Euro 2020 Special
 

La Liga: Four Guys Happy to See the End of 2020/21

Some players have made a huge impact in La Liga this season but there are a number of stars who, for one reason or another have simply failed to shine.

For every David Silva, who has wowed at Real Sociedad, or Luis Suarez, who has spearheaded Atletico’s title challenge, there is a player who has had a season to forget.

Even the top four in the league table, who are streets ahead of the rest, have players who have endured a season to forget, so let’s take a look at the unfortunate men who have featured in the La Liga 2021 highlights for the wrong reasons, or even worse, not at all.

 

Moussa Dembele: Atletico Madrid

Atleti head coach Diego Simeone swooped in the January transfer window to bring Dembele from Lyon to the Madrid to try to add impetus to Los Rojiblancos’ title charge and provide cover for Suarez. He arrived on loan, with an option to buy at 33m Euros at the end of the season, but that clause is unlikely to be activated.

Dembele scored 32 goals in 76 appearances for Lyon but he has made just four appearances for Atleti and is yet to score, and at 24 years of age he needs to be getting regular football. He collapsed in training in March but thankfully recovered, and now it seems the former Fulham trainee might get a move back to the UK, with Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta said to be keen.

 

Eden Hazard: Real Madrid

When Hazard joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 for an eye-watering 150m Euros he was expected to be Los Blancos’ main man but, in his first two seasons so far, the Belgian ace has only made 30 appearances, scoring just four goals. And that’s a pitiful return from a man who scored 110 goals for Chelsea in seven superb seasons.

La Liga: Eden Hazard has been criticised for laughing with Chelsea players after Real Madrid’s exit in Champions League
Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard during their match against Chelsea in Champions League

Hazard has been beset by injury again this season. He managed to catch COVID in November and, after recovering for the virus, has had three periods out with a muscle complaint. Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane confessed he couldn’t explain Hazard’s last injury in March, and the former Chelsea star didn’t endear himself to Real Madrid fans when he was seen laughing with his former team-mates after the Blues had dumped Los Blancos out of the Champions League. He won’t be keen to follow in the footsteps of Gareth Bale, who has been vilified by Madrid fans for his perceived lack of commitment to the club.

 

Miralem Pjanic: Barcelona

When Pjanic arrived at the Camp Nou last summer in a 60m Euros deal, the Bosnian was seen to be Ronald Koeman’s marquee signing and the 29 year old came with a big reputation, having won four Scudettos with Juventus. But it hasn’t gone to plan for Pjanic who has struggled to make an impact on the pitch. With Koeman preferring to team up Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong in midfield, Pjanic has only started six games for Barca, and is yet to make an assist or score a goal.

It isn’t long ago that the La Liga 2021 betting odds, here at SBOTOP, backed the Blaugrana to win the title; but Koeman’s team failed to compete, right up to the end of the La Liga season, after messing up a great chance to take control in a match against Granada, which they lost 2-1 and have never really recovered. The Pjanic who starred for I Bianconeri could have made the difference at Barca… given the chance.

Oussama Idrissi: Sevilla

When Sevilla stumped up 12m Euros for Idrissi last summer, they thought they had a gem after the young winger had enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough season in the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar. He had scored 17 goals and made eight assists in 41 starts for the Dutch club, but has been unable to replicate that form in Seville; mainly because head coach Julen Lopetegui didn’t give him any starts. So, unable to make the step-up to La Liga, Idrissi returned to the Netherlands in a loan deal with Ajax who have an option to buy.

These four players have pedigree and, in the case of Hazard and Pjanic an impressive track record, but a combination of injury, illness, unconvinced head coaches or simply lack of opportunity have made it a forgettable campaign for each of them.

There’s always next season boys!