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Teams to Follow – La Liga

If you’re looking for the best teams to follow in La Liga this season, you’ve come to the right place. Last season, we saw Real Madrid emerge as champions, finishing five points clear of long-time rivals Barcelona. So far, we’re seeing a table that is a little different from what we might expect, even after just nine games. Real Madrid are not yet at their best, while Barcelona have failed to kick on altogether. This has opened up potential for the likes of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad to make an early push with some exceptional form. But can they maintain it? 

Barcelona 

Recent History and Achievements

You already know all about Barcelona’s recent achievements with a last La Liga victory coming in the 18/19 season. For a team like Barca, this is never enough, though, so the UEFA Champions League, last won in 2015, will entice them, despite the drama going on within. 

Why Follow Them? 

As a worldwide phenomenon, Barcelona is always a team you should pay close attention to. They have arguably the greatest player of all time in Lionel Messi, and they are one of the most successful Spanish clubs of the modern era. They may have not had the best start to the season, and their summer was full of turmoil that would even make Newcastle United laugh out loud. Still, they have the talent, and especially youngster Ansu Fati who could inspire a resurgence after several years of not living up to expectations. 

Key Players to Look Out For 

  • Ansu Fati
  • Lionel Messi 
  • Frenkie de Jong 

Real Madrid 

Recent History and Achievements

The reigning champions won the league by five points last season and have also won the Champions League seven times in the last 22 years. They have dealt with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, and while the squad is older, there is still plenty of talent there. 

Why Follow Them? 

As current champions and with the legendary Zinedine Zidane at the helm, Real Madrid will be keen to add to their 34 La Liga titles. They are the strongest team in the league and have a variety of experienced players in Sergio Ramos and Marcelo, as well as promising youth prospects who could be worth a lot in the coming years. Keep an eye out for Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo who have already impressed so far this season. 

Key Players to Look Out For 

  • Vinicius Jr.
  • Rodrygo
  • Luka Jović 

Atlético Madrid

Recent History and Achievements

Atlético Madrid has firmly cemented themselves as the third-best team in La Liga thanks to Diego Simeone’s pragmatic (if not always pretty) approach. They won La Liga in 2014 and finished as runners up in the Champions League twice in 2013/14 and 2015/16. They have had better luck in the Europa League, winning the trophy three times since 2010. 

Why Follow Them? 

While Atlético Madrid spent much of their history in the shadow of their neighbors in the Santiago Bernabeu, the hiring of Diego Simeone has been a revelation. Now, they are considered one of the Top 3 in La Liga, even if they don’t have the budget of Barca or Real. Young and promising players such as João Félix and Manu Sanchez, and the established talents of Saúl and Luis Suarez mean they are still a force to be reckoned with. They are also the only team still unbeaten in La Liga and with two games in hand of leaders Real Sociedad, they could find themselves top sooner rather than later.

Key Players to Look Out For

  • João Félix
  • Saúl
  • Manu Sanchez 

Real Sociedad  

Recent History and Achievements

La Real have not won Spain’s top division since 1981, although they managed a second-place finish in 2003. Since then, there has been little to celebrate, and they even had a stint in the Segunda Division, winning promotion in 2010. 

Why Follow Them? 

Real Sociedad have surprised everyone so far this season and currently sit at the top of the table with 20 points from 9 games and have scored the most goals across the entire league, with only Atletico Madrid conceding fewer. Anyone who follows soccer loves an underdog story, so while there’s a high chance Sociedad’s form could falter eventually, the ride will be fun while it lasts, and with the talismanic David Silva added to their ranks, the play-style will be exciting to witness. We never know, they could surprise us more than expected, too. 

Key Players to Look Out For 

  • Ander Barrenetxea
  • Mikel Oyarzabal
  • Portu 

Sevilla 

Recent History and Achievements

Sevilla have dominated the Europa League this millennium and remain one of the most successful sides in European competition. They have not won La Liga since the 1945/46 season, although there have been a few Copa del Rey victories since the turn of the century.

Why Follow Them? 

Although not exactly lighting the league on fire yet and sitting in 12th after seven games, the reigning Europa League champions still finished fourth last season, level on points with Atletico Madrid and ten points ahead of Villarreal in fifth. They will be keen to reach these heights again, and although his time at Real Madrid was less-than-impressive Julen Lopetegui has shown a knack for getting the best out of this team, and while the Europa League is an appealing honor, they may also want to push for a high spot, although winning outright is not quite within their grasp yet. 

Key Players to Look Out For 

  • Bryan Gil 
  • Youssef En-Nesyri
  • Lucas Ocampos

Villarreal 

Recent History and Achievements

Villarreal are another team that have never won Spain’s top prize, such is the duopoly enjoyed by Barcelona and Real Madrid, and they even spent the 2012/13 season in the Segunda Division. However, The ship has been moderately steadied, so silverware could be on the horizon this season. 

Why Follow Them? 

Villarreal currently sit in second place just two points behind leaders Real Sociedad. They have an exciting mix of talent, with 19-year-old Takefusa Kubo (on loan from Real Madrid) certain to impress, while Paco Alcácer has shown he has a knack for a goal wherever he plays in recent years. Manager Unai Emery will also want to rebuild his reputation after his stint at Arsenal, and their summer recruitment has been strong, if not necessarily groundbreaking. 

Key Players to Look Out For 

  • Takefusa Kubo
  • Paco Alcácer
  • Samu Chukwueze

Only a fool would try to predict the final La Liga table so early, and we all know how quickly thighs can change in soccer. It’s likely that Barcelona will get their act together. It’s possible that Real Sociedad’s squad depth won’t be enough to maintain their excellent form so far. Still, soccer is always full of surprises, and like Serie A, it’s about time La Liga bucked the trend and gave us something to cheer for.