Ziyech and the five stars of pre-season

Cameron Smith
Hakim Ziyech celebrates his FA Cup semi-final winning goal

Pre-season is almost over, and teams across Europe are preparing for their league campaigns to begin.

The off-season is a chance for players to prove their worth at their current team, with many fighting for a place in the starting XI.

READ MORE: Chelsea v Villarreal Super Cup preview

With league campaigns already underway in some countries, and set to begin in the coming days elsewhere, here at FootballTransfers, we thought we'd run through five players who starred in pre-season.

Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)

In a summer dominated by transfer talk in West London, Hakim Ziyech has been doing everything he can to ensure he stays in Thomas Tuchel's plans.

With the Blues' pursuit of Romelu Lukaku, many had called for Ziyech to be the one sacrificed, but one stellar pre-season later and those calls have died down.

READ MORE: Where does Ziyech rank among most valuable EPL players?

Playing with a variety of other forwards, Ziyech has stood out, but he'll still face a challenge to get regular starts in the Premier League this season.

His form, however, won't have harmed his chances. He scored a hat-trick in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Peterborough, before he bagged both goals in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the final game of the Mind Series.

And Ziyech then opened the scoring in the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal on Wednesday.

With six goals in total, and impressive performances throughout, Ziyech has staked his claim for a starting berth this season. It's such a shame he was forced off injured with a shoulder problem.

Martin Satriano (Inter)

Inter have been rocked this summer by the sales of stars Achraf Hakimi and Lukaku, with the club engulfed in a financial crisis.

But there has been one young player who has given them some cheer during the pre-season friendly calendar.

Martin Satriano has scored an incredible nine goals in just six friendlies for the Nerazzurri.

The 20-year-old Uruguayan, who rejected Arsenal last year to sign for Inter, has already been compared to Edinson Cavani.

Diogo Jota (Liverpool)

Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are still Jurgen Klopp's favoured front three, but Diogo Jota is worming his way into the German's thinking.

He joined the squad slightly late after his participation in the European Championship, but was straight into action.

Diogo Jota has impressed in pre-season for Liverpool

Diogo Jota has impressed in pre-season for Liverpool

He scored against Bologna and Athletic Bilbao, impressing with his dynamism in both games as well. His ability run in behind is so dangerous, and after an excellent pre-season, which came after a slightly disappointing Euros for the Portuguese winger, he should start against Norwich.

Noni Madueke (PSV)

Noni Madueke joined PSV from Tottenham's academy, and after breaking into the first-team last season, this year is his year.

In pre-season he scored three times in friendlies, once in the KNVB Cup, twice in Champions League qualification, and twice in the Dutch Super Cup final to help PSV defeat Ajax.

In short, Madueke has probably had the best pre-season of any player on this list, and it's only the beginning.

Tottenham have expressed interest in re-signing their former academy star, while several others from around Europe are sniffing around.

PSV have insisted they aren't selling, however, and are determined to keep hold of Madueke for as long as possible.

Dominik Szoboszlai

More so a feel-good story than someone who has lit up pre-season, Dominik Szoboszlai finally made his RB Leipzig debut against AZ Alkmaar in a pre-season win.

The Hungarian star has been injured ever since joining Leipzig in January, and it meant he missed the Euros and the back-half of the 2020/21 season.

He's back to fitness now, and is up and running for the side having scored against Sandhausen in an early-round DFB Pokal win.

After scoring 26 goals and assisting 35 in 83 outings for Salzburg, Szoboszlai is an immense talent, and his pre-season will be an encouraging sign for new Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch.