La Liga is one of the best leagues in the development of young players and I’ve picked my top 4 that you should look out for in the next coming years. These are my picks and just who I think can go on to achieve great things in their careers. Some have been in and around La Liga for a while but there are some who are going to get the attention they truly deserve.
I’m going to start with a personal favourite, Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara. He has been around the Barcelona first team for a while but he is still relatively young and he has the potential to be one the best ever. Thiago’s ideal position is Central Midfield or attacking midfielder. I think he plays best when more advanced than the other Barcelona Midfielders. At such a young age he has already achieved so much, 3 league titles, 1 champions leagues and 1 Copa Del Rey, not bad for 21 year old. He has many strengths and only a few weaknesses. His main strength for me is his first class touch and how well he copes under pressure, vital for any Central midfielder. Having a good first touch can change a game in an instant. The way he copes when surrounded by opposition players is a joy to watch, he doesn’t panic and very rarely gives the ball away. With Xavi’s career coming to end is Thiago the perfect replacement? Thiago comes from a footballing family, his dad won the world cup in 1994, his brother, Rafinha is also a footballer for Barcelona and his cousin plays for Benfica in Portugal. The only downside to his game is he isn’t very physical for CM, in order to be the perfect midfielder he needs to become bigger physically. He also lacks concentration with him this season losing key passes a few times which have led to Barcelona conceding.
If you have watched the recent 3 Clasico’s then my next player of focus will be very familiar to you, Raphael Varane. Varane is one of those players that you can tell from a young age he was going to be an amazing defender. I’ve watched him from about 2008 when he was at lens at France and I knew from then that it wouldn’t be long till a bigger club come knocking. I was right, who came knocking? Only one of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid. Varane was signed by Real Madrid in 2011 and was persuaded to join by Zinedine Zidane. Varane is starting to show his class and talent this season with him being a vital part of the Real Madrid team. His key strengths include his lightning pace which we have seen first-hand in the recent Clasico’s. He also very strong and has a fantastic aerial ability, which in the Clasico’s we have seen with him scoring 2 headers and winning key headers. With these strengths he is what I see as the perfect CB, he has everything you need to make it as a defender. He can compete with most players in the game. He is also the perfect modern day centre back. Varane has taken his first team chances well and I think if he stays at this performance level he could easily go on to be one the best defenders ever.
Next up is Malaga’s Isco, a central attacking midfielder or a winger. Isco is hotly tipped as the next big thing and has dozens of clubs knocking at his door. Isco has a value of around £15-£20 million which is more than affordable for most of the clubs that are after him. In 2012 Isco won the Golden boy award beating off players like Christian Erisken, Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Gotze, Not bad eh? In the summer of 2012 Malaga sold Santi Cazorla to Arsenal and this move helped Isco progress. As you’d expect Isco was always going to be in Cazorla’s shadow at Malaga and wouldn’t be given as much of a chance but when Santi was sold Isco was given the chance and fitted the huge hole perfectly well. He has a fantastic technical ability and has a good eye. He also reads the game well and knows where to pass the ball before he’s even got it . Isco also has the ability to split a defence with a single pass. He also has an added bonus in his locker, he can shoot quite well, a superb attribute for any attacking midfielder.
Iker Munian. I don’t know where to start with him there is so much I could say about him. Iker is 20 but has been around the Athletic first team for what feels like a million years. He made his first team debut as a 16 year old. I feel that Iker has the potential to replace Xavi/Iniesta in the Spain squad as the creator of the goals. Iker has been dubbed as the ‘Spanish Messi’ by some Spanish press. Iker has great close control and has lots of flair is which is what you want from your wingers. In the time I’ve been watching Iker (about 2009) I have noticed he is hard to track because he is constantly on the move moving infield then back out wide before the defenders can get close to him. If Iker can stay injury free and continue to progress at the rate he has done then I don’t see why he can’t go on to be one of the best Spanish players ever. Another key point on Munian is he uses the ball well and very rarely makes a mistake when on the ball. A truly fantastic talent and real joy to watch.