Before the start of all the football action in August, we listed down some of the best young talents who you should watch-out for across Europe’s top 5 leagues, in our Top 10 Series. The list lacked the obvious choices who you’d [literally] be watching anyway, but rather went ahead and listed the comparative ‘unknowns’ who at the time were 21 years and under. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing mid-season reports on each of those talents, tracking their progress and comparing it at the end of the season where we publish final performance reports.
In addition to this, we will continue to publish our detailed Scout Reports on talents from across the World and not restricted to those in these lists, while you can track all the updates, reports and performances of the best talents in World football in our Talent Radar feature.
The following list contains mid-season reports on the top Young La Liga Talents that we listed at the start of the season. Please note the players are listed in descending order with the best performer at #1, while the list we published in summer was in the order of our prediction.
Top 10 Young La Liga Players to watch out for (published in the summer)
Please note that this list will have only 9 players. #4 in our initial list was Geoffrey Kondogbia, who at the time was a Sevilla player. He has of course since moved on to the French Ligue 1, and thus doesn’t feature in our list.
9. Leo Baptistao ( ↓ 7 )
Age: 21 | Club: Atletico | Nationality: Brazilian | Position: Attacking Midfielder | La Liga Appearances: 5
The ex-Rayo player made the move to Atletico this season, and the competition for places up front from players like Oliver, Villa and Costa has meant that chances for Baptistao have been rare this term. All of his 5 league appearances came towards the beginning of the season. He managed to start brightly enough, notching up an assist in the first game against Sevilla. He even got on the scoresheet against Zenit in the Champions League, scoring the third to polish off the Russians. It’s been tough going since then for the Brazilian forward. He’ll be hoping to make some inroads into the Atleti team for the second half of the season to make more of an impact.
Atletico Madrid are going into an exciting period in the season, competing at all levels. Baptistao may thus find chances hard to come by. Don’t expect him to rise too much in the list.
8. Alvaro Morata ( ↓ 8 )
Age: 21 | Club: Real Madrid | Nationality: Spanish | Position: Forward | La Liga Appearances: 10
Being at Real Madrid, among all the stars there, Morata was always going to find it hard to nail down a regular starting spot. Of his 10 appearances, only one has been a start. He hasn’t done all that badly though, despite the lack of chances, scoring twice. He even managed an assist against Kobenhavn in the UEFA Champions League group game. Morata may want to look at a short term move to get more playing time if Ancelotti isn’t going to trust him with more playing time.
It will continue to be hard for Morata to get chances at Real Madrid. After his fantastic U-21 Euro performances, we expected him to feature more. Unless he is able to see more first-team action, he won’t get anywhere near the top half.
7. Alvaro Vadillo ( ↑ 10 )
Age: 19 | Club: Real Betis | Nationality: Spanish | Position: Winger | La Liga Appearances: 13
Real Betis were the surprise package of last season, but it’s all gone wrong for the Andalusian side this one. Pepe Mel has left the club in a precarious position, and of course, the players aren’t faultless. Of these players, Vadillo is one that we picked out to do well this season, but the young winger hasn’t really set the stage on fire. Of his 10 starts, he’s managed to finish the full 90 on only one occasion. The 19 year old Spaniard has made 2 assists this season, without getting on the score sheet even once. Surely, the second half of the campaign can only get better for both club and player.
Although Vadillo has climbed the table, it has little to do with his own performances and more to do with others’ lack of appearances. He has played regularly though; but if Betis continue with their poor form, Vadillo may struggle to show his own quality too.
6. Haris Seferovic ( ↑ 8 )
Age: 21 | Club: Real Sociedad | Nationality: Swiss | Position: Forward | La Liga Appearances: 15
The Swiss striker got his Sociedad career off to a wonderful start, scoring twice in his first two appearances, one each in the league and in Europe. It has gone pear shaped for the striker since then, as he has only managed to find the back of the net on one other occasion. Being used in a rotation policy with Agirretxe hasn’t helped his cause. Of the duo, he has suffered, starting only 6 times in all this season. In Europe too, he hasn’t fared much better, not scoring or assisting even once in his 6 appearances, as Sociedad were left behind by all other teams in the group. All in all, the striker has scored 3 times and assisted once in the first half of the season, and surely needs to pull up his socks if he is to win back his starting place.
After a superb start, Seferovic has failed to stamp down a regular starting berth. Sociedad have been impressive this season as well, unless he can show the form he did at the start, he’ll struggle to rise higher in this list.
