La Liga's Best Foreigners: An XI to Take on the World
The tempting approach when setting out to write an article like this is to go geeky and find some obscure foreign types for the XI. Basically, anything to avoid whacking together a team culled from Barcelona and Real Madrid’s ranks.
However, reality is as reality does, so a Foreigner XI playing in La Liga leans heavily on the big two teams of Spain. There is a bit of help from Atletico Madrid, too. Quite frankly, it is a sad indictment on how all the cream lies entirely at the top in the Spanish league.
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois, Atletico Madrid
Not only the best foreign goalkeeper in La Liga but, on form from last season, the best footballer outright between the sticks ahead of Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes. The Belgian, who is with the Vicente Calderon club for another year, is a young but extremely composed, unflappable figure at the back.
Left-back: Marcelo, Real Madrid
Not entirely happy about this selection, but Atletico’s Filipe Luis simply has not been the dynamic figure from his Deportivo days. Instead, Marcelo gets the nod, and to be fair it is probably deserved considering in about 12 months' time the Madrid full-back could well be a World Cup winner. Oh, Marcelo has a fine finish on him, too. Actually, the decision is being warmed to a little bit more now.
Centre-back: Raphael Varane, Real Madrid
Zut Alors! It has to be arguably the most promising defending talent in the world today in the centre of the defence. Scratch that, Varane’s performances last season especially in the Champions League have put the 20-year-old into the “delivering” department, rather than merely promising
Centre-back: Miranda, Atletico Madrid
The Brazilian has helped de-wobble the traditionally shaky Rojiblanco back four and create the strongest of shields in front of Courtois. In fact, so good is Miranda that it is surprising a bigger fish has not been along to snap the centre-back up. The defender will form a wonderfully graceful partnership with his Real Madrid counterpart.
Right-back: Dani Alves, Barcelona
Who else but Barcelona's barnstorming Brazilian, Dani Alves? The defender, in name but not in practice, will add another attacking arm to a team that is already looking more than a little tasty.
Defensive Midfielder: Sami Khedira, Real Madrid
As has been written many times before, the German international is a little wasted stuck as a shield in front of the Madrid back four. However, it is a role that Khedira fulfills well, so no reason not to jam him into this Foreign XI.
Creative Midfielder: Luka Modric, Real Madrid
The Croatian in the footballer who makes the assist before the assist. Modric got better by the game last season at the Santiago Bernabeu and is a sturdy replacement for the aging Xabi Alonso. However, there is a great possibility that the former Spurs player will not be seeing too much of the ball in this rumbustious rabble.
Left Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
The hardest part of Ronaldo starting in this team will not be finding a tactical way to get him to play with Leo Messi, up front. Instead, it will be getting the Portuguese forward to share a dressing room and make vague eye contact with his Barca rival. If that can be achieved, the side would simply blow opponents away with goals, goals, goals. Or there would be fisticuffs. Could go either way.
Right Forward: Arda Turan, Atletico Madrid
Angel di Maria or even Alexis Sanchez might have better claims for this position; however, the team needs footballers who are on their feet for at least 60 percent of the game. Neither of the aforementioned footballers fit that particular bill. Arda Turan can deliver that requirement and more with the Turkish midfielder being given an even bigger stage to show what talent he has in his boots.
Playmaker: Mesut Ozil, Real Madrid
Ozil is a shoe-in for this role simply because of the German’s immensely unselfish play. The Real Madrid man could, and some say should, score more goals, but Ozil seems to enjoy setting them up for everyone else. This sees the side’s No. 10 having fun aplenty in this particular team.
Striker: Lionel Messi, Barcelona
It has been a taxing summer for poor Leo, so the Argentinean will be delighted to have found his way into the team’s starting XI. Messi’s marvelous finishing, combined with the supply from a rather decent support cast would see the Barcelona forward racking up at least 187 league goals playing for this particular outfit.
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