La Liga has evolved over the past few decades in terms of its tactical and technical aspects. Managers now prefer players who are capable of carrying out versatile duties in multiple roles.
Several defenders have been among the goals in La Liga
The rise of defenders in attacking roles is at an all-time high in La Liga and football in general. Defenders are being used tactically in terms of providing impetus in set-piece situations, midfield overload and support during counter attacking moves.
There has been an increase in defenders who are scoring regularly for their respective clubs due to the changing nature of the sport. On that note, let's take a quick look at the top five La Liga defenders with the highest number of goals in the last decade:
#5 Coke - 17 goals
Jorge 'Coke' Moreno moved to Sevilla at the start of the last decade after earning promotion to La Liga with Rayo Vallecano. After making his first-team debut in La Liga with the Los Nervionenses, the right-back scored his first goal in the 2012-13 season against Real Zaragoza.
Coke also went on to score a second goal in the same game, earning a brace to his name on the scoresheet. The Spaniard rose to the role of captain at Sevilla after the departure of Ivan Rakitic, who joined Barcelona in 2014.
Despite getting into the groove at Sevilla, the full-back spent a couple of seasons at Bundesliga side Schalke before returning to La Liga in 2018. Coke joined Levante on loan due to a lack of game time in Germany. The loan deal was eventually made permanent and he has been a mainstay in the Levante defense ever since.
Coke has gone on to play 195 games with Sevilla and Levante, scoring 17 goals so far in the last decade at the time of writing this article.
#4 Inigo Martinez - 18 goals
Inigo Martinez climbed from the reserve side of his boyhood club, Real Sociedad, to make the first team debut with the Basque-based side in La Liga in the 2011-12 season. The centre-back scored his first La Liga goal with a thunderous strike from inside his own half in a 2-1 loss to Athletic Bilbao during a Basque derby.
Martinez netted four times in 34 matches in the 2012-13 season to guide Sociedad into the UEFA Champions League. The centre-back moved to Sociedad's regional rivals Athletic Bilbao for €32 million in 2018, despite signing a new five-year extension with the club earlier.
The Spaniard scored his first goal for Bilbao with a backheel flick in a home fixture against Real Betis in a 1-0 home win in 2020. He has now played 316 games in La Liga, scoring 18 goals in the last decade, 16 for Real Sociedad and twice for Bilbao.