La Liga Best XI: WhoScored's line-up includes only one player per club
By Ben McAleer
Last Updated: 31/03/17 2:36pm
To kick off 11 consecutive days of La Liga games on Sky Sports, WhoScored.com have come up with a best La Liga XI of the season using their unique rating system.
However, this XI comes with a twist, with only one player per Spanish top-flight side allowed. You can be sure some big names miss out…
Sergio Rico - Sevilla (WhoScored.com Rating 6.98)
Kicking off this XI is Sevilla youngster Sergio Rico, who was rewarded for his good form with a call-up to the Spain squad in the recent international break. It was wholeheartedly deserved too, with his WhoScored.com rating (6.98) better than any other goalkeeper in Spain's top tier this term. A save success rate of 75.8 per cent is the third best of La Liga shot-stoppers to make 10 or more appearances this season, while only Sergio Asenjo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen (both 11) have kept more clean sheets than the 23-year-old (nine).
Filipe Luis - Atletico Madrid (7.55)
Filipe Luis' inclusion means Antoine Griezmann just misses out, with the Frenchman's WhoScored.com rating (7.45) lower than his Brazilian team-mate (7.55). The 31-year-old left-back has completed more dribbles (61) than any other defender in Europe's top five leagues this season, an indication of the fact that he is charged with hurting opponents from deep. The former Chelsea man also boasts 1.0 key passes per game and 0.8 crosses per game - ranking third and second respectively of all Atletico players.
Ivan Ramis - Eibar (7.05)
Former Wigan centre-back Ivan Ramis makes the cut having somewhat exceeded expectations in his second season with Eibar. The La Liga outfit perform better with the Spaniard at the back, with their win percentage increasing when Ramis starts (46.2 per cent) compared to when he does not (33.3 per cent), while the number of goals conceded per game decreases with the veteran (1.23) present compared to when he does not feature from the off (1.53).
Yeray Alvarez - Athletic Club (7.18)
Partnering Ramis at the heart of the defence is Athletic Club's Yeray Alvarez, who at the beginning of February penned a new deal for the Basque outfit, two months after undergoing successful surgery having been diagnosed with testicular cancer. The 22-year-old has thrived for Athletic this season, averaging more interceptions per game (3.6) than any other player in La Liga to reinforce a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'ball interception'.
Mario - Villarreal (7.15)
Rounding off the defence is Villarreal right-back Mario, who has impressed enough to earn a WhoScored.com rating of 7.15 in La Liga this season. The 26-year-old's defensive qualities have been routinely put to the test, but he has stepped up where required having made 129 tackles and interceptions in Spain's top tier this term, one of the better returns. A full-back is often required to alleviate danger from wide, which Mario does to a notable standard with no player blocking more crosses this season (18).
Toni Kroos - Real Madrid (7.69)
Toni Kroos' inclusion in this XI means there is no place for Cristiano Ronaldo, whose WhoScored.com rating (7.59) falls below that of his Real Madrid team-mate (7.69). Kroos is very much a key cog in the Real Madrid midfield, with no player registering more assists than the 27 year old (10) in La Liga this campaign. The Germany international is a master in possession, ranking fourth for both passes per game (71.6) and pass success rate (91.8 per cent) in La Liga this term. His creative qualities from set-pieces also mean he is second for key passes from dead-ball situations (33) in La Liga this term, with this strength to his game meaning Kroos to Sergio Ramos is the joint-best assist-to-goalscorer combination (five goals) in Spain.
Asier Illarramendi - Real Sociedad (7.32)
Former Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi joins Kroos in the midfield, with his WhoScored.com rating (7.32) better than any other Real Sociedad player this season. Like Kroos, the Spaniard is excellent in possession, noted in that his return of 70.2 passes per game is the sixth best in La Liga. His commendable reading of the game is also a strength, with 3.4 interceptions per league match the third best in the top-flight of Spanish football.
Jonathan Viera - Las Palmas (7.35)
Las Palmas have established themselves as one of Spain's most entertaining teams, with 27-year-old Jonathan Viera crucial in that regard. Only Neymar (3.1) is averaging more key passes per game than Viera (3.0) in La Liga this term to reinforce a WhoScored.com strength of 'key passes'. The Spaniard is second for clear-cut chances created (12) and accurate through balls (nine), with the Las Palmas star more than capable of splitting defences at the drop of a hat.
Iago Aspas - Celta Vigo (7.24)
Spearheading the attack is former Liverpool man Iago Aspas, with the Celta Vigo star netting an impressive 15 league goals this season, the fourth best return in La Liga. Meanwhile, of the 59 players to score 10 or more goals in Europe's top five leagues this campaign, the 29-year-old boasts the eighth best conversion rate (26.3 per cent). Six WhoScored.com man of the match awards is the third best in Spain, with his fine form earlier in the campaign earning him his first international cap last November.
Neymar - Barcelona (8.49)
Like with Ronaldo and Kroos, Neymar's inclusion means there is no place in this XI for Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi. The Brazil international has gained a better WhoScored.com rating (8.49) than any other player in Europe's top five leagues this season, making him the first name on this team-sheet. His inclusion is no great shock considering he is first for key passes per game (3.1), dribbles per game (5.4) and joint-top for assists (10) in La Liga this season. He is also just two goals shy of becoming the first player in Europe's top five leagues this term to register double figures for both goals and assists.
Pablo Piatti - Espanyol (7.27)
Espanyol have scored just 40 league goals this season, but Argentine creator Pablo Piatti has been directly involved in 18 of those, with nine goals and nine assists to his name. The 27-year-old is a key man for Quique Sanchez Flores' side, with his eye for a defence-splitting pass reaping dividends - 32.1 per cent of his key passes have resulted in an assist for a team-mate. As Espanyol continue to sneak up the table, Piatti's creative influence will be vital if they are to secure a European finish this season.