THE Premier League is underway, and the feast for football fans continues on the weekend when the 2014-2015 La Liga season kicks off in Spain.
If the title race in England is going to be compelling, then it’s all-out war in Spain to arrest the competition’s top prize from Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona – before their transfer ban comes into play – outlaid on Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Thomas Vermaelen, Jeremy Mathieu and two goalkeepers, Marc Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo. Real have just enjoyed a slight, ahem, flurry on James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Keylor Navas, while they haven’t let go Sami Khedira and Angel di Mari yet either.
OUR TOP 50 PLAYERS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Atletico haven’t been quiet either, as they’ve needed to replenish a title winning squad decimated thanks, mainly, to Jose Mourinho. Diego Costa, Felipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois are out; Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann, Raul Jimenez and Jan Oblak arrive.
LA LIGA WEEK ONE ON FOX SPORTS
SATURDAY: Spanish Super Cup second leg, Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid, 6.25am EST Fox Sports 1 HD
SUNDAY: Sevilla v Valencia, 4.55am EST, Fox Sports 1 HD
MONDAY: Barcelona v Elche, 4.55am EST, Fox Sports 1 HD
The scary truth is that a world XI is heavily dominated by players in Spain’s ‘big three’.
Indeed, try it yourself. Try to come up with the La Liga Dream Team and by the time you’ve settled on a way to squeeze all the stars in, you’ll remember another cast that you want to include and change your mind on a formation to include them.
So while the sheer unpredictability and depth of the EPL captures the imagination of plenty of Australian fans, the sheer star power in La Liga ensures it is a compelling part of our football diet.
Here goes … let the debate begin. Yes, Gareth Bale is at left-back. We’re getting greedy.
The Ultimate La Liga XI. Source: FoxSports
Let us know your team in the comments field below.
LA LIGA’S BIG 5 SIGNINGS
– By Associated Press
1. LUIS SUAREZ
Barcelona- Barcelona was undeterred by Luis Suarez’s infamous bite of an Italian opponent at the World Cup that further tarnished his reputation and will keep him sidelined until October. The Catalan club paid Liverpool $108 million for the Premier League’s leading scorer last season. The 27-year-old Uruguay forward signed for five years.
Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona comes onto the pitch during the Joan Gamper Trophy. Source: Getty Images
2. JAMES RODRIGUEZ
The midfielder was the revelation of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. His tournament-leading six goals for Colombia earned him the Golden Boot trophy and the attention of Real Madrid. The European Cup winners paid Monaco $108 million for the 23-year-old, who signed for six seasons.
Real Madrid’s Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez. Source: AFP
3. ANTOINE GRIEZMANN:
Atletico Madrid made several signings this season but the biggest investment was in 23-year-old France winger Antoine Griezmann. Atletico spent $40 million for the explosive forward who scored 19 goals for Real Sociedad last campaign.
Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann, top, competes for the ball with Real’s Xabi Alonso. Source: AP
4. TONI KROOS
Midfielder Toni Kroos helped guide Germany through its brilliant World Cup campaign to be crowned the best team on the globe. He then packed his bags for Real Madrid after it lured him away from Bayern Munich with a six-year contract and paid his $33 million transfer fee.
Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Koke (L) vies with Real Madrid’s German midfielder Toni Kroos. Source: AFP
5. MARIO MANDZUKIC
Needing to replace its leading scorer after Diego Costa’s exit, Atletico Madrid has entrusted its attack to Mario Mandzukic as it seeks to defend its La Liga title. The Croatia striker moved from Bayern Munich on a $29.4-million transfer.
Atletico’s Mandzukic top, jumps for the ball in between players during a Spanish Supercup first leg.