La Liga 'bests' of 2019-20

SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv have been witness to a great La Liga season thus far. We take a closer look at the 'bests' from the 2019-20 campaign: player, goal, manager and match.

Best player

Lionel Messi – Barcelona

epa08277352 FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring the 1-0 lead from the penalty spot during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, Spain, 07 March 2020. EPA/QUIQUE GARCIA

As the stats leader in La Liga for both goals scored (19) and assists (12) so far in the 2019-20 season, it's hard to look past Lionel Messi as the best player in the division. The Argentine master has perhaps been short of his era-defining best, but he remains the outstanding performer in Spain's top flight and there's no way Barcelona would enjoy a two-point lead at the top of the table were it not for Messi's genius.

"I cannot tell him how to dribble or how to pass or shoot because he is an artist at those things and it's clear that we don't have to advise him on these topics," said former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, who was in charge of the Blaugrana from 2014 to 2017.

 

Best goal

Aritz Aduriz – Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Barcelona

The tone for this competitive and unpredictable La Liga season was set on the opening night way back in August 2019 when Athletic Bilbao defeated Barcelona 1-0 at San Mames Barria. The decisive goal was a truly brilliant 89th-minute volley from veteran striker Aritz Aduriz, who twisted his body in mid-air with incredible athleticism to meet a lofted right-flank cross from Ander Capa, before cracking a right-footed shot beyond the reach of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen.

 

Best match

Villarreal 4-4 Granada – 17 August 2019

The goal-laden madness of this game was something special to behold, and against it arrived on the first weekend of the 2019-20 La Liga season. Villarreal claimed the lead three times at their Estadio de la Ceramica, and established a 4-2 lead with a 73rd-minute goal from Nigerian star Samuel Chukwueze, yet somehow ended up sharing the spoils with a Granada team which simply refused to give up. Roberto Soldado was the hero in their late comeback, scoring in the 75th minute to make it 4-3, before teeing up Antonio Puertas for an equaliser on 81 minutes. It was obvious then that this Granada tea had something special, but it was still a surprise to see them top La Liga in October – the first time they had done so for 46 years.

 

Best manager

 

Imanol Alguacil – Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad are experiencing their best La Liga campaign in many a year (they are placed fourth on the log and looking very much capable of claiming a place in next season's UEFA Champions League) and the mastermind behind their rise has been Imanol Alguacil. The 48-year-old has come through the managerial ranks at Txuri-urdinak, having also played for the club for most of the 1990s, and has got this team playing football which is both effective and easy on the eye, with attackers like Willian Jose, Mikel Oyarzabal and playmaker Martin Odegaard given the freedom to express themselves. Challenging for the title remains beyond their reach for now, a but a top-four finish would represent a massive achievement for the Basque club.

Until live sport resumes, SuperSport has converted its line-up to thematic channels for the foreseeable future. Fans of football can tune into SuperSport 3 to 'Relive the Premier League', while SuperSport 7 features 'Relive the Best Football', with a mix of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Serie A and FIFA Documentaries.

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