La Liga is one of the best and most exciting domestic leagues in Europe, and every year there are young players who make their mark.
The 2013-14 Spanish top-flight campaign also saw a number of youngsters step up their game and rise to the occasion, showing signs that they are set for stardom in the not-so-distant future.
Below is our list of top five young players in La Liga this season. For our list, we have considered players who were 21 or below at the start of the 2014.
Sevilla had a successful 2013-14 season in which they won the Europa League and finished fifth in La Liga. Left-back Moreno was a key player in the Andalucian club’s success, as he made 27 starts in the league and 11 in Europe. Liverpool are said to be interested in the defender, but so are Real Madrid.
Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao)
The 19-year-old Bilbao starlet enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2013-14 and started in no fewer than 33 La Liga fixtures. The teenager scored two goals as well and proved to be a rock at the back, as the Basque giants finished fourth in La Liga. Laporte is a youngster destined for greatness.
Like Courtois, Koke was 21 at the start of the year so he makes the list. He is said to be the heir-apparent to Xavi in the Spain national team, and it is not hard to see why. Having the versatility to play anywhere in midfield, the 22-year-old proved to be a key player for Diego Simeone’s side both in La Liga and in the Champions League. Manchester United have been linked with a move for the youngster, and they would get a massive boost in their Premier League title quest next season if they are able to sign him.
The 19-year-old is destined for greatness. Having won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship with Spain in 2012, the teenager joined Rayo on loan from Spanish champions Atletico for the 2013-14 campaign. Niguez’s performances both in defence and in midfield saw the Madrid outfit finish a respectable 12th, and he also picked up Rayo’s newly-formed Player of the Year award. Liverpool and Everton have both been linked with a move for the exciting youngster this summer, but Atletico are unlikely to let him go.
Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid)
The Belgium international turned 22 earlier this month and is actually on loan at the Spanish champions from Chelsea. Having won the Zamora Trophy twice in a row, he has been easily the best goalkeeper in Spain for the past two seasons and is arguably the best in Europe on current form. Courtois is a ‘complete’ keeper, and one who is only going to reach greater heights at Chelsea.