The season is almost half over, making it the perfect time for a review of La Liga’s best players so far. From Ronaldo to Neymar, Cani to Costa, THT picks the league’s team of the fall campaign.
The Spanish La Liga is enjoying one of the most tightly fought campaigns of the past decade, as both FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid sit jointly at the top of the table while Real Madrid are just five points behind the leaders. With 17 games played, we are almost at the half stage of the season and it is a perfect time to have a mid-season review of La Liga.
As Barcelona lead the league only on goal difference from Atletico, with Real Madrid closely following them back, it is no surprise that these three teams’ players have more representation in our Liga team of the season so far. In this list, we have considered the overall performance levels of the player along with his utility for the club. But please note the selection is purely subjective.
There is no place for Messi in the team however. The Argentine has missed the major part of the season due to injury, which makes him fall behind other excellent performers like Costa and Neymar.
Goalkeeper: Diego Lopez
The Madrid shot-stopper was subject of big selection controversy during Jose Mourinho’s tenure, but he has proved his mettle again under Carlo Ancelotti. The Spaniard is almost unbeatable this season and gets the nod ahead of Victor Valdes, who has missed many games due to injury.
Defence: Iraola, Mateo Musacchio, Joao Miranda, Filipe Luis
On the right side of defence, Athletic Bilbao captain Iraola has been the most consistent player for many seasons, and this year is no exception. At 32, he has just signed a new improved deal with the San Mames side, which is a proof of his reliability.
Villarreal’s Musacchio is enjoying his breakthrough campaign with the Yellow Submarine. And the Argentine’s impressive performances could lead to a national team call-up for the World Cup as well. Because of his impressive displays in the past six months, Europe’s biggest clubs (including Barcelona and Chelsea) are scouting him now.
Joao Miranda is solid like a rock at the back for the Vicente Calderon side and forms the best central defensive partnership with Diego Godin. The ever reliable presence of Miranda at the back is the key reason for Atletico’s counter attacking success this season.
Miranda’s teammate Filipe Luis completes our back four. Luis, with his excellent defending, provides a constant threat for the opposite team which makes him arguably the best left back in Spain at the moment.
Midfield: Modric, Cani, Iniesta
Since their return to the Primera Division, Villareal have been in excellent form, and Cani has been the locomotive of their skillful midfield.
Under new coach Carlo Ancelotti, Modric (along with Ronaldo) has been the most consistent starter and performer at Real Madrid. The absence of Xabi Alonso for the majority of the season has helped Modric to cement his place it seems, as the Serbian is the principle playmaker for Madrid now.
With a drop in Xavi’s performance levels, Iniesta is the most important technician and exponent of the passing for Barcelona. Iniesta might not have scored enough goals to his name, but his consistent displays are the key reason Barcelona are enjoying the top spot in La Liga.
Attack: Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, Neymar
In attack, Cristiano Ronaldo is the obvious choice after scoring 18 goals from his 16 games in La Liga this term.
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa is the highest scorer in top five league’s of Europe (19 in 17), and an automatic selection for the No. 9 role.
Neymar moved to FC Barcelona amidst big fanfare and it seems that the Brazilian has settled in well at Camp Nou. He is the focal point of Barca’s attack in Messi’s absence, and he has handled the responsibility quite well by scoring 6 goals and providing 8 assists.