It’s been an intriguing season in La Liga.
Barcelona appeared to be easing towards retaining their trophy until a collapse left one point separating them, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid with just two matches remaining.
But after Atleti’s surprise defeat against Levante last weekend, it comes down to the final day to see if Barcelona or Madrid will be crowned champions. Luis Enrique’s side know that a win against Granada would be enough but Los Blancos will be ready and waiting as they face Deportivo.
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While the league campaign has been interesting, Spanish clubs have dominated in Europe. It’s a Madrid derby in the Champions League final - for the second time in three years - while Sevilla will be looking for their third consecutive Europa League triumph when they face Liverpool - the side that knocked out Villarreal in the semi-finals.
With the league title still undecided, picking a La Liga team of the season is a tough task. However, that didn’t stop Sky Sports’ pundit Guillem Balague from selecting his best XI - plus a manager.
The Spanish football expert selects three players each from title challengers Barcelona and Real Madrid with Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez selected for the Catalan club while Pepe, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo got the nod for Los Blancos.
Balague had very high praise for Messi, by claiming he is the greatest footballer of all time: “Suffice to say he is in the opinion of many, myself included, the greatest player ever to have graced the game.”
While he claims Messi is the best player in history, Balague thinks that Ronaldo is the best finisher football has ever seen: "This has also been a season of change for the magnificent Cristiano Ronaldo who has had to come to terms with adjusting his style of play to a gradually deteriorating body.
"That said, while he may no longer quite have that frightening pace that has throughout his career scared the world's greatest defenders, his transformation into an out-and-out striker has confirmed his status as quite simply the best finisher in the world, and in my eyes the best of all time."
The remaining five players were made up of three Atleti men and two from Villarreal - with the teams third and fourth respectively.
Diego Simone’s goalkeeper Jan Oblak got the nod in the goal while Diego Godin was selected alongside Pepe as centre-back. The other Atleti player was, of course, Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman has scored 21 goals in 36 league matches this season while his strikes against Barcelona and Bayern Munich helped his side to reach the Champions League final.
Meanwhile, Villarreal duo Mario Gaspar and Bruno Soriano have caught Balague’s eye with the Yellow Submarine securing Champions League qualification for next season.
But Balague has gone a step further than just naming the best XI players by also picking his manager of the year. Despite Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claiming he “wouldn’t want to be him for a second in his life,” Villarreal boss Marcelino was selected by Balague.
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