Coaches adore Axel Witsel. Everywhere he travelled during his years in Europe, from Standard Liege to Zenit and Benfica, the box-to-box midfielder was always one of the first names on the teamsheet. That has not changed since his move to China PR. Ever open for a pass and usually in the right position, Witsel can be depended on to bring his natural talent and technical finesse to bear.
Quicker than he sometimes looks, the Liege native also seems equipped with an extra lung at times and has an unerring capacity for finding the right pass, whether playing the ball deep or across the pitch. That raw ability brought him a maiden Belgium cap in March 2008, and he remains a crucial part of the equation ten years later. Witsel struggled to impress at Brazil 2014, but he returns to Russia anxious to show what he can do.