Champions League MVPs: The eight players who will decide the quarterfinals and beyond

This is where it gets good ... right? This season's Champions League has been as chalky as it gets. At the time, Newcastle United and Manchester United getting dumped out in the group stages felt shocking. With hindsight, it wasn't shocking at all! Both sides are upper-mid-table Premier League teams at best this season.

Otherwise, all of the favorites advanced out of the group stages, and then all of the favorites except Inter Milan advanced through the round of 16. Without the likes of Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen in the competition this year, there isn't as much competitive depth as there usually is. But the upside of no real upsets -- it's not like Atletico Madrid were heavy underdogs against Inter, Italy's best team -- is a stacked slate of quarterfinal matchups.

We've got the defending champs vs. the eternal champs, Manchester City and Real Madrid, for the third year in a row. We've got Arsenal flying high atop the Premier League but being forced to conquer the team, Bayern Munich, that last eliminated them from the Champions League ... by a 10-2 aggregate scoreline. Then it's Paris Saint-Germain and Kylian Mbappé against his likely future club's fiercest rival, Barcelona. Oh and to top it off, it's Europe's two most successful upstart clubs of the modern era, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid, squaring off for a spot in the semifinals.

So, we've finally got some competitive matchups worth analyzing for their on-field value. With that, let's take a look at the most important -- but not necessarily "best" -- player for each club ahead of its quarterfinal tie.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats come from domestic play only