La Liga is one of the best and most exciting domestic leagues in Europe, and the 2013-14 campaign proved to be scintillating.
The race for the title went down to the wire, as a 1-1 draw between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on the final weekend saw the latter become the Spanish champions for the first time since 1996.
At one point Real Madrid appeared to be on course for the title, but they eventually lost their way and had to settle for third spot.
A number of players performed to the best of their abilities, while many stepped up their game. Below is our La Liga Team of the Season.
GK - Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid)
The Belgium international won the Zamora Trophy for the second season in a row, and for the second year running he was easily the best goalkeeper in Spain. The 22-year-old, who might actually be the best in his position in the world, is scheduled to return to Chelsea for next season, and his departure will be a massive loss for Spanish champions Atletico.
The 27-year-old centre-back was a key player for Sevilla, as his defending was crucial in Unai Emery’s side finishing fifth in La Liga. This campaign the Argentine actually found some consistency and showed his skills on the ball, as well as his aerial strength.
CB - Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
Best centre-back in the world at the moment? The Uruguay international could lay a claim to that, as he was an absolute rock in the Atletico defence. The 28-year-old is one of the most underrated yet world-class central defenders, and Atletico wouldn’t certainly be successful without his leadership and calibre at the back.
Godin’s defensive teammate Miranda just missed out to the 19-year-old Athletic Bilbao starlet. The French centre-back came to the fore last season, but in 2013-14 he really rose to the occasion, starting in no fewer than 33 La Liga fixtures. He scored two goals as well, and proved to be a key player in Bilbao’s march to fourth in the standings.
CM - Gabi (Atletico Madrid)
Gabi is 30, but he has still featured in over 50 matches in all competitions for the Spanish champions this season. The Spaniard’s performance in defensive midfield was a key reason why Atletico conceded the fewest goals in the league. Oh, he also helped push his team forward – his three goals and eight assists prove that.
CM - Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Form is temporary, class is permanent. That is apt for the Croatia international, who endured a largely disappointing debut campaign in Spain. However, the 28-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has won over his detractors with his performances this term and really had a brilliant season. Best player for Madrid this campaign? Possibly.
RAM - Angel di Maria (Real Madrid)
Former Spurs star Gareth Bale may have had a successful debut season in Spain on a personal level, but it is the Argentine he was supposedly going to replace who overshadowed him. The 26-year-old winger scored four goals and provided 17 assists – the highest in La Liga. Madrid may have failed to win the league title, but Di Maria should be very pleased with himself for his displays.
CAM - Koke (Atletico Madrid)
He is still only 22, but Koke already looks like that he is a veteran. The Spain international midfielder, who has reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United, was a star for Atletico in their successful La Liga campaign and is said to be the heir-apparent of Xavi for the European and world champions. Koke’s versatility to play anywhere in midfield proved to be a boon for Diego Simeone’s side.
CAM - Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla)
The Croatia international midfielder was the heartbeat of a Sevilla side that finished as high as fifth in La Liga. One of the few players to get a ‘double-double’ (12 goals and 10 assists), the 26-year-old had a great and successful Europa League campaign as well. There are reports that United are keen on Rakitic, and it is not hard to see why.
LAM - Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Best player in the world? Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will still lay a claim to that, but for the 2013-14 campaign, the Portugal international was head and shoulders above the rest of the players on the planet. The 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner (whom we have placed on the left side of attacking midfield instead up front) ended the season with 31 goals in as many league matches, while creating nine assists.
ST - Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
The Brazilian-born Spain international striker suffered injuries towards the end of the season, but nothing else could stop him. The 25-year-old striker scored 27 goals and provided three assists in 35 La Liga appearances, establishing himself as arguably the best striker in Europe for this campaign. Chelsea are set to sign him this summer, and Atletico will have a real task of replacing him.