La Liga XI
La Liga XI (4-3-3) – Jan Oblak, Jesus Navas, Gerard Pique, Jose Gimenez, Jordi Alba, Rodri, Dani Parejo, Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Pablo Sarabia.
Bench – Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Clement Lenglet, Djene, Giovanni Lo Celso, Iago Aspas, Wissam Ben Yedder, Luis Suarez.
The 18/19 league season has been plain sailing for everyone associated with Futbol Club Barcelona. The Catalan giants are nine points clear at the top of the table and with five games left to play, they look to have yet another league title in the bag.
For Real Madrid, it’s all gone downhill since the Champions League Final in Kyiv last summer and they haven’t really been in the mix for major honours this season. Across the capital, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid sit second in the table but as far as the league season is concerned, they failed to give Barcelona a run for their money.
Jan Oblak’s selection in goal should come as no surprise. Despite ter Stegen’s heroics for Barcelona, the Slovakian shot-stopper’s form has been otherworldly. After 33 match-days, Atletico Madrid have conceded a meagre 21 league goals this season, second only to Liverpool across Europe’s top 5 leagues and a large part of it is down to Oblak. Despite their defence not being at their imperious best this season, Oblak has constantly bailed them out on numerous occasions this season and is looking increasingly like the best goalkeeper in the world.
At right back, Sevilla’s hometown hero Jesus Navas makes the cut. The Spanish veteran has been in sublime form this season and he’s used all his experience to thrive in an unfamiliar position. The midfield trio of Rodri, Dani Parejo and Ivan Rakitic have been consistent throughout the season and it would be a crime to leave any of them out.
Lionel Messi has had a fantastic season even by his lofty standards and the greatest player to ever grace the game was the first name on the team sheet. Karim Benzema spearheads in the attack as a reward for his scintillating form this season. The Frenchman has been Real Madrid’s most consistent performer this season and has racked up 21 goals, second only to Leo Messi. Pablo Sarabia completes the attack and he’s been one of the standout players in the Spanish top flight this season. The 26-year-old’s ability to score as well as providing assists for his teammates stands out in particular. He’s racked up an impressive 11 and 11 assists in 29 games.
Honourable mentions – Mario Hermoso, Santi Cazorla, Arthur Melo, Jaime Mata, Christhian Stuani, Sergio Canales.Published 23 Apr 2019, 22:20 IST