From the illustrious to the unheralded: which players have shone so far in AFC Champions League 2022?

Natxo Insa's presence in midfield has been a real asset for Johor Darul Ta'zim thus far in their AFC Champions League 2022 campaign. Annice Lyn/Getty Images

By the end of the week, the group stage of AFC Champions League 2022 would have come to its conclusion with 16 teams marching on into the knockout stage.

With five rounds already played, the West Zone finishes up on Wednesday with four teams already through in reigning champions Al Hilal, their Saudi Arabian compatriots Al Shabab, Qatari giants Al Duhail and Foolad of Iran.

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Over in the East Zone, all eight berths are still up for grabs but teams like BG Pathum United and Vissel Kobe are firmly on course for the last 16.

As expected, there has been no shortage of standout performers but who has really caught the eye?

From the illustrious stars to the unheralded names, we pick ten of the best so far in ACL 2022.

Natxo Insa (Johor Darul Ta'zim)

Johor Darul Ta'zim's seven-point haul in Group I is already their biggest since they made their group-stage debut in 2019, and plenty has been down to the goals of Brazilian striker Bergson da Silva.

Nonetheless, the one man that has been a real driving force in the engine room has been Natxo Insa.

In the absence of regular captain Aidil Zafuan in the starting XI, Insa has skippered the Southern Tigers admirably with his selfless approach and it should come as no surprise that him sitting out JDT's last game also coincided with their first defeat of the campaign.

Salem Al-Dawsari (Al Hilal)

With just two goals to his name so far, it may not seem like Salem Al-Dawsari has exactly lit up the stage so far but the Saudi Arabia international has assuredly gone about his business in guiding Al Hilal to the Round of 16 with two games to spare.

Named the tournament's Most Valuable Player in Al Hilal's title triumph last year, Al-Dawsari has been a vital cog in a well-oiled attack that are happy to spread the workload -- with their 11 goals so far coming from nine different scorers.

Captain Salman Al-Faraj has been another that has been influential for Al Hilal without too much fanfare, while full-backs Yasser Al-Shahrani and Mohammed Al-Breik have also been excellent contributors.

Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Now approaching veteran status with his 30th birthday a couple of months away, it should come as no surprise that Kim Jin-su is playing a key role in Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' ACL 2022 charge -- even from oft-unappreciated position of left-back.

The former Hoffenheim man is the only Jeonbuk player to have started all four of their games so far and has been part of a stingy defence that have been breached only one in four games.

Unfortunately for Jeonbuk, their attacking output has not quite matched their defensive stability although Moon Seon-min has caught the eye as an impact player with two goals in as many games against Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

Nawaf Al-Abed (Al Shabab)

It was not too long ago that Nawaf Al-Abed was starring for both Al Hilal and Saudi Arabia, only to then have been hampered by some injuries in recent years.

Al-Abed is however now enjoying a new lease of life since moving to Al Shabab.

The 32-year-old already has five assists to his name and, along with Ever Banega and Hattan Bahebri, is offering a real creative spark that promises to make Al Shabab genuine contenders this season.

Song Ui-young (Lion City Sailors)

In their debut appearance among Asia's elite, Lion City Sailors have punched above their weight and are one of three teams tied on seven points at the Group F summit.

Although the Sailors do boast some star names in Kim Shin-wook, Diego Lopes and Maxime Lestienne, it is South Korean-born Singapore international Song Ui-young who has shone the brightest so far.

Song, who has at times been deployed out of position as a focal point in attack, has netted two crucial goals to keep the Sailors in the running to reach the knockout stage -- including a historic opener in the 3-0 win over Daegu that was his team's first-ever in tournament history.

Fede Cartabia (Shabab Al Ahli)

In recent times, Saudi Arabian football has been home to some famous names including Banega and Odion Ighalo.

One player that may not be as well recognised but who boasts an equally impressive career is ex-Valencia winger Fede Cartabia, who is currently keeping Shabab Al Ahli's quest to reach the last-16 alive.

Cartabia is the joint-second top scorer in the competition so far with five goals to his name, as opposition defences have found him impossible to contain with his perfect blend of pace, guile and finishing ability.

Pathompol Charoenrattanapirom (BG Pathum United)

For all of BG Pathum United's riches in attack, which include Brazilian star Diogo, Thai legend Teerasil Dangda and Singapore international Ikhsan Fandi, it is Pathompol Charoenrattanapirom that has perhaps been their brightest light so far in ACL 2022.

Now 28, Pathompol has been somewhat of a late bloomer but is now one of the most-consistent performers in Thai football -- and was part of the Thailand outfit that won last year's AFF Suzuki Cup despite having little international experience prior to that.

Alongside Diogo and Ikhsan, Pathompol currently leads BGPU in the scoring chart with two goals to his name and should continue to be important in their quest to seal a second consecutive appearance in the Round of 16.

Kento Tachibanada (Kawasaki Frontale)

The rise of Kento Tachibanada has been nothing short of meteoric, with the diminutive playmaker emerging from a relative unknown to an integral player for Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale in just a year.

Tachibanada had barely been heard off when he featured as a back-up for Frontale in last season's ACL but has been a first choice in the heart of midfield, even keeping the equally-dynamic duo of Yasuto Wakizaka and Chanathip Songkrasin out of the side on occasion.

The 23-year-old's versatility is also an asset for coach Toru Oniki as he has excelled both when playing as a more-advanced box-to-box midfielder, as well as when deployed as a defensive shield in front of the backline.

Edmilson Junior (Al Duhail)

For all the big-name imports that Al Duhail have brought in over the years, few have made a bigger impact that Edmilson Junior -- currently the leading scorer in ACL 2022 with six goals.

Having at times been deployed as a wing-back in the past, the Belgian's fulltime transition into an attacker has been nothing short of sensational as he has emerged an unstoppable force for Al Duhail down the flank.

Following Al Sadd's shock elimination, it is likely down to Al Duhail to fly the flag for Qatar in the ACL this season -- and they have every chance of going forward with Edmilson part of an attack that also boasts the likes of Almoez Ali and Michael Olunga.

Yuta Goke (Vissel Kobe)

Despite the absence of talismanic playmaker Andres Iniesta coupled with their woeful start to the J1 League season, Vissel Kobe have done well so far in the ACL this term -- leading Group J with seven points after going unbeaten in their first three games.

A key factor behind their strong start has been the form of Yuta Goke, a once highly-rated prospect who will be hoping to use the continental platform to showcase his ability to a wider audience.

Goke's industrious and inventive ways down the right have offered Vissel a constant attacking outlet in the absence of Iniesta, and he has also shown an ability to find the back of the net with two goals to his name already.