Messi, Ramos & Benzema lead La Liga Team of the Season

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Sergio Ramos Lionel Messi Karim Benzema Real Madrid Barcelona 2019-20 La Liga GFX
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With the curtain having just come down on an absorbing 2019-20 campaign, Goal selects the best players from Spain's top flight

After a topsy-turvy title race, Real Madrid are La Liga champions for the 34th time after seeing off the challenge of Barcelona.

It was a campaign like no other following the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, but there were still a number of players who impressed throughout.

So with the curtain having just come down on an absorbing 2019-20 campaign, Goal selects the best players from Spain's top flight...

  1. GK: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
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    GK: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen may have been more spectacular – the Barcelona shot-stopper even racked up two assists in 2019-20 – and Atletico No.1 Jan Oblak arguably remains the best goalkeeper in the world.

    However, Real Madrid's Liga title triumph was founded upon their solid defence, and Thibaut Courtois played a pivotal role in that regard.

    The Belgium international has copped plenty of flak since returning to Spain in 2018 but, this season, he kept more clean sheets than any of his peers (18) and did so with the highest save percentage (79%) of any goalkeeper to have played at least seven games.

  2. RB: Jesus Navas (Sevilla)
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    RB: Jesus Navas (Sevilla)

    Sevilla are now reaping the benefits of Pep Guardiola's decision to experiment with Jesus Navas as a right-back at the tail end of the winger's Manchester City career.

    Indeed, the 34-year-old is now enjoying a new lease of life at his childhood club, after returning to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in 2017.

    Navas has been an ever-present for Sevilla this season, becoming the first player to reach 500 appearances for the club in the process.

    However, he also created more chances (62) and provided more assists (seven) than any other defender in La Liga in 2019-20.

  3. CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
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    CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

    What a difference a year makes!

    Last summer, a despondent Sergio Ramos was ready to leave Real Madrid after a dreadful 2018-19 campaign.

    Now, he has re-established himself as the "f*cking boss" at Santiago Bernabeu after leading the Blancos to their first title since 2017.

    Ramos' penalties were certainly key – six of his 11 goals were spot-kicks – but the highlight of his sensational post-lockdown form was arguably the goal-line clearance which sealed a vital victory at Granada.

  4. CB: Gerard Pique (Barcelona)

    CB: Gerard Pique (Barcelona)

    There are many reasons why Barcelona have unravelled this season. Gerard Pique is not one of them, though.

    It is likely to be of little comfort to the veteran defender after such a traumatic conclusion to the campaign, but the 33-year-old has posted some extraordinary numbers.

    It will come as a surprise to learn that Pique has made more successful passes (2681) than any other defender, given Barca's traditional preoccupation with possession.

    However, Pique has also been imperious at the back.

    He may not carry a great goalscoring threat but, unlike Sergio Ramos for example, he features in the top 10 of nearly every major facet of the role and ranks second for aerials won (129), second for headed clearances (90) and fourth for possession won (220).

    Essentially, no other centre-back can match Pique's level of all-round defensive excellence.

  5. LB: Pervis Estupinan (Osasuna)
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    LB: Pervis Estupinan (Osasuna)

    Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have both been linked with Pervis Estupinan in recent weeks – and it is easy to understand why.

    The Ecuadorian has had a sensational season on loan at Osasuna, with the Watford-owned full-back proving a nightmare for opponents to deal with down the left flank.

    As well as racking up an impressive five assists, the dynamic Estpuinan also reclaimed possession more times than any other defender (275) and ranked second for duels won (225).

  6. RW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
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    RW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

    It has been a bitterly frustrating end to the season for Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, who made his dissatisfaction with the whole club known after last week's loss to Osasuna.

    The Argentine's frustration was understandable. He produced another stellar campaign, claiming a fourth consecutive Pichici with 25 goals, and also topping the assists charts with a record-breaking 21.

    In doing so, Messi became just the second man, after Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, to rack up at least 20 goals and 20 assists across the same season in one of Europe's 'Big Five' leagues.

    It was not enough to win an abject Barcelona squad La Liga, but it was more than enough to guarantee Messi a place in our all-star selection.

  7. CM: Casemiro (Real Madrid)
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    CM: Casemiro (Real Madrid)

    Casemiro could hardly be considered a Galactico, but he is priceless as far as Real Madrid are concerned.

    While Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are starting to show signs of ageing, their Brazilian team-mate remains very much in his prime, and the job he does protecting the defence played a pivotal role transforming the Blancos backline into the meanest in La Liga.

    Casemiro made more recoveries (294), interceptions (68) and successful tackles (60) than any other midfielder in La Liga this season.

    The 28-year-old does not just do the dirty work either; Casemiro also provided four assists and contributed three goals, which earned two wins, at home to Sevilla and away to Espanyol.

  8. CM: Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid)
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    CM: Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid)

    Saul Niguez's "new club" announcement caused quite the stir, particularly among Manchester United fans, given the Red Devils have long been linked with the all-action midfielder.

    It was merely a publicity stunt, though, a teaser for the launch of an academy in his home town – much to the relief of Atletico Madrid supporters.

    This season, Saul has once again been one of Diego Simeone's most reliable performers.

    As well as providing real bite in midfield – only Casemiro won more than his 59 tackles – he also chipped in with six goals, showing just why he is regarded as one of the best box-to-box players in the game today.

  9. LW: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)
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    LW: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)

    As soon as Leroy Sane's Manchester City exit was confirmed, speculation intensified that Mikel Oyarzabal could replace the German at the Etihad Stadium.

    The Real Sociedad star certainly has the talent to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world. The only player in La Liga other than Messi to reach double figures for both goals (10) and assists (11), Oyarzabal has had an exceptional season.

    The versatile winger, who can play pretty much anywhere in attack, has also locked down a spot in the Spain squad over the past 12 months and his particularly impressive post-lockdown form is likely to ensure that he remains a constant topic of transfer talk in the off-season.

  10. CF: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
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    CF: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

    A goalscoring drought around the turn of the year may have cost Karim Benzema the Pichici, but the French forward will not care.

    At 32 years of age, Benzema has arguably produced the best season of his entire career.

    With Eden Hazard incessantly injured, Gareth Bale disinterested, and Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo still raw talents, it was left to the veteran No.9 to carry the Madrid attack.

    He did precisely that, netting 21 goals, and creating a further eight for his team-mates.

    Whenever Real needed him, Benzema stepped up, as underlined by the fact that he earned more points (16) with his goals than any other player in La Liga.

  11. CF: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
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    CF: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)

    Gerard Moreno is the quintessential late bloomer.

    The forward never represented Spain at under-age level but now boasts a record of three goals from his first three appearances for the senior squad.

    Moreno's first La Roja call-up came on the back of his sensational start to the season, and although he endured a rough winter, he finished with a flourish.

    Indeed, the most impressive thing about the 28-year-old claiming third place in the race for the Pichici, is that only one of his 18 goals came via the penalty spot.