For us, there’s no form of entertainment that compares to the drama of live football and nothing quite beats the excitement of a top talent operating at full throttle.
Fans often cherish footballers who get them on the edge of their seat, players capable of illuminating even the drabbest of contests with a moment of magic.
Here are six of the most exciting footballers in European football to watch right now.
The streets of Naples are beginning to prepare for one gigantic party this spring, as Napoli close in on a first league title in more than three decades. Not since the late, great Diego Maradona adorned the club’s colours have Napoli lifted the Scudetto, but their current crop are arguably Europe’s most exciting team and closing in on a long-awaited coronation.
Luciano Spalletti’s side are 15 points clear at the top of the division, having built that formidable lead playing a brand of football admired across the continent. At the centre of their success has been Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, a Georgian gem unearthed for just €10m last summer.
Kvaratskhelia’s club football had been played at Dinamo Batumi last season, having departed Rubin Kazan following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Napoli swooped in to sign the winger last summer and he has had a spectacular first season in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 4, 2023
The 22-year-old has been electric in tandem with Victor Osimhen for Napoli this season, a devastating duo which has taken the club to the verge of Serie A success. Kvaratskhelia – already nicknamed Kvaradona in reference to Napoli legend Maradona – has been the standout star in Serie A, scoring nine goals and providing a further nine assists in 18 league appearances.
He has shone, too, in Europe. Napoli breezed into the Champions League’s knockout rounds, thrashing Liverpool, Ajax and Rangers to become the first Italians to score 20 goals in a group stage campaign. The Georgian was directly involved in five goals in six appearances.
Transfer talk has already surrounded Kvaratskhelia, who admitted last year of his childhood dream to represent Real Madrid. It would come as little surprise to see Europe’s elite queue up for his signature this summer.
Kvaratskhelia’s understanding with Victor Osimhen has been Europe’s deadliest double-act, with the latter leading the league for goals scored.
Osimhen was named as Serie A’s Best Young Player during the 2021/22 season and has built on that success with a career-best campaign. The Nigerian leads the race for the Capocannoniere award with 17 league goals in 18 appearances for Napoli and has been in spectacular form since the turn of the new year.
Victor Osimhen does it once again! 🎯
Chest, knee, volley, BOOM!
Incredible stuff from Napoli's striker to open the scoring 🙌 pic.twitter.com/0aV0Bdm9Sk
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 29, 2023
Osimhen has eight goals in his last six games and is the highest goalscorer in Europe’s top five leagues in 2023 to date. The 24-year-old is a physical monster and earlier this month broke Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the highest vertical jump in Serie A history at a staggering 258cm.
His raw power and pace has been married with an improving record around goal, boasting a fine repertoire of finishes in his best season to date. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been credited with interest in Osimhen, but it would take a gargantuan offer for Napoli to consider his sale.
The Italian side have built one of the most exciting teams in Europe right now and intend to keep its core together.
The boy’s a bit special.
Jamal Musiala was one of Europe’s most promising talents last season. During the current campaign, he has confirmed his status as one of the continent’s most effective performers here and now.
Musiala has been in brilliant form for Bayern Munich, weaving through Bundesliga defences and producing prolific numbers around goal. He has ten goals and seven assists for the German side in the Bundesliga alone, each leading totals among his teammates.
A reminder: Musiala is just 19 and producing these performances at one of world football’s elite clubs.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 14, 2023
Musiala’s movement is what makes him a fantastic talent, as he moves through midfield fluidly. Top-level defenders are navigated as if they were stationary training cones, with Musiala’s footwork and balance a joy to watch.
Improving at a rapid rate, the sky appears the limit for Germany’s brightest prospect.
Rayan Cherki appears to be finding his feet again with positive signs that the midfielder is beginning to fulfil his potential.
Cherki first broke into the Lyon side aged just 16 and soon became the club’s youngest-ever senior goalscorer, but his development stalled after that initial emergence. Still just 19, Cherki has shone in recent weeks for the French side and has had a major hand in the club’s climb up the Ligue 1 table.
What a goal! ⚽️
Rayan Cherki finds the back from the tightest of angles 📐 pic.twitter.com/BN9hwBvVj1
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 12, 2023
Cherki has four goal involvements in his last three appearances for Lyon in all competitions, having scored one and created another in the recent win over high-flying Lens. His goal was a moment of magic, as the teenager fired in powerfully from an acute angle to continue Lyon’s recent revival.
Full of flair and an ability to unbalance defenders with sharp shifts in either direction, Cherki’s confidence appears on the up and his club side are reaping the rewards. A talent full of potential, he will hope his recent form can lead to an extended run in the side across the second half of the season.
Randal Kolo Muani
Randal Kolo Muani is a contender for signing of the season across Europe’s top five leagues, following a phenomenal first season at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Picked up on a free transfer from Nantes last summer, the forward has been the most productive player in the Bundesliga this season. He has scored nine goals and laid on a league-leading ten assists, while he tops the division for shot-creating actions (17) and ranks among the Bundesliga’s best for completed take-ons (7th).
His form earned the 24-year-old a place in the France squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he scored his first international goal during the semi-final win over Morocco.
For the first time since November, Randal Kolo Muani wasn't involved in a goal for Frankfurt:
The seven game run ends. pic.twitter.com/tVd8JZEzze
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 13, 2023
Manchester United and Bayern Munich have already been credited as admirers, for a footballer who has thrived on the counter-attack in the Bundesliga. Kolo Muani’s pace, close control and decision-making have stood out at Frankfurt, who have insisted the French forward is not for sale. However, a huge offer – perhaps higher than the €60m record sale of Luka Jovic to Real Madrid – could prove tempting.
Is there a more exciting player to watch in the Premier League than Marcus Rashford right now?
Rashford has rediscovered his groove in stunning fashion this season, bouncing back from a difficult period at Manchester United to produce the best football of his career.
The 25-year-old finished as England’s joint-leading scorer at the World Cup and has picked up where he left off in Qatar since the Premier League’s restart. It’s now 13 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions since the mid-season break, with Rashford having contributed an additional five assists for good measure.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit has allowed Rashford to assume main man status at Old Trafford and he has looked befitting of the responsibility in Erik ten Hag’s fast improving team.
Marcus Rashford has more Non-Penalty Goals in the League this season than:
MARCUS RASHFORD – 12
Kylian Mbappe – 11
Lauturo Martinez – 11
Lionel Messi – 10
Neymar Jr. – 10
Christopher Nkunku – 10
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia – 8
Rafael Leao – 8
Firing on all cylinders. 💥 pic.twitter.com/QM5vMRr2nW
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 14, 2023
Rashford appears more well-rounded than ever before, scoring goals with his head and spending more time in goalscoring areas. The rewards have been evident with a brilliant run of goalscoring form, one which has carried Rashford past the 20-goal mark for the third time in his career. He’s just one goal from matching his best ever goalscoring season (22 – 2019/10) for the Red Devils.