Insider’s La Liga Team of the Season, including the GOAT, a towering Togolese defender, and 2 Real Madrid starlets

Lionel Messi. Getty/Tim Clayton
  • Over the next two weeks, Insider will be revealing its Team of the Season for each of Europe’s top five soccer leagues.
  • These are the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, Spain’s La Liga, and the German Bundesliga.
  • Below is our selection for La Liga, which includes Lionel Messi, a towering Togolese defender, and two Real Madrid starlets.
  • Keep up to date with the series here.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Spain’s elite soccer league, La Liga, returns Thursday, becoming the second of Europe’s major leagues to return after a coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

To celebrate, Insider is releasing its final Team of the Season from Europe’s top leagues.

It would usually be dominated by FC Barcelona and Real Madrid players. But this year, although the clubs from El Clasico still sit first and second in the league respectively, many of their stars have failed to live up to their usual high standards.

Fear not however, for their falterings have paved the way for a number of the Spanish top flight’s lesser known talents to shine, including a Togolese Getafe defender, a former Arsenal and West Ham flop, and a 34-year-old Eibar winger – all of whom my not have stood a chance of being included in the Team of the Season in years gone by.

Read on to see who does, and doesn’t, make Insider’s selection for the best XI of the La Liga campaign so far.

GK: Thibaut Courtois — Real Madrid


Courtois came under heavy fire from Real Madrid fans at the start of the season thanks to a disappointing last campaign and shaky start to this one.

However the Belgian has bounced back brilliantly, keeping 12 clean sheets and conceding just 16 goals in 24 games. He is now firmly on track to become just the second Madrid keeper since 1992 to win the Zamora trophy, which is awarded to the goalkeeper who concedes the fewest goals in La Liga.

RB: Jesus Navas – Sevilla


What Jesus Navas lacks in size and strength, he more than makes up for in speed, guile, and an abnormal work rate.

The Spaniard has been La Liga’s most frequent crosser of the ball this term, while he also tops the tables for progressive passing distance, passes into the penalty area, and touches.

He’s also stopped the 10th most dribblers – proving he can defend effectively too.

CB: Dakonam Djene — Getafe


Getafe’s solid defence was one of the main reasons it unexpectedly qualified for the Europa League last term, and the same is true as it looks set to repeat that feat this year.

At the heart of it is Togolese Dakonam Djene, who has made an average of 2.7 clearances per game and boasts a successful pressure rate of 35.7%.

CB: Felipe — Atletico Madrid


Filling the boots of Diego Godin, who left for Inter Milan last summer, at the Wanda Metropolitano was never going to be easy, but Felipe has more than stood up to the plate.

Never afraid (quite literally) to put his body on the line, the Brazilian has led Atleti’s back line with composure and assurance, which has been much needed in a tumultuous season for Diego Simeone’s side.

LB: Sergio Reguilon — Sevilla


The Real Madrid loanee has proven with Sevilla this season why many at the Santiago Bernabeu see him as the long term successor to Brazilian maestro Marcelo.

Deployed as either a left back or left wing back, Reguilon has been both a force going forward, producing an impressive 1.7 key passes per game and four assists in total, and sturdy at the back.

RM: Lionel Messi — FC Barcelona


As has been the case for the last decade-and-a-half, Lionel Messi has been the best player in La Liga this season.

The atomic Argentine is the division’s current top scorer with 19 goals, its top assist getter with 12, while he’s also dribbled past more players, played more through balls, and created more chances than anyone else.

Stats aside, Messi has once again just been simply mesmerising, magnificent, and magical to watch. No other player in world football comes close to his levels.

CM: Casemiro — Real Madrid


A stalwart in the middle for Madrid this term, Casemiro tops La Liga for tackles attempted, successful tackles, loose balls won, and passes intercepted.

With the more creative players around him faltering, the Brazilian has also chipped in with a useful three goals and two assists – moments which could prove pivotal come the end of the season.

CM: Martin Odegaard — Real Sociedad


Six years after bursting onto the scene as a talented 15-year-old, Martin Odegaard has finally had his breakthrough season.

The classy Norwegian midfielder has scored four goals and produced five assists for Sociedad, but most impressive have been his leadership skills and ability to dictate the game from the middle of the park.

On-loan from Real Madrid, don’t be surprised to see Odegaard starring at the Santiago Bernabeu next term.

LM: Fabian Orellana – Eibar


Eibar would be all but already relegated had it not been for the contribution of Fabian Orellana this term.

Seven goals and six assists not only make it the 34-year-old’s most productive season of his career, but it also means he’s been involved just under half of Eibar’s 27 goals.

ST: Chimy Avila — Osasuna


Avila had his season cut short in January by a torn cruciate ligament, however up until that date the Argentine had been, bar Lionel Messi, the most entertaining player in La Liga to watch.

Nine goals this season isn’t exactly a groundbreaking return, however nine of those have come in the last 11 games and almost all of them have been beauties.

The best was a sublime drilled half-volley in a 4-2 win over Alaves in November.

ST: Lucas Perez — Deportivo Alaves


Perez showed glimpses of his quality with Arsenal and West Ham United in the English Premier League, but ultimately a lack of game time proved to be his downfall.

As the main man at Alaves this season however, the Spaniard has thrived, scoring 11 goals and assisting a further five to help Asier Garitano’s side steer clear of the relegation zone.

Read more:

Insider’s Serie A Team of the Season, excluding Cristiano Ronaldo, but including two Chelsea FC rejects, and a tattooed smoker known as the ‘Ninja’

Insider’s Bundesliga Team of the Season, including Europe’s top scorer, the Bayern Munich Road Runner, and the son of a France icon

Insider’s Ligue 1 Team of the Season, including a 17-year-old wonder kid, a Portuguese prodigy, and the world’s most-hated FIFA player

Insider’s English Premier League Team of the Season, featuring the world’s best defender, an FC Barcelona reject, and a Slovakian superhero