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Top five young players to watch in La Liga this season

Written by: Shivam Tiwari

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The Spanish top flight has always produced some of the most exciting young talents in the world and that looks set to continue this campaign.

La Liga has been home to some of the biggest stars of the football fraternity of late. In the last decade, the Ballon d'Or has not seen a winner from a league other than La Liga, albeit only because of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But, the fact that some of the closest rivals like Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar have been or have once plied their trade in La Liga is enough to make the league one of the best in terms of the talent it has on the show.

Not just established stars, the league has been home to some of the most sought-after youngsters and future prospects too. Hence, its little surprise that Spanish clubs have dominated European club competitions like no other country has previously.

We take a look at five names, ones who are young, not playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid and are still liable to be looked at as the future of the game.

5. Pablo Fornals- Villarreal

One of the two Villareal stars to be on the list, Pablo Fornals is the engine a team needs in midfield. A box-to-box midfielder adept at scoring long-range screamers, the 22-year-old is one of the many names to keep an eye on.

Earlier this year, he scored a late winner against Real Madrid

A great season at Malaga brought him back to Villareal and the starlet has only grown since then. Fornals is a regular starter for the La Liga side and scored three crucial goals in their push for a top four finish.

4. Enis Bardhi- Levante

A young pacy winger with a zeal for scoring goals like no other, Enis Bardhi has caught the attention of La Liga fans in his very first season at Levante, after signing a three-year deal with them.

A free-kick specialist with a bag full of tricks, Bardhi is someone who would excite teams and fans very easily. Add to that, his calmness in front of goal and you have a future winner in the making. He scored 11 times and provided an assist for Levante despite not playing the full campaign for them.

He has a knack for scoring fantastic free-kicks

His playing-time and output are expected to go up from here and the Macedonian international will be one of the most talked about youngster throughout the season.

3. Enes Unal- Villarreal

Next comes the youngest scorer in the Turkish Super Lig, Villareal's Enes Unal. The 21-year-old striker, who netted for two different teams in La Liga last season, Villareal and Levante, is being seen as the next big thing to come from Turkish football. Already on the rada of Premier League champions Manchester City, the striker is bound to the club as he joined Villareal from the Citizens in a deal with a buy-back clause in it.

The 20-year-old striker is a cherry to watch on the field

Unal could well give the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero a run for their money in the coming years and it will only get difficult for the La Liga club to keep a hold of the Turkish international.

2. Carlos Soler– Valencia

A 21-year-old central midfielder and already the lynchpin of a team like Valencia should tell one a lot about the capabilities of Carlos Soler. Soler was one of the main protagonists in Valencia's meteoric rise last season. Calm when in possession and armed with an excellent eye for defense-splitting passes helped him to get one of the highest number of assists from open play in the 2017-18 campaign.

Final third runs, crosses, through balls, he can do it all

The two biggest clubs, Manchester United and Real Madrid, have identified Soler as the future of their midfield and the performances of the Spanish U-21 international have been enchanting to say the least. It will only be a season or two until a big club comes calling for Soler.


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1. Mikel Oyarzabal- Real Sociedad

There's no doubt about him becoming the flagbearer of La Liga and Spain (if he plays for them and not for Basque anymore) in the coming years. Already a little lesser than hundred La Liga games young, the 21-year-old Real Sociedad winger, Mikel is one of the most exciting talents for his team and for the Spanish national side.

He has the pace, the vision and the maturity to succeed in the league

The youngster has already been scoring big. The Basque Country international scored 12 times in La Liga last season. He is on the shopping lists of teams like Athletic Bilbao and AS Roma.

Published: Wed Aug 08, 2018 02:43 PM IST

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