Champions League Player Power Rankings: Alves, Messi and Gabi Star This Week
Welcome to the latest edition of our UEFA Champions League player power rankings.
With Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain sealing qualification to the quarterfinals, we continue to update our top 10 players based on form, production and performance.
There's plenty of shuffling, some new names and some high-risers!
Please note: Our rankings are split into Week 1 and Week 2. The corresponding ranking for this piece can be found here, while the other set—featuring Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund—can be found here.
Dropping out / Honourable Mentions
Blaise Matuidi was No. 2 in our rankings last week, but he was completely rested by Laurent Blanc and drops out in an uber-competitive top 10.
Marco Verratti also impressed last week but was rested by Blanc, too.
Raul Garcia chipped in with a goal and looked very strong over two legs against AC Milan, while Juanfran put in a steady showing from right-back.
Gerard Pique drops from our top 10 after a slightly shaky performance against Manchester City on Wednesday, and Jordi Alba is very unlucky not to make the cut in his place.
Brazil captain Thiago Silva was steady and solid for Paris Saint-Germain, while David Silva and Fernandinho impressed over two legs for Man City.
10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain
Last Week: 5
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is mortal, and he had a very mortal outing against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
He chose to play despite harbouring slight back concerns, but in his race to outscore Cristiano Ronaldo this year, he laid a bit of an egg.
One of his four shots on goal was a deft lob that scraped the crossbar. The other three hardly troubled Bernd Leno.
9. Lionel Messi, Barcelona
Last Week: N/R
Lionel Messi did very little of note in the first leg against Manchester City, but he tore the back line to pieces at the Camp Nou.
Joleon Lescott had no chance over the course of 90 minutes with this Argentine's mesmeric dribbling on show, and he eventually slotted home an absurd chipped finish to kill the tie in the second half.
Before that, he hit the post after leaving Lescott for dead.
8. Gabi, Atletico Madrid
Last Week: N/R
Gabi was an important factor in Atletico Madrid's clean sheet at the San Siro, and he was a major influence in the corresponding 4-1 win at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday as well.
He struck the woodwork and laid on an assist as his game opened out, but he still shut the door in the face of any Milan attacker who tried to venture through the centre of the pitch.
7. Thibaut Courtois, Atletico Madrid
Last Week: 4
Thibaut Courtois must be looked at for conceding a close-range header to Kaka on Tuesday.
It was a bullet from close range that was deflected, yes, but he's stopped much tougher strikes on goal.
That said, he was superlative in the first leg and kept goal rather well in the second leg this incident aside.
He drops, but not too much.
6. Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich
Last Week: 1
Toni Kroos was restricted to a bench role for Bayern Munich's second leg against Arsenal. Whether that's for resting purposes or a product of the ongoing contract dispute, we're not sure.
He was magnificent in the first leg, topping our rankings by a distance after a mesmeric performance, but he didn't really impress too heavily after coming on for Mario Goetze in the second half.
5. Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
Last Week: N/R
Diego Costa, as we know, is pretty good. He continued to be pretty good at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday, scoring a brace to down AC Milan.
That's three goals against the Rossoneri in two games, and he's the top scorer in the Champions League round of 16 matches at this time.
4. Philipp Lahm, Bayern Munich
Last Week: 3
Philipp Lahm actually had one of his worst games this season despite slotting back in at right-back.
Considering he was a strong presence throughout, bombing forward and reliable defensively, it just speaks volumes of the consistent brilliance he's turned out since Pep Guardiola took the reins.
He was not his economical self in the final third, but he did complete 96 percent of his 77 passes overall.
3. Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich
Last Week: 6
Manuel Neuer's face was nearly taken off by Lukas Podolski's effort on goal in the second half.
Beyond that, his night was rather quiet.
Arsenal never troubled the goal extensively despite needing two clear goals, and the German quietly impressed with his excellent distribution and cross-claiming from corners.
2. Diego Godin, Atletico Madrid
Last Week: 9
Here's a remarkable stat for you: Diego Godin didn't lose a single headed duel over the course of 180-plus minutes against AC Milan.
When you consider the Rossoneri have Mario Balotelli, Adil Rami and Philippe Mexes, that is some achievement of note.
The Uruguayan, as we've come to expect, was very, very solid on Tuesday night.
1. Dani Alves, Barcelona
Last Week: 10
Dani Alves scored a goal in each leg against Manchester City, and that has him shooting up our top 10.
The Brazilian went on several marauding runs at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, provided a constant outlet for the ball wide on the right and defended as best he could against the City attack.
Consistent form over two legs is a thing few players managed, so he takes a big jump.