Alex Mott·5 June 2023
Alex Mott·5 June 2023
Barcelona are LaLiga winners again, four years on from their last title success.
But what else stood out this season?
After four years without a league title, Barcelona recaptured the crown this season and, in truth, it was a bit of a procession.
The Blaugrana really showed their worth in the second half of the season having gone into 2023 level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the table.
Post-World Cup, however, the Catalan giants were on another level and it was their defence that proved the backbone of the championship.
Ronaldo Araujo, Jules Koundé and Alejandro Balde all played their part but it was Marc-André ter Stegen who was the real difference.
The German goalkeeper conceded only 15 goals in 35 Liga appearances this term, the fewest amount of any shot-stopper in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
It’s been a brilliant campaign for a man who was being questioned at points last term.
It’s not exactly been a bumper season for young players in Spain.
Valencia had the youngest XI of the season with an average age of 23 but seven of the 20 teams were averaging over 30 years of age.
In the goalscoring charts meanwhile, you have to go down to ninth in the standings to find a player younger than 25 to have got double figures.
With that context then, it’s simply sensational what Vinícius Jnr has done on a consistent basis this season for Real Madrid.
And even more astonishing when you consider the shocking abuse he’s had to deal with almost from day one of the campaign.
The way the Brazilian forward has conducted himself throughout has been nothing short of remarkable and to keep performing under such conditions is a credit to himself and the environment created at Los Blancos.
As the old saying goes: form is temporary, class is permanent.
And with that in mind, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise to have witness Antoine Griezmann‘s renaissance this season.
It’s fair to say that the turning point for Griezmann’s campaign was the World Cup and his brilliant showing for France.
The 32-year-old was deployed in a slightly deeper position for Les Bleus and thrived as they reached yet another final.
Griezmann then brought that momentum into the second half of the Liga season and has been instrumental in Diego Simeone’s finishing second in the table.
There really can only be one candidate for this award and that’s Xavi.
The Barcelona boss has only been in charge for 18 months but has already had to deal with enough off-pitch drama to last a lifetime.
Xavi has managed to steady the ship brilliantly this term though and there’s been a real sense of calm with the 43-year-old at the helm.
As mentioned above, Barça’s defensive record has been extraordinary and that, in large part, is down to the work Xavi and his staff are doing on the training ground.
For the first time in a long time, Barcelona look like a well-coached side – and there is no better compliment than that.
Robert Lewandowski left Bayern Munich last summer as a legend.
The Poland international spent eight years at the Allianz Arena, scoring over 200 Bundesliga goals and winning 19 trophies.
But his switch to Barcelona, at age 34, was not guaranteed to work perfectly.
Lewandowski was joining a side who often looked disjointed last season, in an unfamiliar league with a young forward line in support.
The way he has performed in his debut campaign however, has been stunning.
It’s 33 in all competitions for the veteran forward with 23 of those coming in the league – making him the top goalscorer.
A class act, whatever country he’s playing in.
March 21, 2023.
With 36 games of the Liga season gone and just two and a bit months of the campaign to go, Sevilla were in huge trouble.
The Andalusian giants, who only two seasons ago had won the Europa League and were charging towards another one this time around, were freefalling domestically.
Two coaches had come and gone with Jorge Sampioli’s spell in charge from October to March proving one of the more disastrous decisions made by a club anywhere in Europe this term.
With Sevilla in desperate need then, they turned to a Liga veteran and a safe pair of hands.
Jose Luis Mendilibar has been around the block in Spanish football, having taken charge of 12 clubs over a near 20-year career.
It wasn’t an immediately inspiring choice but in the space of eight weeks the 62-year-old has taken Sevilla from the brink of relegation to 12th and yet another Europa League success.
Last season Girona squeaked into the Segunda Division play-offs on the final day, beating Real Oviedo on goal difference to land seventh place.
Wins over Eibar and Tenerife saw the Catalan club back in the top flight but most predictions saw them struggling to stay in the league.
Those predictions seem laughable now with Michel’s side having finished in 10th place.
Iñaki Williams’ astonishing run of games as a starter for Athletic came to an end this season.
But let’s not be sad that it ended, let’s celebrate that it happened in the first place.
Williams played 251 times consecutively as a starter for his home club, a total of just over six years.
That came to a stop in January though as the flying attacker suffered an ankle injury.
Here’s to another 251 more.
There have been plenty of stunners in Spain this season but, for our Goal of the Season, there was really only one winner.
Fede Valverde, ladies and gentlemen.
Goals often make games but in this case, it was the sheer tension in the capital that made this match memorable.
Diego Simeone’s side had struggled at the start of the season but in early January had just started to pick up post-World Cup.
What transpired was a tense, tight and almost toxic game of football with the winner coming early in the first half from Ousmane Dembélé.
After the second half, Atleti threw the kitchen sink at Barça but Xavi’s side were equal to the task.
It finally boiled over in stoppage time as Ferran Torres and Stefan Savic were sent off but the away side walked away with three of the most valuable points of the season.