Lionel Messi, Martin Odegaard and La Liga Team of the Week After Matchday 15December 2, 2019
Lionel Messi scored at the Wanda Metropolitano for the first time in his career on Sunday, lifting Barcelona back to the summit of La Liga with a late winner over Atletico Madrid to sign off Matchday 15 in style.
Barcelona weathered the storm in the capital to emerge 1-0 victors and remain ahead of second-place Real Madrid via goal difference. The Blaugrana earned the right to defend their perch for at least another week:
Real defender Dani Carvajal came up with a second-half goal to beat Alaves 2-1 away, while Martin Odegaard channelled his own match-winning ability in a 4-1 victory over Eibar to keep Real Sociedad fifth.
Los Blancos will be happy to see the Norwegian continue to impress in his loan spell at Sociedad, and he is one of the names worthy of La Liga Team of the Week honours for Matchday 15.
Week 15 Results
Celta Vigo 0-0 Real Valladolid
Alaves 1-2 Real Madrid
Real Sociedad 4-1 Eibar
Mallorca 1-2 Real Betis
Valencia 2-1 Villarreal
Sevilla 1-0 Leganes
Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Granada
Espanyol 2-4 Osasuna
Getafe 4-0 Levante
Atletico Madrid 0-1 Barcelona
Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona
As much as Messi is to thank for eventually winning Barca's first game at the Wanda Metropolitano, it was goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who kept the guests in with a chance.
He pulled off terrific saves from Mario Hermoso and Alvaro Morata, which meant Messi's 86th-minute strike gave Barca all three points.
Match of the Day presenter and former Barcelona player Gary Lineker was impressed:
Right-Back: Dani Carvajal, Real Madrid
Carvajal became the 14th player to score for Real this season thanks to his effort in the 2-1 win at Alaves. The 27-year-old's goal was required after Sergio Ramos opened the scoring but then gave away a penalty for the equaliser.
Centre-Back: Diego Carlos, Sevilla
Diego Carlos scored his first goal in La Liga on Saturday when Sevilla defeated Leganes 1-0 at home, marking the club's fifth successive victory and their third straight with a clean sheet. Julen Lopetegui's side are now unbeaten in 10 games across all competitions.
Carlos, 26, reacted quickly from a corner to score the only goal of the match, during which he won five aerial duels and completed 87 per cent of his passes.
Centre-Back: Robin Le Normand, Real Sociedad
It's not easy to come off the bench early as a centre-back, but Robin Le Normand showed little rust when he scored Sociedad's opener at home to Eibar:
Left-Back: Pervis Estupinan, Osasuna
Pervis Estupinan had a major hand in Osasuna's 4-2 win at Espanyol on Sunday, and it's easy to see why Ecuador handed the left-back his first senior cap in October.
The 21-year-old had one assist, an 89 per cent pass success rate and three successful dribbles from defence for a team that ended the game with 10 men.
Central Midfield: Unai Lopez, Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao beat Granada 2-0 at home, and 24-year-old Unai Lopez helped seal the result by assisting Yuri Berchiche late on, which was deserved at the end of a thrilling box-to-box display.
Central Midfield: Toni Kroos, Real Madrid
Toni Kroos recorded just his second La Liga assist of the campaign during Real's trip to Alaves on Saturday, crossing for captain Ramos to head in an easy opener:
The German midfielder's influence was felt across the 90 minutes, however. He missed only six of his 91 attempted passes—Luka Modric and Casemiro completed only 83 combined—and was one of only two outfielders on the day to have more than 100 touches (103, joint-top with Ramos).
Attacking Midfield: Martin Odegaard, Real Sociedad
Sociedad continue to get the best out of Odegaard, who scored and assisted in a comfortable win at home to Eibar and led the game in a number of fields, per Statman Dave:
Right Wing: Lionel Messi, Barcelona
Good things come to those who wait, and Messi's patience paid off on Sunday when he scored his first goal at the Wanda Metropolitano. It was just reward for an all-action display in Madrid:
His relationship with Luis Suarez has saved Barcelona in recent fixtures, and the Argentinian produced another remarkable moment in an extreme-pressure setting to remind of his class.
Left Wing: Jason, Getafe
Two assists in a 4-0 home win over Levante saw Getafe winger Jason double his tally for the campaign in that field, with five direct goal involvements in total this campaign (one goal, four assists):
Striker: Raul Garcia, Athletic Bilbao
Not for the first time this season, 33-year-old midfielder Raul Garcia was deployed in a makeshift centre-forward role for Athletic, scoring from the spot and getting the job done.
Statistics via WhoScored.com