With the Liga de Fútbol Profesional awards yet to take place, the winners from the 2013/14 season have yet to be officially announced. Here is our nominations for the best coaches and players from the past season, ahead of the LFP awards.
To make it more interesting, Crisitano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been removed from the thought process, although Ronaldo in particular will clean up at the LFP awards.
Best Player: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
The Croatian magician has flourished under Carlo Ancelotti's 4-3-3 system, and along with Cristiano Ronaldo, is arguably the only irreplaceable cog in the star studded Madrid squad. Modric has stepped up to the role of chief creator this season, and whereas he drifted through games in his first season at the Bernabeu, this season he has become a fan favourite.
Demonstrating a supreme ability to create space, and glide past the opposition, Modric has also displayed a willingness to work defensively for the team. A fantastic season for Modric, who will be a star player, alongside Ivan Rakitic, at the World Cup for Croatia.
MVP: Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid)
It was impossible to look past Diego Costa for the MVP award, although Gabi, Koke and Courtois all deserve a mention. With his career drifting somewhat aimlessly between loan moves away from the Vincente Calderón, not many would have predicted the transformation Costa has undergone.
Under Diego Simeone, Costa has become potentially the best out-and-out striker in the world. With thirty-six goals in all competitions, 13/14 has been Costa's best season for Atlético, driving them to La Liga, and possibly Champions League glory. Unfortunately for Los Rojiblancos, this could also be Costa's last season, with a move to Chelsea mooted in the summer.
Best Coach: Diego Simeone (Atlético Madrid)
Simeone is the personification of winning. Under the Argentinian, Atlético have developed a siege mentality, not dissimilar to Alex Ferguson's best Manchester United sides. When they step onto the pitch, they expect to win. It is neither a fluke, or built on a foundation of world-class talent.
Simeone's work-ethic, confidence and tactical astuteness have transformed Atlético into a fantastic team, with heavy emphasis placed on team. No individual is bigger than the sum of their parts, and it is this coherence that has symbolised Atlético under Simeone.
Best Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (Atlético Madrid)
Levante's Keylor Navas pushed Courtois hard, but to give this award to anyone but the Belgian would be a travesty. With fewer goals conceded than any other side in the league, Courtois has been nothing short of incredible this season.
Diego Godín and Miranda deserve credit for the defensive effort, but Courtois has saved their blushes on several occasion. He will go on to dominate world goalkeeping for the next fifteen years, and may force Petr Cech into an early exit from Stamford Bridge this summer.
Best Defender: Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao)
Conceding only a single goal more than Real Madrid, and finishing in fourth place should give an indication of how good Bilbao have been this season. At the heart of defence stands Aymeric Laporte, who at the age of nineteen has the potential to grow into a colossal defender.
How long he will remain at the San Mamés remains to be seen, especially with the inclusion of a €36 million release-fee in his contract, but the French Under-21 international can look back on the 13/14 season with immense pride at his performances. Mamadou Sakho can consider himself a lucky man to have beaten Laporte to a place in France's World Cup squad.
Best Midfielder: Koke (Atlético)
The heir apparent to Xavi's throne, Koke has often found himself deployed from wide positions this season, where he is able to tuck in to pockets of space, and allow Juanfran and Felipe to overlap.
Koke, similarly to Paul Scholes, can do everything on a football field, including tackling. His potential is endless, especially due to a fantastic big-game temperament, as he displayed when dominating both Barcelona and Chelsea's midfield in games this season. On current form, he should be the first name on the Spanish team-sheet.
Best Attacking Midfielder: Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla)
The second Croatian on this list, Rakitic has single handedly dragged Sevilla to fifth place in La Liga, and Europa League glory. With twelve goals, and ten assists in all competitions Rakitic has risen from a talented La Liga midfielder, to the best attacking midfielder in the league.
Operating as the number ten, in a 4-2-3-1 formation has brought the best out of Rakitic, and the news that he is set to snub any interest from Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea to sign a contract extension with Sevilla would be a major coup for the Andalusian's.
Best Forward: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao)
This award would naturally have gone to Diego Costa, but he will have to settle for the MVP award. Karim Benzema has had another profitable season, with seventeen goals, but with Ronaldo, Bale, Modric and Di Maria providing the ammunition, the award is instead going to Aritz Aduriz.
At the age of thirty-three, the Bilbao academy graduate has had his best goalscoring season in La Liga, since debuting in 2002. A typical poacher, Aduriz thrives off crosses, and works harder for the team than Benzema. Aduriz scored ten of his sixteen La Liga goals in the last ten games of the season, including a hat-trick against rivals Osasuna, and consecutive braces against Levante and Malaga.
Breakthrough Player: Rafinha Alcântara (Celta Vigo)
In terms of genuine breakthrough season's, Dani Carvajal spent a season on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, so everyone was aware of his talents, whilst Jesé's progress was halted in March. Alcântara, or Rafinha as he is commonly known, has been stepped out of his brother Thiago's shadow since joining Celta on loan.
With Luis Enrique keen to have him back at Barcelona, Rafinha should have a chance to display his talents at the Camp Nou next season, under the watchful eye of his former Celta boss. After representing Spain up to Under-19 level, Rafinha has followed in his father's footsteps and chosen to represent Brazil at senior level.
Team of the Year (4-4-2): Courtois, Alberto Moreno, Aymeric Laporte, Miranda, Juanfran, Koke, Modric, Rakitic, Gareth Bale, Aritz Aduriz, Diego Costa.
Subs: Keylor Navas, Diego Godin, Felipe Luis, Gabi, Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Karim Benzema.
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