Thursday, December 9, 2021
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Who are the stars of La Liga after Messi’s departure?

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Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona is a major setback not only for the club but also for the Spanish league as a whole. Messi was the most marketable footballer in the world and the face of La Liga.

His departure leaves a tremendous void in Spanish football, especially since the league, and in particular Barcelona and Real Madrid has been financially ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic and mismanagement.

With Messi’s departure – three years after Cristiano Ronaldo’s – it’s safe to claim that La Liga is devoid of superstars. Not to mention Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, who also left the Primera Division.

So, now that Messi has left, who is the biggest star or finest player? Let’s get started if that sounds appealing.

Current Situation

For years, LaLiga Santander had the honour of hosting Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the finest two players on the planet at the time and two of the best, vying for the title on opposite sides of one of football’s most infamous rivalries.

Now that both players have left, there isn’t a clear frontrunner. Fortunately, there are plenty of players in contention, as Spain’s top division continues to be filled with world-class quality, players who are a joy to watch and the envy of most teams around the world.

Candidates for the Title

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credit – marca.com
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Before we have our say, let’s have a look at some of the contenders for the title of the biggest star or best player.

Jan Oblak

Although LaLiga no longer has the best player in the world, Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid is the finest goalie in the league. The Slovenian has been instrumental in Diego Simeone’s Atleti’s success, winning five Zamora awards.

Karim Benzema

In the post-Cristiano era in Madrid, the French striker has taken on a heavier load of goalscoring while also improving his all-around game and becoming a more complete player. Benzema, who is 33 years old, is still one of, if not the finest, No. 9s in the world.

Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann has so far failed to live up to expectations since his move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona, but now that he is no longer under Messi’s shadow, he could flourish. If the Blaugrana are to be successful this season, the French attacker will have to step up and establish his worth in a role with more freedom but also more responsibility.

Luis Suarez

The Uruguayan’s goals helped Atleti win LaLiga Santander last season, and he’ll be eager to show his worth once more as the Colchoneros seek to retain their championship. Suarez proved his naysayers wrong in 2020-21, proving he’s a champions-worthy no. 9.

David Alaba

Following Sergio Ramos’ transfer to PSG, the versatile Austrian will be Real Madrid’s number four this season. Alaba comes with a big name and a lot of expertise on the big stage. His mission is to guide Los Blancos to victory.

Pedri

The progress of the adolescent Canarian midfielder has been rapid in the previous year, and while he is still only 18, there is a strong case to be made that Pedri is the greatest player in LaLiga Santander. In a short period of time, the Spanish international has established himself as a significant player for both club and country. If he continues to improve, he will become even more important to a Barcelona team without Messi.

Gerard Moreno

For the past two seasons, the Villarreal striker has earned the Zarra Trophy, which honours the top Spanish scorer in LaLiga Santander. In addition, his performance helped the Yellow Submarine win the Europa League in 2021 and qualify for the Champions League. Villarreal will need another strong season from the greatest national goalscorer if they are to cause problems for the top four teams in 2021/22.

Marcos Llorente

It’s difficult to pin Llorente down to a particular position, but the versatile Spaniard was an integral member of Atletico’s title-winning team. The 26-year-old has a knack for scoring crucial goals on big occasions. This season, we’ll see if he makes another leap.

Eden Hazard

The Belgian winger is certainly one of LaLiga’s biggest names, which warrants his inclusion here; not for what he has done, but for what he could achieve in a white shirt in the future. Injuries have plagued the former Chelsea star in recent years, but it may finally be time for him to show what he can do in LaLiga Santander. It might be devastating for the rest of LaLiga if he can recapture his best form.

Memphis Depay

When Messi flew to Paris, the on was put on the Dutch forward to perform, and the Blaugrana will need him to do so, especially in terms of goals, if they are to make a smooth transition into the post-Leo era.

Luka Modric

The Croatian talent is the only player in Spain to have won the Ballon d’Or. He may be 36 years old, but he has proven over the last year that he is still one of the best midfielders in the world, and Los Blancos will rely on him to influence play once more.

Final Thoughts

Nobody will ever be able to compare to Messi, regardless of who wins the title. That is not to argue that exciting football will not be played in Spain. The title competition this season should be just as open as last year’s, with the biggest teams remaining the favourites. However, a change of guard is still in the works. The league is left to pick up the pieces after a war with its most vital teams.

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