Liga BBVA Team of the Year!

It’s launch day and what better way to start the blog than with a roundup of the best 11 players in Liga BBVA (so far, there are still 2 more gameweeks until the end of the season), so let’s go! This team may surprise you at the lack of Real Madrid/Barcelona players, at least less than you expect, but these other players deserve their places in the XI and you will see why! I’ve opted for a 4-4-2 which seems very uncharacteristic but this is because of the players’ positions:

In goal there’s the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. With 19 clean sheets and having only conceded 30 goals at 0.83 goals per game, the best record in the league, it’s easy to see why he’s the best there has been this season. He has been helped though as Iker Casillas, the Real Madrid goalkeeper and ratings wise the best in the league, has missed most of the season because of a broken hand as well as falling out with the Real Madrid manager, but still take nothing away from this 21 year old because he will soon be one of the top goalkeepers on the world stage!

At right back is Juanfran, also an Atletico Madrid player and he has been key to the season that Atletico Madrid have had where they will finish 3rd and given that just 10 years ago they were in the Segunda division with players such as Fernando Torres it is a remarkable feat.

The centre back pairing I’ve opted for are the Real Madrid pair of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos. With 11 clean sheets between them it seems like an odd choice but they have conceded just 37 goals (in 36 games) and having had one of the worst defensive records in recent history, it could have been far worse without these two players. Varane has especially stood out amongst the ranks as he has been brought through the Real Madrid squad this season by manager Jose Mourinho and is definitely one to watch for the future.

At left back there’s Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid. He, like Juanfran and Courtois, has been instrumental in Atletico’s marvellous season.

Down the right wing there is only one player who you can choose and that is Carlos Vela. With 14 goals and 9 assists as well as 3 man of the match performances this season, Vela has been a crucial part of Sociedad’s high flying season who are now in a fight for a european place with Valencia.

In the middle there are so many world class players to choose that I’m going to list them all because it wouldn’t be fair to pick just two. So here they are: Mesut Ozil (RM), Xabi Alonso (RM), Xavi (FCB), Iniesta (FCB), Gabi (AM), Koke (AM) and Turan (AM). All of these players have had brilliant seasons themselves but if I had to pick on this season alone so far, it would have to be Ozil and Turan who have both been breathtaking when performing, even if from the bench.

On the Left wing there’s only one player that this could be: Cristiano Ronaldo. Need I say more? 34 league games, 34 goals, 10 assists, 10 man of the match awards. He is in the top two best players in the world and its easy to see why.

Up top is Radamel Falcao with 33 appearances and 28 goals in the league so far he has been an unstoppable force and was even part of the FIFA team of the year 2012 which was a remarkable personal feat. The €60million man will definitely be one to watch in the transfer window as he is linked with moves to Monaco, Chelsea, Man City, PSG and any other club with the money to buy him!

Last but most certainly not least is Lionel Messi. 32 Appearances, 46 goals. 12 Assists. 20 Man of the Match awards. The other half of the top two players in the world and recognised by FIFA as the best with a 3rd consecutive Ballon d’or, Messi has consistently proven he is at the top level of world football and will probably remain there for a while.

So in short here’s the team:

Courtois

Juanfran – Ramos – Varane – Luis

Vela – Ozil – Turan – Ronaldo

Falcao – Messi

Please leave comments and your own opinions too! Stay tuned for transfer news as well as everything else BBVA.

-Keval (@KevalDattani)

A German Uprising – Champions League Final Preview 2013

25th May 2013 sees the two heavyweights of German football descend upon London to battle for supremacy at Wembley – to be crowned  as Europe’s top club side. As we know already, Bayern have been dominant this season, winning the  Bundesliga title earlier than any team in history, but they also set records for the most wins, fewest defeats, the fewest goals conceded, most clean sheets and best goal difference whilst having also scored in every league match. Quite a feat in lague bustling with talent.

Bayern have managed to continue this form in Europe, having won all four of their quarter and semi-final matches, scoring 11 goals, with their greatest achievement so far surely being the 7-0 aggregate thrashing of Barcelona. A special mention should be made however to the departing coach  Jupp Heynckes, as this Champions League final will be his last game in charge before he hands over the torch to Pep Guardiola. Having lost the final in 2010 to Inter Milan and then to Chelsea on penalties in 2012 in their own backyard, Bayern will be looking to amend their own final form, as well as give their departing coach something to celebrate.

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Borussia Dortumund however go in to this one seeking some revenge on Bayern, who recently announced the purchase of Mario Gotze back in April for €37 million (£30 million) and Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp admits that ” The timing could have been better” and that losing a player of Gotze’s ability is a massive blow. Futhermore, this has undoubtedly raised eyebrows concerning Gotze’s fitness, due to the fact he has pulled out of the final against his new team.

This could also reportedly be striker Robert Lewandowski‘s last game, as he is apparently set for a summer move to possible rivals Bayern Munich following team mate Mario Gotze. Speculation such as this has led Jurgen Klopp infuriating officials at Bayern by classing them as ” James Bond Villians” and also quoting that “Every football neutral in the world” wants a Dortmund win.

Klopp is a firm believer that his side should play an attractive brand of attacking football, however they have failed to beat Bayern in any of their four meetings this year, and will be looking for redemption.

Juergen-Klopp

Possible team line-ups for the first ever all-German Champions League Final:

Borussia Dortmund:

Weidenfeller

Piszczek • Subotić • Hummels • Schmelzer

Gündogan • Bender

Błaszczykowski • Reus • Großkreutz

Lewandowski

Kevin Großkreutz is expected to take the place of the injured Mario Gotze  in the XI, with Marco Reus shifting into the centre of the attacking trio behind Robert Lewandowski.

 Mats Hummels is expected to shake off a minor ankle injury to feature against his former club.

Bayern Munich:

Neuer

Lahm • Buyten • Dante • Alaba

Martínez • Schweinsteiger

Robben • Müller • Ribéry

Mandžukić

Toni Kroos remains sidelined after picking up a muscle injury in the quarter-final first leg against Juventus, so Arjen Robben will continue on the right, with Thomas Muller lining up behind lone striker Mario Mandzukic, who is expected to get the nod ahead of striker Mario Gomez.

The only other question for Bayern is who will partner Dante at the back, Daniel Van Buyten and Jerome Boateng have been rotated at the heart of defense, but the Belgian is the more likely to start the final.

What do I think the result will be? I expect Bayern to have the edge over Dortmund in this one; I think this season they have shown that they as a club, want success more than anyone else, and I expect them to be too strong for Dortmund. I feel that Mario Gotze will be a massive loss for Dortmund in their hopes of winning the Champions League, so I’m going for a Bayern win, however stranger things have happened… as for the scoreline, I’ll leave that one for yourselves!

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Written by @Adam_Longsden feedback is welcomed!

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