Who Is The Star of LaLiga Now The List of Top Potential Players
Two of the biggest players of LaLiga, Cristano Ronaldo and Messi have departed, and now one huge important question needs the answer: Who is the star of LaLiga now, which is still up to debate.
As we begin the first Spanish season without Lionel Messi in 17 years, the debate about who is the biggest star in LaLiga Santander has been thrown wide open.
Add to Messi's departure, that of his new teammate Sergio Ramos and LaLiga Santander has lost two of its biggest figures.
For years, LaLiga Santander had the privilege of being the home of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the top two players on the planet at the time and two of the best ever competing for the title on opposing sides of one of football's biggest rivalries.
Now, with both players gone, there is no one standout candidate, so we ask: who is the star of LaLiga now?
Luckily, there are plenty of players in the frame as Spain's top flight remains brimming with world-class talent, players who are a joy to watch and would be the envy of most teams the world over.
Let's take a look at some of the candidates before you have your say.
Jan Oblak, the top No.1
Photo: BeIN Sports
Jan Oblak (born 7 January 1993) is a Slovenian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Spanish club Atletico Madrid and captains the Slovenia national team. He is frequently ranked as one of the greatest goalkeepers in history of football.
Oblak signed for Portuguese club Benfica at the age of 17, and was part of the team that won the domestic treble in the 2013–14 season. In 2014 he moved to Atletico Madrid for a fee of €16 million, becoming La Liga's most expensive goalkeeper at the time. In 2015–16 he won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy for best goalkeeper, conceding an all-time record low of 18 goals. He won the award again in the following three seasons, and for a fifth time in 2021. Oblak was also nominated for the 2017 and 2018 Ballon d'Or awards, following his consistent performances with his club.
With over 300 appearances for Atletico Madrid, Oblak has won four trophies with the club, including the 2020–21 edition of La Liga.
Oblak made his senior international debut for Slovenia in 2012, and has been named Slovenian Footballer of the Year on five occasions.
Karim Benzema, still lethal
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Karim Mostafa Benzema (born 19 December 1987) is a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Real Madrid and the France national team. He is known for his aerial ability, workrate, playmaking and finishing. Benzema is regarded as one of the best strikers in world football.
Born in Lyon, Benzema began his senior career with hometown club Olympique Lyonnais in 2005, contributing sporadically to three Ligue 1 title wins. In 2008, he was named the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Player of the Year and in the Team of the Year as he finished as the league's top goalscorer and won his fourth title and first Coupe de France. In 2009, Benzema was the subject of a then French record association football transfer when signed for Real Madrid in a transfer worth €35 million.
After struggling to establish himself in his debut season, Benzema eventually reached prominence at Real Madrid and has won thirteen trophies, including three La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, and four UEFA Champions League titles, and ranks as the club's fifth all-time top goalscorer, as well as their all-time top assist provider. While at Real Madrid, Benzema has also been named French Player of the Year three times.
A French international, Benzema won the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Championship and made his senior debut for France in 2007, at age 19. He has since earned over 80 caps, including scoring in three and appearing in four major tournaments: the 2008, 2012 and 2020 editions of the UEFA European Championship, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He scored his first goal in a friendly against Austria, and ranks as his nation's joint-sixth all-time top goalscorer. Benzema was controversially left out of the squad for the 2010 World Cup, and did not play for France for over five years after being implicated in a publicised scandal involving blackmail in 2015; he returned to the squad for UEFA Euro 2020.
Antoine Griezmann, without Messi's shadow
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Antoine Griezmann (born 21 March 1991) is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for La Liga club Barcelona and the France national team.
Griezmann began his senior club career playing for Real Sociedad, and won the Segunda División title in his first season. In 2014, Griezmann moved to Atletico Madrid for a then-club record €30 million, where he won the UEFA Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup, the Supercopa de España, and La Liga Best Player. He was nominated for both the Ballon d'Or and Best FIFA Men's Player in 2016 and 2018, and also ranks as the club's fifth-highest all-time top goalscorer. In 2019, Griezmann was the subject of a record association football transfer when signed for rivals Barcelona in a transfer worth €120 million, becoming the fifth-most expensive player of all time. There, he has won a Copa del Rey.
At international level, Griezmann won the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, made his senior debut for France in 2014 at age 23, and has since appeared in four major tournaments. He finished as top goalscorer and was voted Player of the Tournament as France finished runner-up at UEFA Euro 2016. Griezmann won the Silver Boot as the second highest goalscorer as France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup; he also won the Bronze Ball as the tournament's third best player, and was named Man of the Match in the final.
Luis Suarez, the champion striker
Luis Alberto Suarez Díaz ( born 24 January 1987) is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Atletico Madrid and the Uruguay national team. Regarded as one of the best players of his generation, and one of the greatest strikers of all time, Suarez has won nineteen major trophies in his career, including seven league titles and a UEFA Champions League at club level, as well as the 2011 Copa America with Uruguay. Suarez has won two European Golden Shoes, an Eredivisie Golden Boot, a Premier League Golden Boot, and the Pichichi Trophy. He has scored over 500 career goals for club and country.
