Football is widely considered a team game, success only achieved through a collective effort. Yet within each team there is often individual brilliance, and this ‘Team of the Season’ celebrates those players who have shone throughout.
GK: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
This one’s undisputed. The young Slovenian equalled the record of Francisco Liano in 1993, conceding only 18 goals in 38 games. He also kept 24 clean sheets and saved an average of 3.5 shots per goal scored. The 23-year-old has more than filled the gap left by Thibaut Courtois.
RB: Mario Gaspar (Villarreal)
Mario Gaspar will be wondering what more he had to do to get a place in Vicente del Bosque’s Euro 2016 squad. The right-back had an almost faultless season for Villarreal, offering pace going forward and security at the back. He also provided two goals and two assists.
CB: Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
Atletico may have managed without him, but they certainly look a more-stable side when the Uruguayan is present. In the 30 games he played this season, Los Rojiblancos only conceded 11 goals. One of the best central defenders in the world, if not the best.
CB: Eric Bailly (Villarreal)
Victor Ruiz had a fantastic season for the Yellow Submarines at centre-back, but even more impressive perhaps, was his Ivorian defensive partner. The 22-year-old can play at left-back or as a central defender, but in either position he’s been immense, attracting interest from top European clubs.
LB: Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
Filipe Luis has had an excellent campaign. Mr Consistent, the Brazilian averaged four successful tackles per game, higher than any other Atleti player, while at the same time conceding very few fouls. He’s been a vital member of his side’s impressive defensive displays.
CM: Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao)
With this formation and line-up, a team needs a player capable of protecting the back four. Mikel San Jose has done that job to fine effect this season for Athletic Bilbao, earning himself a call-up to the provisional Spain squad for Euro 2016.
CM: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
There were times at the start of the season when Real Madrid looked flat or struggled to get going. Nevertheless, Luka Modric was one of the few consistently excellent performers. He boasts a 91-percent pass completion rate and has made over 50 key passes in 32 appearances.
AM: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
In some matches this year, Luis Enrique has opted to let Lionel Messi roam in a deeper, central role. It doesn’t matter where he plays, Messi can produce something brilliant. He’s managed 26 goals and provided 16 assists, often through moments of pure inspiration.
RW: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Antoine Griezmann has truly proven this year what a fantastic player he is. The Frenchman has scored 37 goals for his side in all competitions and has shown that he can produce when it counts, his goals against Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League notable examples.
CF: Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Many people’s Player of the Year, Luis Suarez has had an incredible season. With 40 goals and 16 assists, he has been perhaps the most influential player in La Liga. He ended the season with three hat-tricks in five games, but his work ethic and quality throughout the year have been superb.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
For the sixth consecutive season, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more than 30 goals. In fact he managed to notch up 35 and provided 11 assists for his teammates. Granted, his pace may not be as electrifying as it once was, but the Portuguese is still one of the most notorious goalscorers around.