• John Gilding

EUROPE'S BEST: FOUR LEAGUES, FOUR STARS


Europes top divisions all played this weekend, with some setting new records. But who were the stand out stars?


We've picked our top four players for you below!


Bundesliga – Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich


In their fourth game in ten days, Bayern played Hertha Berlin this weekend, coming off the back of their German Supercup win against Dortmund. Berlin put up a good fight, coming back from 2-0 down at the 50-minute mark to level it at 3-3 with two minutes to go.


However, they couldn’t handle the goalscoring force of nature that is Robert Lewandowski. He scored an extra-time penalty to win the game 4-3, and all four of those goals were his.


At 32, Lewandowski is ageing like a fine Scotch whiskey, and when he starts, Bayern seem almost invincible.


Special mention – Gio Reyna, Borussia Dortmund


Bagged a hat-trick of assists against Freiburg on Saturday. At just 17, he’s the youngest player to achieve that feat in Bundesliga history.

Ligue 1 – Ibrahima Niane, Metz


The French league is running slightly ahead of the rest of Europe, having started earlier, which means there is a clearer picture of how the season could shake out. One trend to watch is the rise of Niane at Metz.


A fantastic hat-trick against Lorient on Sunday means the Senegalese striker has 6 goals in the first 6 league games, already passing his total from the last two seasons, and is the current top goalscorer in the league.


At 21, he is one to watch, and if he continues putting out performances like this, then the comparisons with Sadio Mané, another Senegalese forward who started his European career at Metz, won’t be far behind.


Special mention – Neymar, PSG


PSG drummed Angers 6-1 this weekend, driven by an outstanding performance from Neymar, who scored two and assisted one in the victory.

Serie A – Mario Pašalić, Atalanta


Atalanta fired five past Diego Godin and his Cagliari team on Sunday, keeping up their streak of scoring at least four goals in their first 3 games of the season. Croatian Mario Pašalić, racked up a goal and an assist from his central midfield role and had the most touches of any player on the pitch.


He made his loan from Chelsea permanent in the summer and is proving his worth. In a team with players like Papu Gómez and Josip Iličić it can be hard to shine, but Pašalić works hard, and when he plays well, Atalanta usually play well too.

La Liga – Joaquín, Real Betis


Real Betis continued their solid start to the season with a 2-0 win over Valencia, helped by their captain and talisman Joaquín. He was involved in both goals, providing the assist for Sergio Canales’ volleyed opener and making the run to create the second.


Joaquín came through the Betis academy, but left at 25 for Valencia, and spent time at Malaga and Fiorentina in Italy until making a storied return to Betis in 2015. At 39, he is one of the oldest wingers in any of the top leagues, but he can still be a game-changer.


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