LaLiga File: The Best of the 2016/17 Season

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beIN SPORTS (by Gabrielle Amado)

 

Player of the Season: Marcelo 

When you think about Real Madrid during the 2016/17 season, you think about Mr. Clutch: Cristiano Ronaldo; Mr. 90th minute: Sergio Ramos; Mr. Rock in Midfield: Casemiro.

But the truth of the matter is that Real Madrid could not have won their 33rd LaLiga title without Mr. Irreplaceable: Marcelo. 

Real Madrid’s main man on the left flank penned two goals and 10 assists in LaLiga this season, with his Round 35 goal in particular - scored in stoppage time against Valencia - proving vital for Los Blancos’ chances of achieving LaLiga glory. 

There is no stat that will ever properly encapsulate the contribution of Marcelo: He is Madrid’s pinpoint crossing machine, their dribbling and take-on go-to guy. Not only is the afro-haired Brazilian the finest left-back currently plying his trade in Spain, but he could well be the best player in his position on this spinning ball of dirt and water we call planet Earth.

Marcelo averages 1.5 key passes, 1.5 crosses and 3.3 long balls per LaLiga game and is the main man behind Real Madrid’s dangerous attack and resilient back line.

Word of warning Madridistas, we have all seen what happens when a club gets rid of a simply irreplaceable full back (ahem, Barcelona and Dani Alves). Don’t make that same mistake, Florentino. 

#MarceloBallonDor

 

Rising Star: Marco Asensio

When Marco Asensio scored in the very first match of the season, it was a message to the world that something special was in the works. He hasn’t disappointed since.

Seen as a key asset to the future youth movement at Real Madrid, the 21-year old Asensio has become the bargain of the century.

With 23 appearances in LaLiga this season, 11 starts and 12 as a substitute, Asensio has more than earned the trust of boss Zinedine Zidane and become a Bernabeu fan favorite in the process.

This Spaniard penned 3 goals and 2 assists in the Spanish top flight and was a standout member of Zizou’s bench squad; a squad including the likes of James and Isco, all fighting for coveted playing time.

But whenever the Frenchman needed him, Asensio was fit and ready to make jaws drop. The starlet most notably came on for an injured Gareth Bale in El Clasico back in Round 34 and was a constant thorn in the Blaugrana’s side.

In his first full season at Real Madrid, Asensio proved he may be young, but he is fierce and he is at the Bernabeu to stay.

Notable Mentions:  Theo Hernandez, on loan to Alaves, who is seen as one of the most promising left backs in Spain and Carlos Soler, Valencia’s midfielder on the rise, both ring in as a close second and third in the ‘Rising Star’ category.

 

Super-Sub: Sevilla’s Super-Subs

Sevilla may not look back on 2016/17 as a season to remember, but if there was a light amongst the darkness, it was Sampaoli’s super-sub forces. 

Pablo Sarabia, Vicente Iborra and Wissam Ben Yedder all make LaLiga’s Top 7 ‘super-subs’ of the season. They bagged 11 goals and four assists between them off the bench this season and each had a match day to call their very own. 

Pablo Sarabia’s goal and assist back in Round 19 to give Sevilla a hard-fought win over Osasuna; Vicente Iborra with his memorable second half hat-trick off the bench against Celta Vigo back in Round 15; Ben Yedder with his one man show performance back in Round 17 against Real Sociedad, scoring a hat-trick and assisting another. 

If Sampaoli did one thing right, it was managing to get the absolute best out of his bench boys. And for that we solute not just the bespectacled Argentine calling the shots from the touchline, but also his squad of super-subs!

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Goal of the Season: Kevin-Prince Boateng

The ultimate team goal of the season brings us back to Round 9 when Villarreal hosted a neon-dressed Las Palmas side.

A team move that culminated in a back-heel volley assist by Tana and a scissor-kick finish by Kevin-Prince Boateng was nothing short of a GOLAZO-AZO-AZO! Round in and round out, many tried to top the German-born Ghanaian’s work of art, but all failed.

This goal really should have been worth double, but it wasn’t, and Las Palmas lost the match 2-1. But hey, they won goal of the season! So much better than a boring three points anyway…

 

LaLiga File is your one stop shop for a look back at the latest round in the Spanish top-flight. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes its cheeky, but it always strives to bring you a sassy synopsis of (one of) the world’s best leagues. Tweet at us @beINSPORTSUSA and @gabbyamado using the hashtag #LaLigaFile with your comments, questions and, if you must, complaints.