After two decades, the Spanish domestic league La Liga will not feature its most iconic player Lionel Messi. Safe to say that the 34-year-old was the most marketable footballer in the entire country. His departure from Barcelona is not only a calamitous blow for the club, but for the entire Spanish league. For years, La Liga was known to be the home of one of the greatest players to have ever embraced the sport.
With Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid in the transfer window of 2018, Messi’s departure has left the league with no worldwide-known superstar. But, that doesn’t rule out the plethora of talent available in the top Spanish domestic football circuit. In addition, Messi’s acquisition by PSG, provides many players the chance of their lifetime to be the face of La Liga after playing in it for years.
Want to know who these spoken about players could be? Then stick to this article as this is your one-stop destination for the answer.
Top 5 players who could replace Messi as the face of La Liga-
5. Jan Oblak
For modern football fans, it is hard to see a goalkeeper as the face of a league, but when speaking about Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, this surely isn’t the case. It would be safe to hail the 28-year-old as the best goalkeeper in the world in the last 4-5 years. His exceptional tally of clean sheets helped Atletico Madrid register their best-ever defensive record in the previous domestic season.
4. Karim Benzema
If anyone had doubts regarding his talent, then Karim Benzema surely answered all his critics when he single-handedly led his national side at EURO 2020. When the likes of Kylian Mbappe failed to fire, it was the returning Benzema who helped France get a place in the knockout stages. Moreover, in terms of attacking output shown last season, Karim Benzema was the best player in La Liga behind Messi. With Sergio Ramos also leaving Los Blancos, the 33-year-old French striker has the best chance to fetch appreciation for his skill-set.
3. Luis Suarez
With a point to prove in the previous season, this Uruguayan striker showcased just the reason why he should never be casted out by any club. Suarez led Atletico Madrid to the domestic triumph by scoring more than 20 goals for the club in a single season. Furthermore his hunger seems to be only growing with age and with Messi out of the picture, Suarez now has the best chance to grab the Spanish spotlight he always desired for.
2. Gerard Moreno
He was undoubtedly one of the best players across Europe’s top five leagues in the previous season. With Villarreal finishing seventh in the 2020-21 season, Moreno managed to register 23 goals and 7 assists. Not only that, the 29-years-old proved to be very consistent throughout the season with his trademark bent-over-ball style. Lastly, he was pivotal for Villarreal’s triumph in UEFA Europa League.
1. Frenkie de Jong
He hasn’t quite justified his hype since joining the Catalan side since 2019. But Frenkie de Jong is coming into the 2021-22 season on the backs of an excellent EURO campaign. There is no doubt that he is one of the most promising young aspects in European football. With Messi gone, De Jong will have more responsibilities on his shoulders, but most importantly this is the perfect chance for the Dutchman to justify his talent by being the face of one of the best leagues in the world.