5 Spanish starlets that have shone in La Liga this season
The 2017-2018 La Liga season has entered its home stretch as the identities of the champions-elect, the UEFA Champions League/Europa League qualifiers for next season as well as the candidates fighting to escape relegation to Segunda.
Barcelona have been near-imperious in the league and it is only a matter of when and not if the Catalans will lift their seventh league title in the last ten years.
Madrid giants; Atletico and Real have secured their places in next year's Champions League while fourth-placed Valencia is almost certain of its return to Europe's elite competition after a brief hiatus.
It has been a strange season where the big guns; Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann among others took their sweet time to get into the groove for the season.
La Liga has witnessed an explosion of Spanish talent: new/existing this season. Last season, the league's fans became fully aware of young Spanish talents like Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Alvaro Odriozola and Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Pablo Fornals (then Malaga) and many more.
This season, more young & eager Spanish talents have shone brightly guaranteeing that La Furia Roja (The Red Fury) will have more options in the future.
Here are 5 of the very best/previously unheralded Spanish talent who have set La Liga on fire this season:
#5 Portu (Girona)
By no means a youngster (aged 25), the former Valencia youth product is one of the many graduates of Los Che's famed academy who have come to limelight elsewhere in recent times (like Isco at Malaga and Jaume Costa at Villarreal).
Signed by the Catalan side last season in their eventually successful promotion challenge, the 5'10' attacking midfielder who has been playing as a striker this season has been brilliant for the team with the second smallest stadium in the history of La Liga (the Estadi Montilivi holds just 9,200 spectators).
Portu has formed a very productive partnership with experienced Uruguayan Christian Stuani and both players have been central to Girona's surprising push for a UEFA Europa League spot next season as the Blanquivermell (White and Reds) are currently eight on the table, 3 points behind sixth-placed Villarreal with 7 matches to go.
He has scored 11 goals and provided 4 assists this season and though any hopes of a call-up for Spain's World Cup squad is a pipe dream at best, if he continues this vein of form next season, he could get a look-in.