While much of the spotlight in Spain continues to shine on Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo for their weekly exploits, this La Liga campaign has seen the emergence of numerous young talents who have made their mark for their respective teams while turning in consistently impressive performances belying their age and reputation.
The following players have established their potential to become stars and earned a place on La Liga's ever-increasing list of top talent alongside the likes of Nolito, Aymeric Laporte, Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.
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Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
Jan Oblak has been an impregnable force between the sticks for Diego Simeone's Atletico team, making the most saves and conceding the fewest number of goals this season.
When Thibaut Courtois made his inevitable return to Chelsea, the Slovenian was initially touted as a back-up to the more experienced Miguel Moya. However, Oblak has risen up the pecking order to become the undisputed number one goalkeeper and a key figure in Atletico’s title challenge.
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Right-back: Hugo Mallo (Celta Vigo)
Hugo Mallo has been an ever-present force for the Galicians this season, so much so that he has been rewarded with the captaincy.
A key man in Celta's impressive La Liga campaign, the 24-year-old has demonstrated he can utilise his speed to provide an attacking threat down the flank without neglecting his defensive duties. His versatile qualities were particularly evident during a stunning 4-1 victory over Barcelona in September.
Centre-back: Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid)
A solid, physical presence at the back, the Uruguayan has been a vital part of an Atletico side which has conceded the fewest goals in the league this season. Alongside his older compatriot Diego Godin, Gimenez has helped blunt some of the deadliest attacking forces in Spain thanks to his balanced defensive game.
Centre-back: Mario Gaspar (Villareal)
Normally a full-back by trade, the 25-year-old has shown his flexibility by occasionally filling in at centre-back during a hugely successful season with the Yellow Submarines.
Mario's defensive efforts have not gone unnoticed by Spain manager Vicente del Bosque, who rewarded the Villareal man with two call-ups and a start against England in which he scored a stunning overhead kick.
Left-back: Jonny (Celta Vigo)
Another key player in Celta's impressive run this season, Jonny has exhibited outstanding defensive awareness in addition to the capacity to charge forward and provide reliable service for the likes of Nolito, Orellana and Guidetti.
Having missed out on his official debut for Spain with his first call-up against Costa Rica in May 2015, another opportunity is surely around the corner if he can maintain his exceptional form.
Right-midfield: Marco Asensio (Espanyol)
Currently on loan from Real Madrid, Asensio has turned more than a few heads during his stint with the Catalan club. His playmaking exploits have rivalled the best in La Liga this season as he ranks among the top ten in the assist charts. The 20-year-old has been a shining light in an otherwise mediocre Espanyol side this campaign.
Central-midfield: Sergi Roberto (Barcelona)
The La Masia graduate has proved to be an ingenious find for the Blaugrana. It is never easy to make a statement in a star-studded lineup such as Barcelona's, but Sergi Roberto is chipping away at a first-team role thanks to his impressive performances in midfield and right-back.
Having been on the verge of leaving prior to this season, Roberto has turned a corner and been given a chance to shine by Luis Enrique, whose faith has not gone unrewarded. The 24-year-old has offered a reliable source of creativity while working hard and performing admirably in whatever position he is asked to play.
Left-midfield: Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Atletico Madrid)
The young Belgian has been the quintessential tearaway winger for Simeone's team this season. He has troubled defences on both flanks with his blistering pace and mazy dribbling in addition to his creativity and capacity to create and score goals.
While many of his fellow attackers have failed to ably support Griezmann, the former Monaco starlet has chipped in with three league goals to date and may be key to easing the pressure on his French teammate in Atletico's bid to reclaim the La Liga title.
Right-wing: Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao)
Undoubtedly a beneficiary of Bilbao's 'Basque-only' policy, Inaki Williams has improved leaps and bounds this season on his way to becoming an integral component of their attack.
Blessed with pace, clinical finishing and a tremendous work ethic, Williams has put in impressive shifts as a forward, winger and attacking midfielder while providing a constant nuisance for defenders this season. He called upon all of his qualities to produce one of the goals of the season with a wonderful flick and volley against Espanyol in November (see below).
Striker: Borja Baston (Eibar)
Borja has been in red-hot form for the Basque club this season having already crossed the 15-goal mark – an effort topped only by Suárez, Ronaldo, Neymar and Karim Benzema after 22 matches.
A true poacher with the ability to pounce on half a chance and make clever attacking runs into space, the on-loan Atletico striker has been at the forefront of Eibar's impressive top-half performance this campaign. Considering the recent departure of Jackson Martinez and lack of output from Fernando Torres, Luciano Vietto and Angel Correa, Atletico will be ruing sending Borja on loan.
Left-wing: Lucas Perez (Deportivo La Coruna)
Rounding out the XI is Lucas Perez, who has notched up an impressive 14 goals this season. Having hitherto struggled in relative anonymity in Ukraine and Greece, Lucas has contributed almost half of his team’s goals midway through his second campaign with Deportivo.
Even more noteworthy is his impressive feat of scoring in seven consecutive games – something a Deportivo player has not achieved since the days of the legendary Bebeto. His goalscoring feats have been complemented by marauding runs and an equally impressive work rate. Perez has been reinvigorated under Victor Sanchez, becoming a fan favourite the Estadio Riazor faithful will want to hang on to for as long as possible.
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