The Ballon d’Or awards were announced on Monday and it proved to be a clean sweep for Spanish football; Lionel Messi lifted his fourth player of the year award in succession, Vicente Del Bosque was named coach of the year and the team of the year were all based in the Primera Division. It is a reflection of Barcelona and Real Madrid’s dominance that all but one of the eleven played for them.
However, whilst some of these players have been boosted by their national notoriety too, other league based players have excelled. It is therefore time to reflect on the first half of the league season in Spain and pick out the most in form eleven players:
Willy Caballero (Malaga CF)
Many fans and pundits alike were worried for Malaga before the season began but they have surprised all with their performances. One key facet to their success has been their defence and Caballero has been outstanding in goal.
Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
It seems like he has never been away. His understanding of the way Barca play is fantastic and already he has made the position his own. Following on from a tremendous European Championships Alba looks set for more glory in 2013.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Despite all the shenanigans at Real Madrid at the moment Ramos has been a rock in defence at times. The gifted, ball playing centre half is still only 26 but seems to have been around forever.
Martin Demichelis (Malaga)
Having conceded the fewest goals in the league so far Demichelis has drawn on all his experience to be the fulcrum at the centre of their defence.
Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
It has been great to see Atletico doing so well this season and Filipe Luis has been an integral part of their success. The Brazilian sustained an injury shortly before the end of the year but will be crucial in Los Rojiblancos chase for Champions League qualification and their defence of the Europa League.
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
Busquets gets better and better with every passing year. The ability to receive the ball and play the correct pass almost every time while at the same time protecting the defence makes him the leading exponent of the defensive midfielder role in world football.
Oscar Gonzalez (Valladolid)
Last season Oscar contributed 13 goals and six assists in Valladolid’s promotion to the Primera. He has carried on where he left off and already has seven goals and four assists to his name this season. He will be vital to the club for the remainder of the season.
Isco’s incredible displays in 2012 have alerted all the major clubs to his potential. A player with incredible technique and a unique ability to beat opponents with ease have reminded many of a young Andres Iniesta, high praise indeed.
Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
The Colombian striker has 17 goals in 16 games so far this season; a record that would make him top scorer in almost every other league in Europe. Whether he has to chip, head or volley the ball at goal it is done with remarkable skill and precision. So far this season he has proved he is a truly world class performer.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
It has been a funny few months in Madrid but the goals just keep on coming. His record in Spain since he arrived is staggering (171 goals in 171 games) and his performances just keep getting better and better. At 27 he is now around his peak, if only it wasn’t for an Argentine he must think…..
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
What more is there to say? The superlatives you can offer simply cannot do justice to the man anymore. Simply the best and the fact that he seems to enjoy it so much only makes everyone like him more.
Written by Andy Hunter
Follow him on Twitter @hunter67980
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