La Liga

La Liga Top Five, Round 19: Raphael Varane is Madrid's unlikely hero

Plus Luis Suarez and two Valencia players make the rankings.

10:00am on Monday 6th January 2020
Martin Macdonald
Raphaël Varane
D (C) - Real Madrid - 26 yrs
Jan 4, 2020

Real Madrid made a perfect start to 2020 and moved level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga after beating Getafe 3-0, with Raphael Varane emerging as the surprising goalscoring hero with two strikes either side of half-time. To open to scoring 34 minutes in, he bravely latched on to a teasing cross from Ferland Mendy to nod into the empty net after winning the aerial battle with goalkeeper David Soria. He made it two in the second half with another header, this time in much simpler fashion as he nodded in following the cross from Toni Kroos. The Frenchman also contributed to the clean sheet earned by Madrid, as he won 5/6 duels, 5/6 aerial duels, and made five ball recoveries, two interceptions, and nine clearances.

Enes Ünal
ST (C) - Valladolid - 22 yrs
Jan 3, 2020

Valladolid put further ground between themselves and the relegation zone with a 2-2 draw against Leganes, with Enes Unal scoring both of their goals. Both came in typical predatory fashion from the Turkish striker, with the first being tapped in from a yard or two out and the second being superbly looped over the goalkeeper after an impressive, towering header inside the box. He battled brilliantly for his side, winning 12/20 duels, 8/14 aerial duels, as well as making five ball recoveries.

Luis Suárez
S (C) - Barcelona - 32 yrs
Jan 4, 2020

The Catalan Derby didn't prove to be a particularly fruitful evening for Barcelona as they eventually drew 2-2, but one player who will be more disappointed than most will be Luis Suarez as he did his upmost to win the game with a goal and an assist. His goal was vital as it equalised the game for the Blaugrana, as he cleverly squeezed a side-footed volley in at the front post following a cross from Jordi Alba. Then, to make it 2-1, he turned provider with a stunning cross with the outside of his boot which met the head of Arturo Vidal. He only misplaced three passes during his time on the pitch, and had 48 touches.

Mouctar Diakhaby
D (C) - Valencia - 23 yrs
Jan 4, 2020

Valencia made it five league games unbeaten and moved up to sixth after narrowly defeating Eibar 1-0. Key to this victory was their solidity in defence, which was marshalled excellently by Mouctar Diakhaby. The big defender was solid in front on his goal, winning the majority of his duels, the majority of his aerial duels, and 100% of his tackles. He also made three ball recoveries and six clearances, while his passing was impressive as he completed 49/54 balls to team-mates.

Daniel Wass
D (R), M (C) - Valencia - 30 yrs
Jan 4, 2020

Another important figure in the win for Los Che was Daniel Wass, who assisted the only goal of the game. He caused problems throughout the match by providing width down the right wing, and it was from this position that he was able to dig out a brilliant cross to the back post for Maxi Gomez to nod into the bottom corner. He had 63 touches during the game, and helped his team out going back the way too, making seven clearances.


As usual, Casemiro (8.2) wasn't involved in the attacking side of things that much for Real Madrid, but winning the majority of his duels, 5/5 aerial duels, and 4/4 tackles helped to get the ball to the more creative players to influence proceedings.


Jonathan Silva (5.2) will be grateful that Leganes earned a point against Valladolid, as he surrendered possession a huge 10 times during that game, and failed to attempt even a single tackle or interception.

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