Goal runs through the best players in the Spanish top flight in 2013-14 and picks out the top 11 performers over the course of the campaign
As La Liga approaches its finale, three teams are still fighting for the title. Atletico, Barcelona and Real Madrid all remain in the hunt for the Primera Division crown, led from the front by their world-class forwards.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa have undoubtedly been the biggest stars this season in La Liga, but who else makes it into the Goal XI for the domestic campaign in Spain? All is revealed here …
Keylor Navas was key for Levante on Sunday as they frustrated league leaders Atletico in a 2-0 win in Valencia, but the Costa Rican’s fine form is nothing new in 2013-14 and he has helped his side to an impressive 15 clean sheets in the Primera Division, making numerous superb saves along the way.
Previously a talented prospect but far too inconsistent, Federico Fazio has come on in leaps and bounds for Sevilla under Unai Emery and has been one of the Andalusians’ finest performers throughout the season, which saw them challenging for a place in the Champions League up until last week.
Diego Godin has been even more impressive for Atletico and is the undisputed leader at the back for Diego Simeone’s side, while he has also popped up with an important goal or two for the Rojiblancos this term.
Another to impress at the back is Athletic Bilbao youngster Aymeric Laporte, who made his breakthrough for the Basque side this season and has blossomed in central defence in his side’s run to fourth place, attracting interest from Barcelona along the way.
Gareth Bale was an expensive summer signing for Real Madrid at €100m, but the Welshman has been on fine form in La Liga, netting 14 goals in 26 appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s side and setting up many others.
The Welsh winger’s former Tottenham team-mate Luka Modric has also impressed, pulling the strings in midfield for Los Blancos in his second season at the Santiago Bernabeu and earning rave reviews from the Spanish press after initial question marks over his suitability last season.
Another Croat, Ivan Rakitic, is included following his dynamic displays this season for Sevilla. Probably the best midfielder in the first half of the campaign, the 26-year-old is adored by fans at the Sanchez Pizjuan and has been watched by many of Europe’s top teams in recent months.
Another player attracting interest at home and abroad is Koke, one of the standout performers in Atletico’s amazing season in La Liga. Still only 22, the youngster has developed a fine understanding with Diego Costa and is in with a strong chance of making Spain’s World Cup squad next month.
Diego Costa has led the line superbly for Atletico this season and taken his goalscoring to a new level since the summer departure of Radamel Falcao to Monaco. The Brazil-born striker has struck 27 times for Diego Simeone’s side, and many of them have proven crucial for the double-chasing Rojiblancos.
Despite injury this term, Lionel Messi has been Barcelona’s go-to guy as usual and the Argentine has netted 28 times in La Liga. In what has been a troublesome campaign for the Catalan club, the 26-year-old has continued his fantastic form in the Primera Division and been the Blaugrana‘s best player once again.
Cristiano Ronaldo has also been outstanding for Real Madrid and the Portuguese looks likely to claim the Pichichi prize for the league’s highest scorer as he has 31 goals with three fixtures still remaining. The 29-year-old has also missed matches through injury and suspension, but is scoring at the most prolific rate of his career and his late leveller in the 2-2 draw at home to Valencia on Sunday was his 50th of the season in all competitions.