The La Liga title race went to the wire and in the end it was Atletico Madrid who pipped city rivals Real Madrid to top spot on the final matchday of the 2020/21 La Liga campaign.
After a season long strive for the top prize, the La Liga Team of the Season comes to the fore front, featuring the 11 best players in the league at their respective positions who had played a clinical role in their club’s rise to glory. It’s the champions Atletico Madrid who dominate the La Liga team of the season, with Real Madrid and Barcelona each have two representatives making the cut.
La Liga Team of the Season:
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
Jan Oblak is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, bar none. He has come up clutch for Atletico time and time again since becoming the first-choice in 2015/16 and is the final and easily the most consistent member of Diego Simeone’s reputed iron wall of a defence. The 28-year-old kept more clean sheets -18 than any other goalkeeper in La Liga this season over the course of 38 games, as the Slovenian notched up yet another Zamora trophy, equaling Victor Valdes and Antoni Ramallets’ incredible record. He had 103 saves to his name in the league, while his save success rate (84.4%) was also the best in the division. Oblak deserves a spot in the best eleven as the Champions of Spain conceded fewer goals (25) than any other team in 2020/21.
Right Back – Jesus Navas (Sevilla)
Donning the captain’s armband, the Spaniard took over the right-back slot at Sevilla and made it his own with little to no competition. He also served as arguably Sevilla’s best player during the run to the Europa League last year, inspiring them to clinical wins. With 63 key passes, Navas ranks fourth among other La Liga creators in the category and is second only to Lionel Messi when it comes to passes into the oppositions penalty area with 84. With six assists to his name in 34 appearances and 1348 passes completed in 1642 attempted, he gets the nod at the right back spot ahead of kieran Trippier of Atletico Madrid.
Centre Back – Jules Kounde (Sevilla)
Jules Kounde is the second Sevilla player and the first picks of two centre backs to feature in this team. At the age of just 22, Kounde is already one of the best youngsters in Europe and one of the most sought after, with interests from Real and Manchester United. In 34 games in the top-flight this campaign, Kounde helped Sevilla to maintain 15 clean sheets and none in the league quite anticipates the game like him, and it shows with how little he actually tackles. he is good on the ball too, as he has accumulated 165 passes into the final third which is the 10th best in the league and second only to Clement Lenglet among defenders.
Centre Back – Stefan Savic (Atletico Madrid)
Atletico Madrid’s Stefan Savic partners Kounde at the back. Stefan Savic’s ill-discipline may have come to the fore again as he was booked more times (15) than any other player but the Montenegrin was key to Atleti’s title triumph. Savic was solid in the air for Diego Simeone’s side, winning an average of 2.8 aerial duels per game. Savic averaged 1.3 interceptions, 1.2 tackles, and 3.1 clearances per game and was only dribbled past once through the course of the campaign.
Left Back – Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
The attacking minded left back and Barcelona’s first entry into this squad, Jordi Alba found his feet under Ronald Koeman pretty quickly and was seldom a doubt in the starting eleven when fit. In 35 appearances, Alba contributed directly with three goals and five assists while averaging a hugely impressive 1.5 key passes per game, as he combined with Messi to create loads of chances up front. He ranks just below our right-back Jesus Navas with 82 passes into the penalty box and has the fourth-highest accumulative expected assists in the league with 7.6. Not to forget, he also has the highest big chances created for any defender with 13 as his defensive workload is largely overshadowed by the efforts he puts in the attack.
Central Midfield – Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid)
Mr Versatile Marcos Llorente played a number of positions for Diego Simeone’s side this season and excelled as he ended the season as one of only two La Liga players to register double figures for both goals (12) and assists (11). His tally of assists was second only to Iago Aspas (13) in Spain’s top tier and a became a crucial player for the champions in no time. His work rate on the field overshadowed everything, with ex-Real Madrid player being quite adept in both attack and defense.
Central Midfield – Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
One of the finest midfielders to grace the game, Toni Kroos came through with yet another sensational season. Real Madrid have suffered through a rocky road of injury troubles all season, and Kroos has missed out on ten games himself due to injury, fatigue and covid issues, but his three goals and ten assists for Real Madrid are enough to see his name being included in the La Liga Team of the Season. In fact, he beats out Lionel Messi as the player with the most key passes per 90 with 2.8 as he also leads the charts for most passes into the final third per 90 with 11.6.
Attacking Midfield – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
The inclusion of Lionel Messi in the team of the season is a no brainer. Messi is inarguably La Liga’s best player this season, as he always has been for the past few seasons in Spain’s top flight. Messi has 30 goals and nine assists in 35 games in the league and averages a goal every 86 minutes, as the top scorer of the league became an automatic pick. He also has the most key passes (77), most players dribbled past (156), most fouls drawn in the Spanish League. If that is is not impressive enough, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner leads the charts for passes into the penalty area (145), through balls (23), progressive passes (317), shot-creating actions (241), goal creating actions (38), progressive carrying distance (8270 yards), and carries into the final third (192) in the top 5 leagues. This years Pichichi trophy winner, Messi has accumulated 22 man of the match awards, with the second most goals scored in leagues in Europe, only behind Lewandowski and his place in this squad needs the least justification.
Left Forward – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid, and now France’s talisman, Karim Benzema, has single-handedly carried all the burden of Madrid’s attack; coming to their rescue one too many times across the season, with other of Madrid’s attacking options well out of touch. With his goal against Villarreal on the final matchday, Benzema ended the season with the joint second-highest goals at 23 and also has brilliant nine assists in the campaign. Only Messi managed more shots than Benzema (123), who has never been as visible as this season, with his ten big chances created and 1.1 key passes per game. His current run of form assured that he would get a much awaited call up to France squad for the upcoming Euros, after six long years.
Central Striker – Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
Luis Suarez, Atletico’s fourth player to be named in this team of the season has been crucial to their rise to the top. After his move from direct rivals Barcelona last summer, Suarez notched up 21 goals in the league along with 3 assists, forming a lethal partnership with Joao Felix at the front for the crowned champions. El Pistolero won his side 21 points from losing positions and undoubtedly deserves mention in this squad, with his goal against Real Valladolid proving crucial in Atletico’s race to become the champions after 7 years.
Right Forward – Gerard Moreno (Villareal)
Gerard Moreno had a direct hand in 50% of Villarreal’s league goals this season, netting 23 and providing an additional seven assists for the Yellow Submarine. Moreno has the third-highest direct goal contributions across Spain and the 11th highest across the top five leagues as he has pushed Villarreal to a UEFA Conference League finish in 7th place and a place in the final of the UEFA Europa League against Manchester United with his clinical match deciding abilities.
Notable Absentees – Thibaut Courtois ,Kieran Trippier, Pau Torres, Javi Galan, Casemiro, Frenkie De Jong and Iago Aspas.