Joško on fire: Gvardiol's Champions League stats for RB Leipzig
Most prolific centre-back among remaining teams in the last 16 | RBL's best tackler | High pass accuracy
At just 21 years old, Joško Gvardiol is the rising defensive star of the 2022/23 season. Our Croatian centre-back has caught the eye in the Champions League in particular this season, delivering a string of top performances, both defensively and in terms of his attacking contribution.
After he netted the equaliser in the first leg of our last-16 tie against Manchester City, it's high time we took a closer look at Joško's impressive displays in Europe's elite club competition.
He may not have featured in the first two group games against Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid, but Joško now hasn't missed a single minute of the last five Champions League matches.
The 1.85-metre-tall defender causes real problems in the attacking box from set pieces, scoring both of his UCL goals so far via headers against notable opposition in Manchester City and Real Madrid.
That makes Joško the most prolific centre-back among the remaining teams in the last 16.
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Our Croatian is also a force to be reckoned with inside his own box too. Not only has he won the most challenges among RBL players, but he also has the third-most ball recoveries after Xaver Schlager and Willi Orbán, and both have played two games more.
He's not someone who resorts to fouls to stop his opponents either. He hasn't picked up a card in his five UCL appearances so far, and has also commited just one foul.
The left-footer is one of the best centre-backs left in the Champions League when it comes to challenge-success rate, outperforming the likes of Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Éder Militão (Real Madrid) and Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich).
Together his defensive partner Willi Orbán, Joško also demonstrates quality in his build-up play. In fact, only his Hungarian teammate has more completed passes to his name than Gvardiol, although he does have 180 minutes more game time under his belt.
With a solid pass accuracy of 90.2 percent, Joško might not be at the top of the charts among the Champions League's centre-backs, but he is still more precise than Alessandro Bastoni (Inter, 89.2%), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, 88.4%) and David Alaba (Real Madrid, 85.3%) to name some examples.