Tim Stannard's Primera Liga XI
The mission set by the evil FourFourTwo masters sounded an easy one at first. Pick your la Liga XI to take on a side from the Premier League. Ã¢ÂÂEasy,Ã¢ÂÂ thought LLL Ã¢ÂÂBarcelona with a couple of Real Madrid players thrown in for good measure.dÃ¢ÂÂ
The catch though was that the side had to be made up of players from eleven different clubs, not so easy considering 18 of the 20 la Primera outfits are, to be brutally honest, not really much good. In fact, it was a torturous exercise of jiggling, poking and swearing, but here are the results in a sort of narrow 4-3-3 formation. Thibaut Courtois - AtlÃÂ©tico MadridWhile the rest of the Rojiblancos are merrily underperforming - as they tend to do every year - the 19-year-old Chelsea loanee has been a solid performer between the sticks, with the Belgian goalie making lingering memories of David de Gea seem distant.
Juanfran - LevanteThe selection strategy has been to pack the midfield and forward line with talent and then hope for the best in defence. Especially in the fullback area. Yes, Juanfran is 35 and is getting on a bit, but Juanfran has also been a rock in one of the best teams in la Liga in 2011, statistically speaking. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, buddy...
Adil Rami - ValenciaFast, tough, aggressive and quite scary at the back as well as very handy in the opposition box, the French international has been one of the buys of the season, and is ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs very valuable contribution to la LigaÃ¢ÂÂs best XI.
IÃÂ±igo MartÃÂnez - Real SociedadSpanish U-21 defender extraordinaire, future full team regular and a centre-back who also likes to score goals from his own half - something that MartÃÂnez has done twice this season.
Miguel Torres - GetafeThis was a real problem position and the whopping weak spot of the team. Miguel Torres is the best of a bad bunch of Racing and Zaragoza players available as although the Getafe fullback is incredibly unspectacular, has a fear of crossing the half-way line, Torres is reasonably competent and consistent.
Javi MartÃÂnez - Athletic BilbaoA tough-tacking, box-to-box, rampaging World Cup winner who can also play in defence which may be necessary from time-to-time in this particular line-up. A powerful, physical footballer that any Premier League team would love to have anchoring their midfield.
Borja Valero - VillarrealHis team may not be having the best of spells at the moment with ValeroÃ¢ÂÂs form suffering too, but the Villarreal playmaker has been one of the consistently best Primera players over the last couple of seasons - an expert at nearly every type of set-piece, cross and pass imaginable.
Santi Cazorla - MÃÂ¡lagaPlaying in front of his former Villarreal teammate, Borja Valero, itÃ¢ÂÂs Santi Cazorla - a footballer with wonderful technique, brilliant creativity, a cheeky smile and a Spanish international who would have had an awful lot more caps by now if it werenÃ¢ÂÂt for the fact thatÃ¢ÂÂs heÃ¢ÂÂs in existence on the earth at the same time as footballers like AndrÃÂ©s Iniesta, David Silva and now Juan Mata.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Real MadridPositioned on the left of a front three itÃ¢ÂÂs the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo, a footballer that many knockers forget scored an awful lot of goals playing for Manchester United, as well as the century and then some of strikes heÃ¢ÂÂs banged in with Real Madrid. The managerÃ¢ÂÂs only concern is whether Ronaldo and a certain Argentinean in the squad will speak to each other - never mind pass.
Leo Messi - BarcelonaIt was a serious temptation to drop the wee Argentinean to bring in AndrÃÂ©s Iniesta to the midfield or even have the defence lead by Gerard PiquÃÂ©, but the decision was made to go on the all out attack and adopt the policy of scoring more goals than the opposition - something Leo Messi might be able to help with.
Alvaro Negredo - SevillaIt was a tough choice between the Sevilla striker and Fernando Llorente for the front man position, but Negredo nicks it due to the requirement of Javi MartÃÂnez to add some steal to the midfield and help out at the back. However, the former Madrid man more than justifies his position as a forward who can score goals ranging from the simple to the spectacular. Negredo is also a footballer who was the top scoring Spaniard in la Liga last season with 20 goals.
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