Connect in the back of the net


Alphonse Areola, Villarreal

There haven’t been many stand-out goalkeepers in La Liga this season with Keylor Navas perhaps still the best of the bunch.

However Villarreal’s Alphonse Areola has had a very solid campaign that has suggested he could return to parent club PSG and compete for the number one jersey with the French champions.

The Yellow Submarine of course would love to have him back at El Madrigal next season as they prepare for the Champions League.



Yuri, Real Sociedad

The Real Sociedad left-back can look back on a good season despite missing the opening couple of months.

He starred in victories over Levante, Granada and most memorably away at Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao and was certainly one of the bright lights in an otherwise forgettable season at the Anoeta.


Shkodran Mustafi, Valencia

Mustafi is one of the few players in this team that has got a fair amount of praise but when you consider what kind of mess Valencia might have been in without him, he certainly warrants his place in this eleven.

He has had to do a lot of defending this year and most of it has been very good, which is impressive considering how uncertain many of his fellow Valencia defenders have been.


Pedro Bigas, Las Palmas

Las Palmas were one of the surprise packages this year in their first season back in La Liga and centre-back Pedro Bigas was one of their star performers.

He put in plenty of assured defensive displays and also chipped in with some crucial goals as Las Palmas climbed away from danger in the second half of the season.


Roberto Rosales, Malaga

It would have been criminal not to include a Malaga defender in this team given they conceded less than a goal per game this season and boasted the joint 4th best defensive record in La Liga.

Venezuelan right back Roberto Rosales did his defensive duties pretty well but also was one of their most creative players with 5 assists in a team that otherwise often lacked inspiration going forward.



Casemiro, Real Madrid

Real Madrid players are clearly highly scrutinised but one man who seems to continually go under the radar is Casemiro, who has been one of their top performers this season and a big reason for their improvement in the second half of the campaign by which time he’d become a regular.

He topped it all off with an outstanding display in the Champions League final and could finally be rewarded with a regular run in the Brazilian side and greater recognition by the Real Madrid faithful.


Asier Illarramendi, Real Sociedad

Following an unremarkable spell at the Bernabeu, Illarramendi had largely been written off as someone not quite cut out for the very highest level but he’s gone some way to restoring his reputation this season back in the Basque Country.

He does the simple things very well and has had a great 2016 in particular yet continues to be completely overlooked by the Spanish national team.


Raúl García, Athletic Bilbao

Another man who has experienced something of a re-invention this year has been Raúl García. Having had to settle for being a bit-part player at the Vicente Calderon over the last three seasons, he has shown his true worth at San Mames and has flourished with the extra responsibility of being one of the team’s chief playmakers.

He’s netted 11 La Liga goals and created 7 in all competitions and will certainly have no regrets about his move away from Atleti.



Jonathan Viera, Las Palmas

When Jonathan Viera re-joined Las Palmas for just €900,000 last summer few would have expected him to have this much of an impact.

Despite rarely being used as the main centre forward, he has chipped in with 10 La Liga goals for the newly promoted club and created a further 9 as Las Palmas achieved a safe mid-table finish.


Youssef El-Arabi, Granada

There have been several strikers that have enjoyed good seasons at the smaller clubs but a special mention must go to Youssef El-Arabi. The Moroccan striker netted 16 goals in just 27 La Liga starts and without him Granada surely would have been relegated.

What’s more he did it when it mattered most, scoring 8 goals in the final 8 games of the season as the Andalusian side again beat the drop.


Pablo Sarabia, Getafe

Getafe may have ultimately gone down but one man who surely deserves another crack at the top echelons of La Liga is Pablo Sarabia.

Whether played on the left, right or through the middle, Sarabia was one of Getafe’s most dangerous attacking players and finished the season in great form although it wasn’t quite enough to keep his club afloat.


Written by Mark Sochon

Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol

Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!

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