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Messi, Oblak and La Liga Team of the Season so far

21:00 GMT+3 25/12/2018
La Liga Team of the Season
As the Spanish top flight enters its winter break, we look back at the players who have shined throughout this first half of the campaign

  • Jan Oblak Atletico Madrid

    #1 GK: Jan Oblak

    Usually so formidable at the back, rotten luck with injuries has seen Atletico Madrid look uncharacteristically vulnerable when out of possession.

    Luckily for Diego Simeone's men, they can still count on Oblak, who continues to be near-unbeatable between the posts even without the likes of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez screening him.

    The Slovenian boasts the meanest defensive record in La Liga, keeping eight clean sheets to date and conceding a mere 12 goals.

  • Dani Carvajal Real Madrid 2018-19

    #2 RB: Dani Carvajal

    Statistics can be misleading, but Dani Carvajal's importance to Real Madrid is underlined by their woeful record without him.

    The right-back has struggled with injury in the 2018-19 season, playing nine of the Merengue's opening 16 Liga games and starting just eight. 

    Incredibly, Madrid have not lost any of the games Carvajal has started, while suffering defeat in five of the other eight (including the 3-0 reverse at the hands of Eibar, which saw Carvajal enter as a late substitute.)

    Even while seeing his playing time restricted, Dani continues to show he is a cut above the rest.

  • Gerard Pique Barcelona Villarreal La Liga

    #3 CB: Gerard Pique

    While there have been a few jitters, particularly during the early stages of the season, Gerard Pique has been Barcelona's defensive rock.

    The centre-back has seen a host of players line up alongside him as Barca have suffered badly with injuries.

    Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen have missed most of the campaign, leaving newcomer Clement Lenglet to receive a baptism of fire at Camp Nou.

    Despite those difficulties and instability, Pique has been an ocean of calm. He has also popped up with three goals in La Liga to help the leaders' cause.

  • Bartra Betis Sevilla LaLiga

    #4 CB: Marc Bartra

    Betis have been one of the revelations of the Liga season so far, combining flashes of exhilarating football with a sturdy base at the back. Marc Bartra, who arrived in Andalusia at the start of 2018, is the cornerstone of that defensive effort.

    The former Barcelona and Dortmund centre-half has been ever-present so far in the 2018-19 campaign, marshalling a backline that ranks among Spain's tightest.

    Bartra has endured a difficult professional career marked with setbacks – not least the injuries sustained in Dortmund's horrific bombing attack – but, at 27, he is performing at the peak of his powers.

  • Jordi Alba Barcelona 2018-19

    #5 LB: Jordi Alba

    Barcelona's brilliant left-back signed off on 2018 in typical fashion, providing an assist for Lionel Messi as Barcelona downed Celta to keep hold of the Liga summit going into the festive period.

    Alba has contributed a total of four assists for his club so far in the league season, and continues to be a danger for any side who fail to contain his bursts down the flank.

    Even a star like Marcelo has been thoroughly outshined so far in 2018-19 by the former Valencia man.

  • Rodri Atletico de Madrid Alaves LaLiga 08122018

    #6 CM: Rodrigo

    Having failed to make the grade at Atletico Madrid as a youngster, the 22-year-old is busy making up for lost time in the Spanish capital.

    Rodrigo has hit the ground running since returning to the Colchoneros from Villarreal, staking out a regular spot in the Atletico midfield and missing just three games of the Liga season so far.

    He has proved himself a formidable enforcer, cutting out opposition attacks at source, while he is no slouch either with the ball at his feet.

  • Giovani Lo Celso Betis

    #7 CM: Giovani Lo Celso

    Lo Celso was declared surplus to requirements at PSG this season and farmed out on loan to La Liga. He has since wasted no time in showing he has the talent to succeed at the very top.

    The 22-year-old Argentine has been the lynchpin of Betis' enterprising side, netting four times in 10 games from midfield and also shining in the club's Europa League campaign.

  • Iago Aspas Celta Vigo La Liga 2018

    #8 RW: Iago Aspas

    With 28 goals so far this season only Barcelona and Sevilla can boast a more potent attack than Celta. Central to their efforts has been evergreen Iago Aspas, who continues to lead from the front.

    The former Liverpool man has contributed 10 goals and two assists to his team's cause, keeping him well on track to equal or surpass the mark of 19 he set during the 2017-18 campaign.

  • Lionel Messi Barcelona vs Celta Vigo La Liga 2018-19

    #9 AM: Lionel Messi

    Once more, the Argentine is setting the benchmark not just in Spain, but across the elite levels of European football.

    Messi's goal against Celta on Saturday took him to 15 in just 14 starts, an amazing haul even by his high standards.

    He has also been providing at a startling rate, racking up no less than 10 assists in La Liga alone.

  • Pablo Sarabia Sevilla 2018-19

    #10 LW: Pablo Sarabia

    Alongside Ever Banega, Sarabia has made Sevilla one of the most dangerous teams in the entire Spanish top flight.

    Sarabia, 26, has especially made a name for himself in front of goal.

    With seven strikes and a further four assists in La Liga this season he has been near unstoppable, helping the Andalusians mount a serious title challenge behind leaders Barcelona.

  • Cristhian Stuani Girona La Liga 2018-19

    #11 CF: Cristhian Stuani

    Once again, Girona's irrepressible Uruguayan forward is doing his level best to keep them buoyant in La Liga almost single-handedly.

    Stuani, 32, enjoyed what many believed to be the season of a lifetime in 2017-18, scoring 21 goals. This campaign, however, he is arguably performing even better.

    With 11 in just 13 starts this time around the player has scored more than half of all Girona's goals, helping the side to a spot in the top half of the Liga standings going into the winter break.

  • La Liga Team of the Season so far PS

    #12 La Liga Team of the Season so far

    So, there you have it, our Liga team of the seson so far. What do you make of our line-up? Have we made a glaring omission? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box provided.