Spain’s La Liga is bulging at the seams with top players and world class talent. Over the past few years Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann have become synonymous with some of the best that Spanish football has to offer.
However, beyond the household names and headline grabbing players, the league is full of quality footballers that even the most clued up of anoraks would struggle to point out to you.
Here’s a look at eight under the radar players who could go on to be superstars in their own right after a highly anticipated 2019/20 season.
A local lad come good; is there a story more loved by football fans? Carlos Soler has been with Valencia since he was just seven years old, and has gone on to become one of their best young attacking talents.
The pacy winger may not score a sackful of goals but he is a real nightmare to contain from out wide – just ask Manchester United’s fans, who will remember him for his cheeky finish in last season’s Champions League defeat.
He has already been likened to Los Ches legend Joaquin and if he can chip in with a few more goals this season, he will be on the radar of many-a top club.
There is a lot expected of Espanyol new boy Matias Vargas this season. The Argentina international is a tricky, goal scoring winger who loves to cut in and do some serious damage from the left.
Coming through the ranks at Argentinean side Valez Sarsfield, Vargas was compared with Belgium and Real Madrid star Eden Hazard. Those comparisons are often unhelpful but if he is even half the player Hazard is, Espanyol have a top class player on their hands.
Mikel Oyarzabal has emerged in recent years as one of the most potent attacking players operating outside La Liga’s top four.
The Eibar born forward has notched 28 goals over the course of his previous two seasons with Real Sociedad, prompting attention from some of Europe’s top clubs. Despite his rise, he remains under the radar, in part due to his loyalty and commitment to his current club who have floated around mid-table for some time.
A lack of explosive pace is a minor defect in his game, but Oyarzabal is a technically wonderful and versatile attacker whose stock remains on the rise in 2019/20.
A real gem of a footballer, Marc Roca is a player to keep your eye at Espanyol this season. The youngster emerged last season as his side clinched a top eight finish and subsequent Europa League qualification. He also played a staring role for Spain in the European Under-21 Championships this year.
Very similar in style to Sergio Busquets, he is a shrewd reader of the game blessed with a wonderful passing radar. Bayern Munich were sniffing round him during the last transfer window, as were West Ham – proving he is already on the radars of top clubs.
Real Betis paid big money to snap up Borja Iglesisas from Espanyol this summer – not surprising really as the 26-year-old has been in prolific form over the past two seasons, scoring 43 times in all competitions.
A clinical forward who will surely be knocking on the door of Robert Moreno’s Spain if his form carries on from last season. Iglesias is a prolific penalty-taker, but he does posses a cannon of a right foot and notched a few screamers last season. A real fan favourite too.
Spanish football is not famed for producing sturdy, no-nonsense full backs. Marc Cucurella could be something of a novelty then. The left back oozes old school style defending, with tough tackling, intelligence and high discipline key components of his game.
You could say he’s not your typical Barcelona academy graduate, but not everyone is Lionel Messi, right? His current loan spell at Getafe could well see him earn a regular starting berth at Barcelona in the coming years, and on current form he looks one of the most solid defenders in the league.
Three assists in his last four games also shows he is developing the attacking side of his game too.
The young winger broke through into the Real Betis first team picture last season, having joined from Mexican giants Club America.
The 19-year-old is blessed with a low centre-of-gravity and plays with tremendous energy and skill. Has already made his senior bow for Mexico, and there are high hopes for him domestically, as well as internationally, for the season ahead.
Betis’ ambition could drive him on further, with many suggesting that Lainez is in exactly the right place to hone his obvious talent.
If you haven’t heard of Ansu Fati, it’s fair to say you haven’t been paying much attention to football this season.
What it’s also fair to say is that you’ve missed the beginning of what could be an incredible career at the very highest level. Just 16 years of age, Fati has burst onto the scene at Barcelona – revelling in the injury absence of both Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele.
Furthermore, Fati hasn’t just made up the numbers,. He’s scored two goals in his three La Liga games – becoming Barça’s youngest ever goalscorer and the league’s third youngest in the process – and has also made his Champions League bow against Borussia Dortmund.
He also has Spain vying for his international future, with the Under-17 World Cup right around the corner. A new passport is now in his possession, and the Guinea-Bissau born star has a big decision to make.