Former Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United men all feature in Alex Mott's Liga Weekend XI.
Ruben – Rayo Vallecano
Only two teams in Spain kept a clean sheet this weekend. But away from home, it was Rayo Vallecano who impressed the most, beating Celta Vigo 2-0 at the Balaidos. Goalkeeper Ruben was particularly impressive, making a string of saves to keep his team in the game.
Marco Torsiglieri – Almeria
The other side to keep a clean sheet in La Liga were Almeria. The promoted team went to Osasuna and came away with an impressive 1-0 win. Torsiglieri was a stand-out in the back four, keeping out a Rojillos side who had 68 per cent possession, and 20 shots at goal.
Mateo Musacchio – Villarreal
Going into this weekend, Atletico Madrid were the third best attack in Spain. Up against Villarreal though, they drew a blank, claiming a 1-1 draw thanks to a Mario Gaspar own goal. It was centre-back Mateo Musacchio who stood out most however, getting the better of potent attacking duo David Villa and Diego Costa.
Marc Bartra – Barcelona
Only a 92nd penalty stopped Barcelona keeping a clean sheet against Real Betis, and with Gerard Pique out, it was youngster Marc Bartra who shone amongst the backline. The centre-back has grown into his role this season, playing a more prominent role in the first under Tata Martino.
Martin Montoya – Barcelona
Another youngster who impressed for Barca this weekend was full-back Martin Montoya. With Adriano and Jordi Alba out injured, it was left to the 22-year-old to fill in at left-back. And up against the Verdiblancos, the Spain U21 international came out well.
Luka Modric – Real Madrid
He wasn’t on the scoresheet in a 5-1 win over Real Sociedad, but the Real Madrid playmaker was simply scintillating in the middle of the park for Los Blancos. The Croatia international has quickly become one of Carlo Ancelotti’s go-to men, and banished the early difficulties he suffered at Santiago Bernabeu.
Cesc Fabregas – Barcelona
Despite being in and out of the team this term for Barcelona, Cesc Fabregas has risen to the top of the pile and become one of the Blaugrana’s best performers. The former Arsenal man added to his growing prominence on Sunday with two goals in a 4-1 win over Real Betis.
Mikel Rico – Athletic Bilbao
Since his move from Granada in the summer, Mikel Rico has taken to life at San Mames with ease. And he endeared himself to supporters in the Basque country even more on Saturday with what turned out to be the winning goal against Levante. Athletic are now in fifth place.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
With voting for the Ballon d’Or getting under way soon, Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t have picked a better time to fire a League hat-trick. The Portugal international netted three times against Real Sociedad, but admitted afterwards that he ‘didn’t want to talk’ about the FIFA award.
Carlos Bacca – Sevilla
Sevilla won their first away game in over a calendar year on Sunday, as they went to Espanyol and won 3-1. The Colombian forward scored his fifth of the season after moving to the Rojiblancos in the summer, and saw the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan side move up to 11th in the table.
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid
After a difficult start to life in Spain, with injuries and persistent media pressure, the former Tottenham Hotspur man has got into his stride and is playing superbly well for Los Blancos. He may not have scored on Saturday in a 5-1 win over Real Sociedad, but he did set up Sami Khedira for his goal, and was a general nuisance on the right-hand channel.
image: © andybrannan