Nicknamed El Pistolero ('The Gunman'), Suarez began his senior club career at Nacional in 2005. At age 19, he signed for Groningen, before transferring to Ajax in 2007. There, he won an Eredivisie title and KNVB Cup. In 2011, Suarez signed for Premier League club Liverpool, and won the League Cup in his first full season. In 2014, he equalled the goalscoring record for a 38-game Premier League season and won his first European Golden Shoe. That summer, Suarez moved to Barcelona in a transfer worth €82.3 million (£64.98 million), making him one of the most expensive players in football history.
David Alaba, the new Ramos
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David Olatukunbo Alaba (born 24 June 1992) is an Austrian professional footballer who plays for La Liga club Real Madrid and captains the Austria national team. Alaba has played in a multitude of roles, including central midfield and left wing, but primarily plays as a left-back, and more recently as a centre-back. He is widely regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.
Alaba made over 400 appearances for Bayern Munich since 2010, winning 27 honours including ten Bundesliga titles and two UEFA Champions League titles in 2013 and 2020, both as part of trebles. He was voted Austrian Footballer of the Year on seven occasions (including six consecutive times from 2011 to 2016), and named in the UEFA Team of the Year three times.
He is Austria's second youngest player to play for their senior national team, debuting for them in 2009 as a 17-year-old. He has earned over 80 caps and represented his country at UEFA Euro 2016 and UEFA Euro 2020.
Pedri, a prospect no more
Pedro Gonzalez López (born 25 November 2002), known as Pedri, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for La Liga club Barcelona and the Spain national team.
Pedri is regarded as one of the most promising young footballers in the world in the football media. Although he is often described as a winger by pundits, Pedri usually plays in a free role, which allows him to roam the pitch; he likes to occupy central areas and operate between the lines, although he is also capable of moving out wide and running towards the touchline to create chances for teammates. He even drops deep to the defence to pick up the ball. He normally situates himself on either the left or right flank, or even as a number 8. Indeed, although he initially played as a winger, he was later moved to a central midfield role, although he is also capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, as well as in several other offensive and midfield roles. Pedri is a quick, intelligent, creative, and hard-working player, who is known for his excellent technical skills, ball control, passing, awareness, and vision, as well as his ability to manage himself in tight spaces, exploit gaps, and play the final ball or penetrating passes, which makes him an effective playmaker.
Gerard Moreno, the national goalscorer
Gerard Moreno Balagueró (born 7 April 1992) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a striker for La Liga club Villarreal and the Spain national team.
In his career, he has played for Villarreal, Mallorca and Espanyol, winning the 2021 Europa League and two Zarra Trophies with the first club.
Moreno made his full debut for Spain in 2019, being part of the squad at UEFA Euro 2020.
Moreno was never capped for Spain at any youth level. He made his senior debut on 15 October 2019, playing the entire 1–1 draw in Sweden for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers. One month later, for the same competition and also as a starter, he scored his first goal in a 7–0 rout of Malta in Cadiz for the already qualified hosts. On 18 November, he added a brace in the 5–0 victory over Romania, being included in Luis Enrique's 24-man squad for the finals on 24 May 2021.
Marcos Llorente, the complete player
Marcos Llorente Moreno (born 30 January 1995) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder or second striker for La Liga club Atletico Madrid and the Spain national team.
Llorente earned his first cap for the Spain under-21 side on 10 October 2016, featuring the entire 5–0 home defeat of Estonia for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifiers, in Pontevedra. He was called up to the senior squad in November 2020, for a friendly against the Netherlands and UEFA Nations League qualifiers with Switzerland and Germany. He made his first appearance against the first opponent, replacing Sergio Canales for the last 18 minutes of the 1–1 draw in Amsterdam.
On 24 May 2021, Llorente was included in Spain's 24-man squad for UEFA Euro 2020. He was deployed as right back during the tournament.
Memphis Depay, Barcelona's big hope
Memphis Depay (born 13 February 1994), also known simply as Memphis, is a Dutch footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Barcelona and the Netherlands national team.
He began his professional career with PSV Eindhoven, scoring 50 goals in 124 games across all competitions. As the top scorer with 22 goals in 30 games, he helped the team win the 2014–15 Eredivisie title. He joined Manchester United in May 2015 for a reported £25 million fee. After disappointing spells at Manchester United, he joined Lyon in January 2017. The initial transfer fee was estimated to be £16–17 million, potentially rising to £22 million with the add-ons.
Depay was part of the Dutch under-17 team which won the 2011 European Championship. He made his senior debut in 2013, and the following year was part of their squad which came third at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
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