Goal.com unveils the best XI of the 2009-10 La Liga season...
Victor Valdes (Barcelona) – Castrol Ranking: 237
Valdes secured his third ever Zamora Trophy after conceding just 24 goals this season. While last term he could rely on a rock-solid backline and a midfield that simply would not give opponents a sniff of the ball, this campaign the 28-year-old had to be called into action to make countless match-winning saves. Every time Barca needed him to perform miracles, he was there for the team.
Dani Alves (Barcelona) – Castrol Ranking: 16
The swashbuckling Brazilian finished the season with an impressive 10 assists, the second best in the league behind only a certain Xavi. Despite his constant forays in attack, Alves remained an integral, ever-present figure for his side in defence, thanks to his boundless energy zipping up and down the right flank.
Nunes (Mallorca) – Castrol Ranking: 255
Not the most striking name you’ll see in this starting XI, but the Portuguese hardman was one of the key factors behind Mallorca’s wildly successful season that almost ended in Champions League qualification. He is not the youngest or fastest centre-back at 33 years of age, but he makes up for it with his experienced positional sense and reading of the game.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) – Castrol Ranking: 48
This was a season that saw Sergio Ramos return to his best form for Los Merengues. Swapping between right-back and centre-back under coach Manuel Pellegrini, the 24-year-old has learned to be more balanced in his game. When deployed in the heart of defence, Ramos has been a rock for Madrid, and when given licence to roam upfield, he has made the most of it, as his four goals and five assists testify.
Jesus Navas (Sevilla) – Castrol Ranking: 184
The speedy winger has long wowed La Liga fans with his skill and flair, but this season the 24-year-old took his game to the next level. Having overcome his anxiety attacks from homesickness, Navas was finally able to demonstrate his consistency, something that he lacked in previous years. Three assists – albeit two indirectly – in the final game of the season to guide Sevilla into the Champions League, and nine in total, pretty much sums up his coming-of-age campaign.
Xavi (Barcelona) – Castrol Ranking: 22
If there’s one man who could conduct the orchestral collection of the best players of the season, it would be Xavi. And if there is one footballer who is an absolute must-have in your constellation of superstars, it would be the Barcelona midfield maestro. A total of 14 assists in La Liga only tells half the story of this man’s genius. The other half simply had to be witness with your own two eyes.
Ever Banega (Valencia) – Castrol Ranking: 255
The Argentine surprised everyone this season with a series of top drawer performances for Los Che. The hard working box-to-box midfielder became an instrumental component in Unai Emery’s plans thanks to his ability to win possession and initiate attacks. Finished the season as Valencia’s top assist man in La Liga with eight in total.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – Castrol Ranking: 2
'CR9' justified his world record price tag and the burdensome title of the planet's most expensive footballer. Not only did he amass 26 goals in just 29 league appearances in his very first season at the Casa Blanca, but he single-handedly carried Madrid's title charge all the way to the final day of the season with a string of inspirational performances and crucial goals.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – Castrol Ranking: 1
There’s not much else that needs to be said about ‘El Mesias’. He picked up his first ever Pichichi trophy after scoring 34 league goals in a single season to equal Ronaldo’s club record haul back in 1997. He also won the European Golden Shoe with 68 points, a massive 10 points ahead of his closest rival, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba. A season that elevated him from the best player in the world category to the greatest player of all time category.
Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid) – Castrol Ranking: 4
‘El Pipa’ was the only forward who could come close to keeping up with Messi’s ruthless scoring rate in the middle of the season: at one stage, Higuain managed to rattle in 19 goals in 15 league games. For the second term in a row, he finished as Los Blancos’ top marksmen with 27 goals, five more than he managed last term. Yet another season that saw him make huge improvements.
David Villa (Valencia) – Castrol Ranking: 6
The all-star attacking line-up is completed by the best Spanish striker this season. With 21 goals, ‘El Guaje’ played a huge part in helping Valencia re-establish themselves as one of La Liga’s elite clubs after spending the last two years in the wilderness. Villa led the Pichichi charts early in the season after notching up 12 goals in the opening 14 rounds.
Dudu Aouate (Mallorca)
Cesar Azpilicueta (Osasuna)
Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)
Guti (Real Madrid)
Pedro Leon (Getafe)
Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid)
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