Top 20 La Liga Players of 2011

Xoel Cardenas@@XoelCardenasContributor IIIJanuary 1, 2012

Top 20 La Liga Players of 2011

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    La Liga saw a great campaign in its 81st year. From goal-scoring records being broken to thrilling games, La Liga saw its established great players continue to shine. Several new players who may not have been seen as stars came on strong and showed their class.

    La Liga is a league tailor-made for stars to shine.

    In this list, I will list the top 20 La Liga players of 2011. Nos. 4-20 will be named only, in no particular order, and the top three will be broken down with their achievements.

    Some deserved players have been left out, I understand and I apologize for this. This was a tough list to make as I was trying to be fair to all players and teams in La Liga and not just include mostly players from the big two: FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, although it's tough not to include quite a bit of players from those teams.

    Enjoy!

Counting Down from No. 20 to No. 4

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    20. Francesc "Cesc" Fàbregas

    Team: FC Barcelona

    Position: Midfielder

    19. Képler Laveran Lima Ferreira  "Pepe"

    Team: Real Madrid CF

    Position: Center back

    18. Roberto Soldado

    Team: Valencia CF

    Position: Striker

    17. Alvaro Negredo

    Team: Sevilla

    Position: Striker

    16. Gerard Pique

    Team: FC Barcelona

    Position: Center back

    15. Iñigo Martinez

    Team: Real Sociedad

    Position: Center back

    14. Jordi Alba

    Team: Valencia CF

    Position: Center back/midfielder

    13. Sergio Ramos

    Team: Real Madrid CF

    Position: Right back

    12. Dani Avles

    Team: FC Barcelona

    Position: Right wing back

    11. Javi Martinez

    Team: Athletic Bilbao

    Position: Midfielder

    10. Victor Valdes

    Team: FC Barcelona

    Position: Goalkeeper

    9. Iker Casillas

    Team: Real Madrid CF

    Position: Goalkeeper

    8. Fernando Llorente

    Team: Athletic Bilbao

    Position: Striker

    7. Karim Benzema

    Team: Real Madrid CF

    Position: Striker

    6. Giuseppe Rossi

    Team: Villarreal CF

    Position: Striker

    5. Marcelo Vieira

    Team: Real Madrid CF

    Position: Left back

    4. Andres Iniesta

    Team: FC Barcelona

    Position: Midfielder

3: Xavi, FC Barcelona

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    Xavi Hernandez

    Team: FC Barcelona

    Position: Midfielder

    The best midfielder of our generation continued to show us his talents and skills this year in La Liga. He may not rack up numbers in the score sheet, but it's all the intangibles, his awareness on-the-field, his vision, and his ever calming presence are just some of the things that make Xavi Hernandez one of the best players in La Liga and in world football.

    Xavi's great play has been rewarded outside the pitch with his third consecutive Ballon d'Or finalist nomination. Some say it's Xavi turn to win it.

    Xavi is the best midfielder in La Liga and in world football. His greatness in 2011 is just another chapter in the legacy. 

2: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

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    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Team: Real Madrid CF

    Position: Winger

    CR7 was La Liga’s goal-scoring king in 2011. Cristiano scored a tremendous 40 goals in the 2010-11 season, setting a new record. Ronaldo blasted everything from free kicks to headers. His most important goal came in the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona where in extra time Ronaldo headed an Angel Di Maria cross into the back of the net and winning the cup. One of the biggest improvements to his game has been his tendency to pass the ball more than in previous seasons. In fact, Ronaldo was tied for seventh overall in assist standings with 10 assists.

    This season, Ronaldo has continued his excellent performance from the previous season as he has scored 20 goals and has eight assists. Look for CR7 to possibly break his own goal record in 2012 and look to lead Real Madrid to its first Liga title in three years.  

1: Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona

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    Lionel Messi

    Team: FC Barcelona

    Position: Center forward

    There’s so much we can say about Lionel Messi and has been said. I won't take up too much time.

    The best player on planet earth continued writing his legacy in gold as he won the Ballon d’Or in January. Messi helped lead Barcelona to its third consecutive Liga crown as well as a second Champions League title in three years. Messi scored 31 goals in La Liga and lead the league in assists with 18.

    Messi’s clutch goals against Real Madrid in the UCL semifinal and in the Spanish Super Cup and then versus Manchester United are just some of the reasons Messi will more than likely land his third Ballon d’Or award soon.

    Messi continued his great play into the 2011-12 Liga season as he has scored 17 goals and is second in the assist table with seven.

    Everything that Messi touches seems to turn to gold—and goals. 2011 was a stellar year for the man many say will go down as the greatest of all time.

    Will 2012 be just as good of a year in La Liga for Lionel Messi as 2011 was? We’ll all be tuning in.

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