5. Ruben Garcia ( ↑ 9 )
Age: 20 | Club: Levante | Nationality: Spanish | Position: Winger | La Liga Appearances: 14
This young Spanish winger has made 14 appearances for Levante this term, and 12 of them have been starts. The player likes to play on the left, but is capable of playing in other positions too, and his versatility has been used by his manager when needed. The youngster has put in good solid performances for his team, and notched up a goal as well. There is however, room for improvement, and a pass success of 70%, and 0.6 accurate crosses per game mean that his contribution going forward needs to improve.
After a summer in which Arsenal were among his admirers, Ruben Garcia has put in decent performances but none that overly stand-out. He’s been consistent, but there’s more to him than he’s shown.
4. Alberto Moreno ( ↑ 6 )
Age: 21 | Club: Sevilla | Nationality: Spanish | Position: Left-Back | La Liga Appearances: 15
The young left back was an important member of the U21 national team that dominated the Euros in the summer, and has been equally important for his club side Sevilla this term. Unai Emery made a number of changes at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan but Moreno was kept, and the investment has paid off. The left back has contributed 2 goals in his 15 La Liga appearances so far, and has been very good offensively, completing 1.7 dribbles per game in the League. He has been deployed in more attacking roles as well, and has prospered there. His performances have seen him play 90 minutes for the senior national team too, in a friendly against Equatorial Guinea. The 21 year old needs to work hard ans sustain this level of performance, and if he gets lucky, he might be an outside contender for a World Cup spot too.
He was a rising star last season, but has established himself as a mature full-back this season. Surprisingly confident in his play, he may well have a right go at top spot in the second half of the season.
3. Suso ( ↑ 5 )
Age: 20 | Club: Almeria (on loan from Liverpool) | Nationality: Spanish | Position: Attacking Midfielder | La Liga Appearances: 15
The Almeria man who’s on loan from Liverpool has made a splash in the La Liga pool with some of his performances. There were a lot of expectations of him, especially after some of his performances in England last season, and he has lived up to them. The young attacking midfielder has scored 2 and made 5 goals in 15 appearances. Going forward, he has always been a threat for the opposition. This season, he averages 2 dribbles and 1 key pass per game, at a respectable completion rate of 74% (he plays in the attacking third remember). He’s been quite regular as well, and a good second half performance will give Rodgers a tough decision to make next season.
Despite Almeria’s poor form, Suso has been a shining light in the side, standing out with his performances and not shy to take on a man or two. It’s his individual performances that have helped Almeria just about push above the relegation zone, and helped Suso remain high up this list
2. Daniel Carvajal ( ↓ 1 )
Age: 21 | Club: Real Madrid | Nationality: Spanish | Position: Right-Back | La Liga Appearances: 14
Big things were expected of Carvajal after his move back to the Santiago Bernabeu and rightly so. The Spaniard had put in some terrific performances for Leverkusen last season, and Real needed to fill the void at right back. He has performed decently so far, without really taking off. Making 10 starts in the league, he’s come on as a sub as well 4 times. Defence has been his strength, making 2 tackles and interceptions a game at an average. Going forward, 1 assist so far doesn’t really do justice to his potential, but considering the fact that he has Ronaldo, Bale and Co. ahead of him, he is probably doing well by just holding fort.
Just being a regular in the Real side at such a young age is an achievement in itself. Might be slightly unfair then that despite that he has lost top spot. His performances don’t go unnoticed, he won’t be far from here at the end of the season.
1. Rafinha Alcantara ( ↑ 2 )
Age: 21 | Club: Celta Vigo (on loan from Barcelona) | Nationality: Brazilian | Position: Forward | La Liga Appearances: 16
Alcantara is a promising young talent on loan from the mighty Barcelona at Celta Vigo. He has grown into the team and has been deployed by Enrique across the park in various positions. He’s made 16 appearances, of which 12 have been starts, and managed to score thrice and assist twice in the league. He has a very respectable pass completion rate of 85% as well, and as an attacking midfielder, this is a crucial stat for him. Rafa will look to produce more of the same post Christmas in an attempt to impress the powers that be at the Nou Camp.
Rafinha has shown what he is capable of after getting a regular run of football, something which he didn’t at Barcelona. His talent is exceptional; make no mistake, we are going to be hearing a lot about this player for years to come. No surprise then, that he takes top spot in our list.
Young La Liga Talents
Stay tuned for the remaining Mid-Season Reports in this series as we assess progress of talents across Europes other leagues. Don’t miss our Final Performance Report at the end of the season. We will continue to publish detailed Scout Reports on these and other young talents, and ofcourse continue to track the progress of World talents in our brand new #TalentRadar feature.