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In the presence of such massive stars as Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Suarez, it’s very easy for other players in La Liga to get lost in the shadows. In fact, the Spanish league is full of technically-gifted players that rarely make the headlines.
So, with the start of the new season just around the corner, it seems like a good time to check out some of the up-and-coming talent that will be gracing the Spanish grass this term.
Team: Las Palmas
Born: Buenos Aires, Argentina
With notable clubs such as Celtic and Real Sociedad knocking on the door, it seemed inevitable that newly-promoted Las Palmas would lose the player that spearheaded their successful promotion campaign last term.
Therefore, it was considered something of a coup when the Canary Islanders secured the services of the former Boca Juniors striker on a permanent basis this summer.
For Araujo, the decision to stay was easy. After three years of being loaned out by his parent club, the youngster had finally found an environment where he felt comfortable and could express himself on the pitch.
With a record of 25 goals in 43 matches, it is no surprise that coach Paco Herrera was so keen to hang on to the 23-year-old ahead of their new La Liga adventure.
Team: Eibar (on loan from Atletico Madrid)
Incredibly, Borja ‘Baston’ Gonzalez has been an Atletico Madrid player since the age of four. Originally a goalkeeper, he later switched positions and established himself as a talented centre forward. After scoring prolifically for the B team, he was promoted to the first team at the age of 17 and spent the subsequent five seasons out on loan.
Last year, he was sent to Segunda Division side Real Zaragoza and scored 23 goals in 39 appearances making him the highest ever scorer for the club at second division level. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury late in the season and missed some vital games.
Despite his absence, the club from Aragon still made it to the play-offs but missed out on promotion after losing in the final to Las Palmas.
Hid performances attracted interest from many clubs, but Atletico were reluctant to agree to a permanent sale and another loan move was agreed.
As a result, the player known as ‘Baston’ will get a chance to prove himself in the top flight this season as he lines up for Basque club SD Eibar.
Born: Rincón de Soto, Spain
Club: Real Sociedad
Despite being just 22 years of age, the Riojan-born midfielder has already made more than 120 first team appearances for the team from San Sebastian. Last season, he reaffirmed his position in La Real midfield after impressing new coach David Moyes with a run of top class performances.
The youngster does not look out of place alongside such experienced heads as Esteban Granero and Xabi Prieto and was the joint-top assist provider for the Basque Country side last season.
In 2011 he was part of the Spanish national team that won the European Under-19 Championship in Romania and has since made seven appearances for the Under-21s.
Born: Florence, Italy
Team: Real Betis
Since making his one and only appearance for his home-town club Fiorentina in 2010, the young right-back has spent his career on loan at clubs in Italy and Spain.
Last year, his spell at Real Betis was hampered by injury but he did enough to convince coach Pepe Mel that he deserved a permanent contract.
The four-year deal includes a buyback option for the Italian club.
Born: Gijon, Spain
Team: Sporting Gijon
Pablo Pérez is surely a name that football fans will be hearing much more of in the coming years. At just 22 years of age, the former Gijon academy player has already developed into one of Spain most exciting midfielders.
His rise through the ranks has been meteoric and despite only making his first team debut last year, he has already chalked up 40 appearances and seven goals.
Well aware of the talent on their hands, Sporting wasted no time in putting a new five-year contact (with a substantial buyout fee) on the table last November.
Written by Neil Morris
Follow Neil on Twitter @nmorris01
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