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Benzema to Messi: Top Players To Watch In The Upcoming 2021-22 La Liga Season

The 2021-22 season of La Liga is all set to begin next week with a bang after a fresh infusion of money gave the clubs much-needed respite from their financial troubles and a chance to focus on football.

Since its inception, La Liga has been host to the most exciting talent in the world, next perhaps only to the Premier League in the quality of the players that feature in the squads. 

The last season of La Liga went right down to the wire as Atletico Madrid broke the stranglehold of Real Madrid and Barcelona on the league, making the league much more competitive. 

As another season of La Liga approaches, we take a look at the top five stars who feature in La Liga and the talent they bring to their clubs.

 

KARIM BENZEMA

Karim Benzema has spent 12 years at Real Madrid, but his contributions to the team have been overshadowed by the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo for a long time. 

Ronaldo’s departure brought Karim Benzema back into the limelight and the Frenchman has managed to make a mark for the club despite receiving constant criticism from pundits. 

His 22 goals for Los Blancos last season was a crucial factor in Zinedine Zidane’s squad remaining in title contention for so long. 

At 33 years of age, Benzema shows no signs of tiring out and he shone with four goals to his name at the Euros despite France’s early exit. 

An extended contract until 2023 shows the team management’s faith in his capabilities. With the return of Carlo Ancelotti to Santiago Bernabéu, Benzema will be the key to Los Blancos’ aggressive tactics this season.

 

LUIS SUAREZ

Luis Suarez’s transfer to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona for a paltry €7m was supposed to signify the end of his career. Instead, the Uruguayan striker’s transfer became the biggest blunder the Catalonian team have done as he led Atletico Madrid to the title from the front.

Diego Simeone built an attacking machine that revolves around Suarez and he has repaid the faith put in him by scoring 21 goals last season in La Liga while mentoring Joao Felix. 

 

 

The 34-year-old has become only the second player in the world to score 50+ non-penalty goals across competitions behind Lionel Messi. As Atletico Madrid prepare their title defence, Diego Simeone is once again likely to build the team’s attacks around the experience of Luis Suarez. 

The five-time La Liga champion also has a chance to cement his place in history as a legend by leading his team to another title victory.

There is no dearth to the talent pool at Camp Nou and they certainly have the financial heft to sign and retain some of the best talents across Europe. The €120m they paid for Antoine Griezmann looked like a good deal at the time, but the veteran has failed to meet the club’s expectations so far. 

 

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

Before moving to Barcelona, Griezmann was the star at now champions Atletico Madrid where he won numerous accolades including being awarded La Liga Best Player. But for the Blaugrana, Griezmann has managed to score just 22 goals in 71 appearances – including just 13 last season. 

Despite being out-of-form, the Frenchman is a force to be reckon with and Barcelona’s financial troubles have made Griezmann a potential target for clubs across Europe. The most likely destination seems to be Real Madrid, and if the transfer goes through, Griezmann would be one of the few players to play for all three top clubs in La Liga. 

Either at Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabéu, Griezmann will be keenly watched this season.

PEDRI 

At 19-years-old, Pedri is the youngest player on the list and perhaps the most exciting one to watch. The teenager has garnered attention with his incredible work in the midfield at Camp Nou last season – featuring in a record 52 fixtures across all competitions. 

He has earned comparisons to the legendary Xavi and Iniesta and the youngster has a long road ahead to meet those expectations. But for now, the teenager looks in superb form as he was awarded the Young Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020 for his contribution to Spain’s run to the semifinals. 

As if those feats aren’t enough, Pedri has continued to accumulate game time at the Olympics.

In the process, he equalled Bruno Fernandes’ record of 72 games in a single season for club and country. 

Ronald Koeman, however, will be hoping the youngster receives some rest before taking the field once more at Camp Nou.

 

LIONEL MESSI

There is no dispute that despite his age and the rise of youngsters in both the club and the league, Lionel Messi remains the unchallenged star of La Liga. The 34-year-old scored 30 goals last season to become once again the top scorer in the league. 

More crucially, he has led the Argentinian team from the front to fulfill his long-standing dream of winning the Copa America, winning both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards. 

Lionel Messi and Barcelona’s relationship has been strained in recent weeks, partly due to financial issues but also due to the club’s shortcomings last season. But it appears that a deal is imminent and the legend is all set to continue at the club for another five years. 

Ronald Koeman’s strategy revolves around Messi and this will be a do-or-die year for the club after a difficult two seasons.

 

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