5 Most Underrated Players in La Liga

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2013

5 Most Underrated Players in La Liga

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    La Liga is one of the best domestic leagues in the world of football; perhaps the very best league of all if FIFA's World XI is anything to go by.

    Spain have the best international team, most of the players in the squad play in their own league and in Real Madrid and Barcelona they have two of the biggest clubs in the world.

    It's far more than just a two-team league though, even if those two are the duo most likely to challenge for trophies in any given season.

    The entire league is filled with interesting and talented players, some of whom don't get the attention or level of recognition they deserve. Here are the top five underrated players from Spain's top flight.

Pizzi, Deportivo La Coruña

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    We'll start right at the bottom of the table.

    Deportivo La Coruña are struggling at the foot of La Liga, in 20th place and nine points adrift of safety, having won just three times and scored 29 goals this season.

    One of the few real bright spots of the season though has been Luis Miguel Afonso Fernandes—more commonly known as Pizzi, who is on loan to them.

    The left sided forward loves to get on the ball and dictate play cutting in from wide areas, and has been a potent goal threat for his team.

    Out of the 29 his team have scored, Pizzi has scored or assisted 12 of them. The 23-year-old has been capped once for Portugal and should have a good career ahead of him.

    At the end of his loan spell he will be joining Atletico Madrid from Braga.

Ignacio Camacho, Malaga

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    Now bouncing up the table to a Champions League team and Malaga's Ignacio Camacho.

    Malaga are up to fourth place in the league again but, being under a ban from UEFA, will not compete in continental competition next season.

    While the likes of Isco, Joaquin and Martin Demichelis have won plenty of plaudits for their roles in the season so far, Ignacio Camacho has been one of their most important and effective players.

    Playing in a holding central midfield role, Camacho has been vital in protecting the back four and is competent in possession too. His deep role doesn't allow him to be overly involved further forward, but he has contributed a couple of goals along the way.

    Camacho has played in all but two league games this season.

Gary Medel, Sevilla

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    Another holding midfielder, Gary Medel of Sevilla is a much more physical and aggressive type of midfielder than Camacho, but is another very effective player.

    As well as his defensive traits, Medel loves to play sweeping long balls forward. Having made over 100 this season so far, he maintains an 81 percent success rate. It's nothing aimless or simply to clear his lines; Medel's forward passes help his team change the rhythm of the game and at times bring the best out of the likes of Jesus Navas with his pace.

    Medel is also capable in the final third and has contributed five goals in the league this season, with Sevilla currently 12th in the table.

Abdel Barrada, Getafe

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    Getafe still have an outside chance of achieving European qualification this season, currently lying in ninth place in La Liga.

    One of their best and most underrated players is Abdel Barrada, a Moroccan international who appeared at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

    Barrada plays in an advanced central midfield position and much of his team's attacking play goes through his feet.

    Though he is a technical player, Barrada is also tall and fairly strong, helping him maintain possession under pressure.

    He has contributed six assists for his team this season.

Ever Banega, Valencia

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    Finally, a more well-known player in a bigger team, but still one who perhaps does not get the recognition he deserves.

    Valencia's Ever Banega is known for being a player who is good on the ball, capable of being a playmaking central midfielder either from deep or advanced roles, but somehow he escapes mention still when discussing the top talents in the league.

    Ever has suffered with injuries at times but at his best he is one of the more consistent ball-players in the league (who doesn't already play for Barcelona). A 90 percent pass completion rate in the Champions League this season is testament to that ability, though perhaps even he will be unable to help his team past PSG in the quarterfinals.

    He has 14 caps for Argentina and is now only 24 years of age; he could potentially become one of his country's best players if he maintains fitness and continues to improve, and he certainly has the quality to continue playing Champions League level football.

    Quite possibly elsewhere if Valencia fail to qualify for the competition this season.

     

    Stats data from TransferMarkt.co.uk and WhoScored.com