They are young or nearing the end of their careers, but each one has a reason to follow them a little closer than the others during this La Liga season.
Ilkay Gundogan, a new challenge
The recent European champion with Manchester City, the German arrived at Barcelona as a free player this summer. After the Bundesliga and Premier League, the midfielder will look for La Liga this season. At 32, the 2014 world champion could bring fresh blood to this Barcelona team. His approach to the game, but above all his experience, will come to compensate for Sergio Busquets, who moved to join Messi at Inter Miami this summer. Last year, he was one of the most used players by Pep Guardiola as he played 51 games in all competitions. Author of 11 goals and 6 assists, his arsenal is well loaded. Capable of playing in the small spaces, being defensive or hitting long shots, he will certainly be one of the players to watch out for this season.
Jude Bellingham is already comfortable
The English international from Dortmund arrived in the Spanish capital this summer for €120million. It took him little time, if at all, to adjust to his new team. With 3 goals and 1 assist in two games already, the 20-year-old quickly made a mark among the Madrid crowd. At the tip of Carlo Ancelotti’s diamond, backed by Brazilian duo Rodrigo-Vinicius, his coach has given him paramount importance and he has clearly lived up to the expectations. In one of the best teams in Europe, Jude Bellingham has a lot to learn from his partners and that could only serve him well. This season could be his and we hope he excels throughout the season.
Spanish giant Joselu
At 33, the Spaniard has regained his youthful legs. He may not have much time left at the professional level, but the striker is playing at his best. Recruited by Madrid’s Espanyol for 6 million euros, given Merenguez’s numbers, the striker probably won’t start often, but he could play a more important role off the bench. His stupendous performance in the last season speaks for itself. With 17 goals and 3 assists in 38 games, he was the third top scorer in La Liga behind Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema. With Real Madrid, he will definitely taste the Champions League this season for the first time in his career.
Lamin Yamal, barely 16 years old and already grown up
He’s not even half Joselu’s age, but he’s a gifted kid. The Catalan-trained player lined up against Cadiz on Sunday evening as the youngest starter in Barca history at just 16 years and 38 days old. If he didn’t go much further than scoring his first goal with the Blaugranas, the striker was still very active on 84 minutes. Despite his young age, the Spaniard has not allowed himself to be intimidated by his opponents, as a certain Gavi was able to do a few years ago. His pace and technical quality hurt his opponents, as had been the case throughout pre-season. He still has plenty of time, but Lemin Yamal (photo) is already big enough to keep a very close eye on this young prospect.
Can Antoine Griezmann confirm?
After a very complicated stint at FC Barcelona, the French international returned to his favorite club two seasons ago. If he drew with Kolconeros on his return, the French international would have turned on last season. After a slow start, the striker found his best at the most opportune time. His remarkable World Cup run with the Blues capped off the perfect start to his season and the striker continued his fine form. One of La Liga’s best players during the second half of the season (16 goals and 18 assists in all competitions), the Mâcon native led his team to an eventual third place in the championship, one point behind Real Madrid. If he isn’t decisive in his first two days, his time there won’t be long.
Marc Andre ter Stegen, The Human Wall
How not to mention the German goalkeeper in this top 10. The FC Barcelona goalkeeper has come off a season with Barca that has been exceptional, if not the best, of his long career. If the Blaugranes became champions of Spain, it is partly thanks to him. With 26 clean sheets in 38 league games, Marc-Andre ter Stegen was unreachable. 5 days before the end of the championship, the 31-year-old goalkeeper had conceded only 9 goals and still held the record for the fewest goals conceded in a season across all championships combined. The Catalans eventually lost out, but ended their season with only 18 goals, far ahead of Atlético de Madrid (33). The only thing that the former Monchengladbach and his entire team can be blamed for is their mediocre course in Europe. Can Ter Stegen repeat his feat? At the moment, he is off to a good start as his cage is still empty. case to follow.
Andre Silva, great return from injury
The Portuguese striker is returning to La Liga four years after making his first steps there (Sevilla). Arriving at Real Sociedad on loan this summer, with an option to buy from Leipzig, the Porto-trained player is yet to put on his new club’s jersey. Due to an injury at the end of last season, he should return to the team during the season. After a stellar two years in Frankfurt (28 goals and 6 assists in 32 games during the 2020/2021 season), the Portuguese will be looking to start well. With participation in the Champions League this year, we have to be careful about his return.
Real Madrid’s playing time was dwindling, with the Spanish midfielder being left out of the team when his contract expired two years ago. Arrived freely from FC
Last year Sevilla again did not get the expected minutes of the game. Now at Betis Sevilla, this year looks perfect for the multiple European champion. With his family back on the field as a starter for the first two days of La Liga, the former Merengues surprised by being man of the match twice. On good momentum, and if he finds his best form, Isco could bring a lot to Europa League-bound Betis this season.
Gabry Veiga, Nugget of Celta Vigo
Manchester City, Arsenal or Real Madrid, all these big European clubs have had nothing left of the strength of Celta Vigo’s new nugget last season. If his name has come up frequently this transfer window, the midfielder is still a Vigo player at the moment. In a long relegation battle last year, the club finally managed to stay in the Spanish top flight and can thank their 21-year-old, who scored twice on the final day against FC Barcelona. With a total of 9 goals and 4 appearances, Gabry Veiga is worth a spin. Versatile (used in six different positions last season), his game intelligence and impeccable mindset will be worth watching.