Manchester United Target Fabregas & The 20 Best Players in Spain Right Now, Part Two...
10. Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid)
However, Valdes is arguably not the best keeper in the league as the young Belgian Courtois has been outstanding during his now three-season loan spell with Atleti.
It beggars belief that Chelsea continue to keep looking at young keepers to replace Petr Cech long term when they have possibly the best keeper in the world and certainly the best under 25 on their own books but not between the sticks.
9. Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona)
After a summer in which Manchester United wasted time trying to convince the former Arsenal captain to return to the Premier League, Fabregas has started the season like a man with a point to prove.
He already has four assists to his name after just three league games and is enjoying the greater responsibility he has been handed by Gerardo Martino as the Argentine limits the minutes enjoyed by Xavi and Iniesta to ensure they don’t run out of gas come April and May as they have done in recent seasons.
8. Xavi (Barcelona)
One of the greats of all time, it now appears that the sheer load of football the 33-year-old has had to play in the last five years is beginning to take a toll on his legs.
Martino’s decision to leave him out the squad entirely for one of the trickiest away trips of the season to Valencia shows Barca will try to nurse him through the campaign and with good reason because when fit there are still few that can compete for his ability to set the tempo of a match with his metronomic passing.
7. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Ramos has his critics for his lack of discipline at times as a record 16 red cards with Madrid will testify. However, he is still the most complete defender in the world thanks to his strength, pace and exceptional technique.
6. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
Another who is often overlooked for doing the simple rather than the sensational, Busquets has, outwith Messi, been Barca’s most consistent performer over the past three years.
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5. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
It is a big call to put Bale ahead of some of those on this list that have achieved so much, but there is only so far the most expensive player in the world can drop.
It remains to be seen how Bale will dove tail with his new teammates, especially Cristiano Ronaldo, but if he can produce the same level of performance as he did in winning the Players and Football Writers' Player of the Year last season with Tottenham he will add another potent dimension to the Madrid attack.
4. Neymar (Barcelona)
As the Catalan papers crowed on the day Bale's signing was announced, Barca captured a player who has scored twice as many goals in his career as the Welshman for half the price in Neymar.
Early scepticism regarding the Brazilian has been swept away by a series of stunning displays in the Confederations Cup and he has already shown flashes of his brilliance in a Barca jersey.
3. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
With Xavi looking to be on the wain, Barca need Iniesta more than ever, a fact reflected by the board's intention to hand him a new bumper contract which will make him the club's second highest paid player.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
The endless debate as to who is the best player in the world will continue to rage and with an astonishing return of 202 goals in 202 games, Ronaldo can find himself hard done by to always find himself behind Messi in these polls.
Ronaldo's raw power, eye for goal and winning mentality have made him Madrid's focal point for the past four years.
However, if there is one criticism of the Portuguese it is that in his time in Madrid he has only won one league title and one Copa del Rey.
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
By contrast in the last four years Messi has won three league titles, a Champions League, a Copa del Rey and most crushingly of all for Ronaldo, the Balon d'Or four times.
The Argentine's stats not just in terms of goalscoring but also assists are off the charts and even during an injury hit start to the current campaign, he has scored five goals in barely one and half league games.