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5 underrated La Liga defenders

La Liga have a number of top class defenders
La Liga have a number of top class defenders
imkaulik

A lot of focus and hype in La Liga is frequently around the top three - Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid. It is understandable given the stature of these clubs in the world game.

However, even outside these clubs, there is plenty of talent. This talent frequently seems to go under the radar, unfortunately. Here we look at five defenders from La Liga who have had a great season, but haven't recieved the necessary praise or attention.


#5 Jorge Cuenca

Jorge Cuenca in action for Getafe
Jorge Cuenca in action for Getafe

Getafe looked down and out when they spent the entire first part of the season dead last. Since that, they rapidly improved and Jorge Cuenca was a big reason for the same.

The former Barca academy graduate has found his feet quickly in the first division. The 22-year-old is originally owned by Villarreal who consider him to be the successor if Pau Torres is sold.

Cuenca has shown that he is capable of comfortably playing in a 3 or 4 at the back. Another added bonus is that he's left footed which a lot of clubs like. This season he tackled 66.7 percent of the dribblers facing him while also maintaining a 87.2 percent successful dribble percentage himself.


#4 Alex Moreno

Alex Moreno
Alex Moreno

This season, Alex Moreno took the step up from being an inconsistent talent to an absolute force down the left side. He had a fantastic season for Real Betis who are flying at the moment.

The Spanish left-back managed to score five and assist three goals this season. Apart from that, he also averaged 1.93 tackles in the defensive third per game. He also carries the ball into the box 0.8 times a game and carries it into the final third 2.35 times per match.

Moreno has really worked on his defensive output this season as well as his shooting to take him to the next level.


#3 David Garcia

David Garcia is among the best players in the La Liga
David Garcia is among the best players in the La Liga

In this era where the focus is on ball-playing defenders, David Garcia is a throwback. He is an absolute rock, a no-nonsense defender. Despite not being the tallest when it comes to centre-backs, Garcia is phenomenal in the air.

He wins a massive 4.61 aerial duels per game and since 2019-20, no one in the league has won more aerial duels than him.

DAVID GARCÍA 3️⃣No-one has scored more headed goals than this Osasuna man this season.Linked with Atlético Madrid earlier this week, his strike has levelled the game vs Barcelona.#LLL🧡🇪🇸⚽️ https://t.co/FbCh9mQt7f

This also helps in the opponent's box, as he has scored four times this season. He also clears the ball 5.91 times per 90 while also recovering it 11.07 times a game. He has been strongly linked with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, so we might see him move from Osasuna soon.


#2 Javi Galan

Javi Galan is among the best defenders in the La Liga
Javi Galan is among the best defenders in the La Liga

Javi Galan has been one of the best fullbacks in La Liga for a couple of years now. His biggest strength is the fact that he is extremely balanced. He is a tenacious tackler and presser, as displayed by his numbers.

Galan's 5.89 successful pressures and 3.47 tackles per 90 are some of the highest in the league. In possession, he is one of the best ball progressors and dribblers in the world. Galan averages 2.43 carries and 1.69 dribbles every game from left back. Barcelona are said to be interested in buying him.


#1 Raul Albiol

Raul Albiol has been a star in the La Liga
Raul Albiol has been a star in the La Liga

Raul Albiol has had a long and successful career. He has had great spells at Valencia, Real Madrid, Napoli, and now at Villarreal. Plus he has won a World Cup and two European Championships.

All that aside, the level he has found at the age of 36 has been stellar. Although centre-back partner Pau Torres receives more attention, Albiol has undoubtedly had a better season.

Raúl Albiol is rolling back the years. He’s been immense at aggressively stepping out from the back & stopping Mané or Jota linking play and gluing any attacks together. It’s allowed Villarreal to press higher. Even the 2nd goal starts with a phase of play like that from Albiol.

His defensive nous and leadership were extremely crucial for Villarreal as they went on a historic run to the UCL semis. Albiol was instrumental, especially in wins against Juventus and Bayern Munich. At his age, Albiol might not have a lot of seasons left to play, but in 21-22, he was outstanding.


Edited by Akshay Saraswat

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