Hassan Chamas

With the end of this La Liga season drawing ever closer in Spain, here is a list of eleven ideal players that constitute the best the league has had to offer this term:

Goalkeeper – Victor Valdes (Barcelona):

This year, Victor Valdes firmly established himself as one of Spain’s best keepers, and as such, opened the debate yet again as to who should be La Roja’s first-choice custodian for the World Cup in South Africa. Vicente del Bosque might hold Iker Casillas as an undisputed starter, but Valdes's showings this term have surely earned him the right for his very first call-up. A third Zamora trophy for best keeper in the league all but confirms the abilities of Barcelona’s number 1.

Right back – Daniel Alves (Barcelona):

The marauding full-back had yet another impressive season at the Camp Nou, dismantling one defence after another, as his particular link-up with Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez caused the opposition headaches. His only reproach seems to be his poor-defensive qualities, but with the way the champions play their football, rarely has the former Sevillista been under the microscope.

Centre back – Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid):

After a good start to the season that saw Ramos rediscover his 2007/08 form, Pepe’s campaign-ending injury forced Manuel Pellegrini to reshuffle his back four and as such, the Chilean inserted the Spaniard as a centre back alongside Raul Albiol. Clearly not his favourite position, Sergio Ramos nonetheless was equally impressive and composed, showing no signs of discomfort playing in front of Casillas. However, he will revert back to his original right back role for Spain at the World Cup.

Centre back – Carles Puyol (Barcelona):

The Barcelona façade has been brilliant this term, continuing fine form that started during Barcelona’s sextuple campaign last year. His colossal performance against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou alone makes him one of this season’s finest defenders, as the Catalan captain was his team’s best player, keeping Real Madrid at bay for the entire match with a jaw-dropping display.

Left back – Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid):

The Real Madrid canterano never expected such heights after coming back home following stints at Deportivo La Coruna and Liverpool. Originally conceived as a rotation player, Arbeloa’s eye-catchy performances earned him a definite starting position. Moreover, the easiness with which he slots on either flanks make him a valuable card for Pellegrini. A €5M signing, Arbeola is worth much more to Los Blancos now.

Defensive midfielder – Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid):

Exactly what Real Madrid needed, Xabi Alonso landed in Madrid as the final piece in the jigsaw of their summer puzzle. After enduring a rough start to his Merengue career, the former Real Sociedad player formed an amazing understanding with Lassana Diarra, and his passing ability worked to great effect for the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo. Definitely one of Real’s better buys of the summer.

Defensive midfielder – Ever Banega (Valencia CF):

No player has been so impressive this term for Valencia as Ever Banega, as the midfielder that was shipped-off last season to Atletico Madrid came back to his original club this term with a bang, becoming one of Valencia’s best players in a year that has been full of ups and downs for Los Che. A more complete player this season, Banega developed excellent playmaking abilities in the wake of David Silva’s absences. His performances for Valencia have surely earned him a call to Diego Maradona’s Argentina squad.

Right winger – Lionel Messi (Barcelona):

With 40 goals this season so far and one excellent display after another, it is really hard for Lionel Messi not to keep his status as the world’s best player before the end of 2010. Europe might have witnessed flashes of brilliance from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben and Wayne Rooney, but Messi was hands down above all the names. His accomplishments are too many to list, but after a strong showing for Barcelona and possibly with Argentina at the World Cup, it wouldn’t be surprising if Messi surpasses as certain Biancoceleste icon as Argentina’s best ever player.

Attacking midfielder – Xavi (Barcelona):

Xavi Hernandez seems to be continuing form that started at Euro 2008. The Barcelona midfield kingpin is without a doubt the best central midfielder in the world, and he has delivered one outrageous assist after another this term, having a great hand in Lionel Messi’s 40 goals. Furthermore, his importance was there for everyone to see in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final tie against Inter, where the Nerazzurri players almost paralyzed the Blaugrana by keeping the player on a short leash.

Left winger – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid):

The world’s most expensive player has made an easy transition from Manchester to Madrid, scoring 20 goals in 24 league outings so far this year, and six goals in seven Champions League games. Except for a couple of suspensions, Ronaldo has never had a bad match in a Real Madrid shirt, and will be one of Los Blancos’ main players in their quest for first spot in La Liga over the next few years. Florentino Perez always mentioned how Zinedine Zidane was the “cheapest” of his buys as “Zizou” repaid the faith shown in him. With Cristiano Ronaldo however, the president might have changed his opinion.

Striker – David Villa (Valencia CF):

David Villa endured one of Valencia’s hardest seasons this year, with The Bats failing to carry on the same rhythm as Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, that has not prevented “El Guaje” from scoring 20 goals so far this season, keeping his team well in contention for third place in the standings. Having the wonderful support system of Silva, David Villa, Joaquin and Ever Banega, Spain’s 7 has the ability to increase his current tally.

Coach – Josep Guardiola (Barcelona):

Having ascended to the apex of world football following an unprecedented season in his club’s history, “Pep” has carried on his team’s good run this year, with Barcelona first in the league standings and in the Champions League semi-finals. His effect on the club has been marvelous, and is the main reason behind the Blaugrana’s magnificent football, a style which has made them the envy of all of Europe.



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