egypt to reach the 2022 World Cup.

Egypt came into the match with a 1-0 aggregate lead after the first leg, but Hamdi Fathi's own goal gave Senegal an early second-leg lead. In the end, Sadio Mane delivered the winning spot-kick as Senegal edged Egypt 3-1 on penalties to win a place at the World Cup. Senegal and Egypt also faced each other in this year's Africa Cup of Nations final, which again Senegal won 4-2 in an equally dramatic shootout.

Mane’s creativity on and off the ball, his tactical awareness, agility, and touch on the ball have turned Mane into one of the most lethal forwards in the Premier League, as Liverpool usually relies on him to provide goals and assists in every match.

He is dominantly a right-footed player and is versatile enough to play on either side of the pitch, as he can even be deployed as a center forward or as a second striker, a trait that gives any manager a whole array of options when it comes to deploying the right players on the right positions. Mane usually comes short to receive the ball as he later darts forward on the flanks to later cut inside and put the ball into the back of the net with a beautiful finesse shot, or pass the ball to Salah or Firmino and move even further into the keeper’s territory.

Now that you read our list of the most disappointing players in 2021-22 Champions League, you might as well like to read these articles by Sportmob.

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