LaLiga Santander: A ‘Dream Team’ of surprises
When a team is champion, the silhouettes of soccer players emerge They weren’t in the front row of the photo. The League title has changed the career and the memory of many. The deck is innumerable and there they are Ral, Pablo Aimar, Pantic or Guardiola… Between Ter Stegen’s saves and Lewandowski’s goals, Barcelona’s skeleton has other key pieces. One of them is that of Alejandro Balde, a left back who has devoured a position that had a permanent owner in Jordi Alba.
The 19-year-old lefty has put on a colossal display. Xavi has given him a starting role in 27 games and he has responded without shyness. A goal and six assists accompany an enviable journey. In the Espanyol field it was a dagger. The first part of it was decisive to overturn the game. In its future there is a juicy renovation. Bucket is worth more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. In the club of surprises whose lives were changed by a League, there are symbols of all colors.
The smell of Vinicius
Last season, with the League title, the perception of Vinicius in the rivals changed. Until then, the Brazilian was a fast footballer and spoke without skill before the goal, which appeared like a virus in his career. In a few months he mutated into a lethal player around goalies, which was lacking in his arsenal of resources. Vinicius went from scoring three goals to 17 in 35 games in one year. He also delivered 10 assists to form a devastating couple with Benzema.
The ball for Guardiola
In 1991 Cruyff He had already rebuilt the morale of the Barça troops. In that evolution that season he handed over the key to getting the ball out, in front of Koeman, to a skinny young man from the quarry, Pep Guardiola, who had already made his debut months before in a warning of what he had in mind. That season changed Guardiola’s career. He played 26 starting games in a midfield line in which he was accompanied by Eusebio, Amor, Bakero or Laudrup. That position created a school in the Bara.
In 1994 Ral stood out at Real Madrid C. Before a trip to Zaragoza, Valdano recruited him for the first team. At La Romareda he missed two incredible goals, the hazing that broke the following week in the derby against Atlético. His thing was to scale buildings two by two. Raúl relegated Butragueo and the team ended the Cruyff League cycle. The striker finished that season of his baptism with the League in the backpack after 28 games played, 19 of them starting and 9 goals. Madrid had a symbol forever.
Pantic? Who is Pantic?
In 1995 nobody counted on Atlético for the League title. With Radomir Antic on the bench, Milinko Pantic was signed for 75 million pesetas, 29-year-old Serb, from the Greek Panionios. There was no noise to receive him and integrate him into a squad with Simeone, Caminero or Kiko. The midfielder revealed himself as a commander of the dead ball in a team that worked like clockwork. Pantic became an idol at the Caldern in a stage that ended with a double. The Serbian added 41 league games with 10 goals. His right leg is still talked about at the rojiblancas tables.
Xavi saved Van Gaal
In 1998-99 Van Gaal’s Bara was going through a moment of curves in the middle of the campaign. The Dutchman’s post loomed over the precipice. One of the solutions was to look at the quarry. There he noticed Xavi Hernndez, a midfielder with a Guardiola-style touch, although he played a few meters ahead. Xavi came to the rescue, saved Van Gaal’s place with a goal in Valladolid and Bara finished with the conquest of that League. The midfielder concluded the season with 17 games played and Zorrilla’s saving goal.
A killer… Marcos Llorente
In 2020 Atlético launched into the championship with a surprise signing, Luis Surez. With the Uruguayan Simeone he had a killer. The team would achieve a title with some footballers who completed the best campaign of their career. Among them, the invention of placing Marcos Llorente as an attacking footballer shone. After being a pivot specialist, he responded with 37 games and 12 goals. His way of breaking into the area was undetectable to the rivals. Marcos Llorente never repeated that goal-scoring nose again, although he retains his facility to be a reliable wild card in Simeone’s group.
The only League title in the history of Depor is full of heroes. One of them was in charge of piercing defenses. The Dutch Roy Makaay He arrived in Galicia from Tenerife after paying 1,300 million pesetas with the endorsement of his speed and marksmanship. In La Corua he broke any forecast. Irureta gave him the team’s attack in 36 games and Makaay responded with 22 goals.
The Pablito Aimar style
One of the great surprises of the beginning of the century was the irruption of Valencia. With Rafa Bentez the team I achieved two unforgettable Leagues. The revelations crowded into a block of granite. There was room for art, represented by Pablito Aimar, a skillful and ingenious midfielder, key to breaking defenses that in his debut season, in 2000, had left sparkles. A year later at the champion Valencia he would add 33 games, 4 goals and thousands of details. An idol in Mestalla.
Guardiola ‘invents Busquets’
In 2008 Laporta opted for Guardiola for the Barça bench. The technician built a champion team with a surprise in a key position. From the subsidiary he gave field to Sergio Busquets to be the pivot in a midfield where Yaya Tour, Xavi or Iniesta already appeared. The youth player took advantage of his opportunity with his placement football and simple solutions. Busi added 24 games and one goal. Fourteen seasons later he has announced his goodbye. He arrived with one League and leaves with another.
Vctor seduced Capello
In 1996-97 Real Madrid placed itself in the hands of Fabio Capello’s steel. The Italian hardened a team that included Roberto Carlos, Seedorf, Mijatovic and Suker. His surprise was recruiting a youth player who captivated him one day with the subsidiary, Victor Sanchez del Amo. The footballer responded with a vertical football of delivery and deployment on the right wing as a lieutenant of a half with Redondo and Seedorf. It was the great surprise of the League champion. Vctor concluded that championship with 36 games and 5 goals. He had made a name for himself in Spanish football.
The fierce Diego Costa
In 2013, Simeone’s Atlético was a fierce and annoying team, little to opt for titles. In a year with an enormous collective performance, a striker was in charge of opening the doors of the party, Diego Costa. The Spanish-Brazilian was the devil with his fights, unchecks and shots. At the end of the season, after 35 games played, added 27 goals, the best mark of his career. Without him Neptune would have been more complicated.
Higuan warm winter
In 2006-07, Ramn Caldern’s Real Madrid entrusted itself once again to Fabio Capello. The league project was limping when the winter market arrived. The white team signed an almost unknown Gonzalo Higuan, El Pipita, a 19-year-old young man for whom he paid 12 million euros. The Argentine came to a team in which there was an advantage with Ral, Van Nistelrooy and Robinho. Higuan only scored two goals in 19 games, but they were vital in Madrid’s comeback. He matched the game at the Caldern and brought madness to the Bernabu by scoring the decisive goal in the 4-3 win against Espanyol. The title bore his last name.