Barça vs PSG Player Ratings

Paris Saint-Germain v FC Barcelona: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Barcelona: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Lionel Hahn/GettyImages

The battle of Xavi vs Luis Enrique at the Parc des Princes saw student and former player against teacher and former manager, full of cool storylines and packed with meaning. In the end, it would be a Barça victory away from home, with a few stellar performances from the ranks of FC Barcelona. Let's rate them here:


Ter Stegen: 6/10 - While it's true that the first goal was a rocket, I can't help but feel like the second was preventable. It was a good finish to be sure, but the German was ever so slightly flat-footed on that shot. Apart from the two goals, he didn't have much to save; a Bradley Barcola shot that he managed to repel and a few other elementary stops. He was capable, but I wouldn't go so far as to say good. Compared to Donnarumma though, he was amazing, which is all Barça needed.


Cancelo: 6/10 - If Cancelo is going to rely on Raphinha and Cubarsí's help to be able to defend someone like Dembélé, it's only because his real talents lie going forward and attacking. However, if that's the case, then he's got to produce offensively. In this one, he made quite a few bad decisions - shooting wild shots, not passing when he had a 3-on-2 counter attack, and more.

Cubarsí: 8.5/10 - For a center-back to be this young and this good is not very common at all. Midfielders and forward players shining at such a young age is more normal. But Pau Cubarsí has faced off against Morata, Osimhen, Iñaki Williams, and now Mbappé where he has more than held his own. While the French forward was operating more so down the left, there was more than one occasion when Cubarsí faced off against him and he dealt with the situations beautifully. He also dealt with Dembélé masterfully on almost every occasion. On top of defending so well, he can pass the ball extremely effectively too. Wild to see from so young a player in his position.

Araújo: 8.5/10 - Araújo reminds me very much of Puyol. The way he defends all out and is willing to dive head-first into danger. The way he tackles with near-perfect timing and gives his all out effort to track back and block shots. His calm and assured presence in the air. His physicality, of course, straddling the line very well between man-handling opposing players and outright fouling them. It's even present in the way he has improved his passing (earlier on in his career, he was very raw and imprecise with his playing out from the back). Along with Koundé, he nullified Mbappé extremely well and was basically all over the place as usual.

Koundé: 8/10 - It seems that Jules has accepted his role at right-back and decided to excel in it. In this match, he handled Mbappé extremely well, and the few times he couldn't, Araújo was right there to help out. Koundé has turned his form around recently and become an extremely solid defender. He didn't have much to do up front against Paris, but it wasn't necessary.


De Jong: 6/10 - Frenkie de Jong has immense talent, but he seems to lack the ability to defend. Athletically, he's more than capable, but some of his decisions are baffling. He closed down on Fabián Ruiz at kind of a weird angle, allowing the ball to slip right past him for Vitinha's goal. It seems he was playing the shot, but it was unlikely that Ruiz could've fired off a good shot from there. He also does tend to hold onto the ball too long. Sometimes that's ok, but in this one it wasn't. PSG shut down his driving lanes, so to speak, and he would've been better served passing it quickly. He can't quite seem to recognize when to do what and adapt.

Gündoğan: 7/10 - Another good game from the German, but not among his best. The whole midfield was effectively bypassed at times with Lewandowski's hold-up play. Since that worked, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Gündoğan was allowed to roam higher up and play off Robert a bit. Despite this, he didn't see much of the ball. It's not an indictment of his play; sometimes his movement and runs will pay off and sometimes they won't. It depends on the state of the game and a ton of other factors. What's important is that he's there.

Roberto: 6/10 - Didn't see much of him at all. He and de Jong struggled quite a bit to really control the match with Gündoğan further up. The two spent a lot of time defending, and not very well, to the point where you'd be forgiven for not realizing he was even out there. He got a yellow, like Christensen, which means they'll miss the next match. As it is, that's actually quite a significant loss.

Pedri: 8.5/10 - Of all the young players Barça have, Pedri is the one that seems to have the most magic about him. When you see something like this match, you can understand why. With barely his first touch after coming on, having just been off a month and a half, he produces a beautiful lifted pass to assist Raphinha streaking into the box. It's moments like these that can truly win matches when all else fails; bits of magic that can lead to victories. Welcome back, Pedri.

Christensen: 8/10 - Came on and immediately paid dividends. Just a few minutes after entering the pitch, he came crashing down into the box and fired home a header for Barça's third goal and the eventual winner. Even apart from this, he did his role extremely well providing defensive stability that Frenkie just couldn't. He did get a yellow, however, so he'll miss the next match; the only blemish in the wonderful 20.

Fermín: 6/10 - Came on in the 86th for Gündoğan. He didn't have a ton of time to make an impact, and he also picked up a yellow for dissent. He'll certainly have more to do this weekend.


Yamal: 6/10 - Didn't have much of a starring role in the match, and was taken off after an hour. He just never could get into the flow of things and didn't get much service down the right. He spent the first 20 minutes basically defending, anyway. He wasn't bad, however, it was his outside the boot ball that Raphinha ended up pouncing on for goal number one. Which goes to show that this is really a game of moments; a player can be poor for 30 minutes and then produce a good play that leads to a goal.

Lewandowski: 8/10 - The game plan was executed to perfection by the Polish striker. He held onto the ball, holding up play for his teammates, and releasing to wide outlets once they could catch up. In fact, Barça scored on one such play as he navigated through the defense very well. He didn't score, but he did basically everything else well. A far cry from where he was just a couple months ago.

Raphinha: 9/10 - A night to remember for Raphinha, having gotten not only his first ever Champions League goal, but his second as well. He was relentless, giving forth his maximum effort (as he usually does). The first finish was a very good one, slotting it into the far corner even with defenders straddling the goal line. The second even better, taking Pedri's floated pass in with a sublime first touch. But even beyond his two scores, he also created two or three more very good opportunities and was a constant headache for Luis Enrique's defenders. Monster game from Raphinha. It feels like this truly is his realized potential, and we can only hope he's able to keep it up.

Félix: 7/10 - Félix does sometimes suffer from what I call stepover syndrome: Trying to play street ball out there and dribble three players instead of just playing the simple, correct pass. That being said, he didn't have enough time here to really do much of anything. The few times he did get the ball, it was a mixed bag, but generally good.

Ferran: 7/10 - Ferran almost had a chance mere seconds after coming on; afterwards, he didn't show up much again. Not to say it was a bad performance, just a quiet one. I was a bit appalled at the decision to take Raphinha off and not let him go for the hat-trick, but that's obviously not Ferran's fault. However, I'll just mention it here.

Overall, Raphinha, Cubarsí, and Araújo were standout performers from start to finish. Pedri had somewhat of an extended cameo, but he also shone with a singular moment of excellence. Gündoğan, Lewandowski, and Christensen all chipped in as well, and the team generally played quite well. Leaving Paris with a win and with control for most of the match is about the best outcome they could've hoped for. Now, Xavi will have to get his tactics right again for the return leg.