It’s the Balls!

I was recently reminded by a reader that in the old ESPN days of yore, I used to do my top eleven La Liga players of the season, with a subs’ bench to boot.  This was often compared to Sid Lowe’s ‘The Sids’, and sundry debates did unfold. Ah well, Sid’s super famous now, but I guess if folks still want to know mine, we can just call it ‘The Balls’. I did once suggest that to ESPN, but as you know, it’s a family site. Here on Liga Fever, we can do what the hell we like.

It's the balls!

Of course, I’ve seen ‘The Sids’ and we coincide on certain players.  I’m not trying to be deliberately different, but I’d like to propose a sort of mixed-category list of the obvious candidates (Messi etc) with new kids on the block (Fabián) and guys who have just been great in difficult circumstances (Stuani) to players who always get overlooked (Rakitic). Ok?  I’ve included a bench, but it’s a bit random.  Hey, whatever – I’m sure Ed Alvarez will come along now and put in his two-eurosworth.    What will they be – ‘The Eds’?  I dunno.  We’ll see if he can come up with something wittier.   Anyway, let’s cut to the 4-3-3 chase.  Here are The Balls:

Goalie:   Jan Oblak (Atlético)

RBack:   Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad)

LBack:   Jordi Alba (Barça)

C.Back:   Sam Umtiti (Barça)

C.Back:   Diego Godin (Atlético)

Mid:      Dani Parejo (Valencia)

Mid:      Ivan Rakitic (Barça)

Mid:      Fabián (Betis)

Fwd:     Iago Aspas (Celta)

Fwd:     Leo Messi  (The Planet Zarg)

Fwd:     Gerard Moreno (Espanyol)

Slightly random subs’ bench:  Ter Stegen (Barça), Sergi Roberto (Barça), N’zonzi (Sevilla), Kondogbia (Valencia), Fornals (Villarreal), Rodrigo (Valencia), Angel (Getafe), Stuani (Girona), Griezmann (Atlético).

Coach: Pablo Machin (Girona…now Sevilla) and/or Quique Setién (Betis)


8 thoughts on “It’s the Balls!”

  1. The Balls and its predecessors help me learn what I missed. I don’t get/choose to watch enough La Liga to intelligently name a team of the season. For example, I haven’t seen much of Betis this year, but I just found highlights on YouTube and can easily see why Fabian made the list.

    I argue that Kondogbia should be a starter over Rakitic. If this were a World Cup roster with 3 keepers, Navas would be my 3rd choice. As always with these types of lists, there is plenty to debate. But I think it will be a rarity for someone to disagree on Odriozola’s inclusion or Messi’s link to Zarg.


    1. Nah. They were rubbish. Ed will put Casemiro and Modric in – I thought I’d leave it to him. Actually, if I’d put any whitey in it would have been Lucas Vázquez.


      1. Fair enough. I was thinking and no one player stood out comprehensively in the league. Good to see some Betis fire in there, if Batra had been there all season hed’ be playing for Spain


      2. OK, I’ll bite. Ronaldo rubbish compared to Griezmann? If based on goal celebrations, I get it. However, they both went missing at times while losing pace with Barcelona. Stats like tackles and assists favor Griezmann’s well rounded contribution. Still, Ronaldo played less and scored more–more goals than everyone except Messi.


  2. Balls it is then……Phil, you have surpassed yourself! Also, I wanna hesitantly ask about the lady in the pic…or more precisely what had happened after;-)

    Couldn’t you squeeze in Joaquin somehow? Odriozola is really woof…..I fully expect him to be Blaugrana before long…..

    As always keep the irreverence meter high n delightful!


    1. Ha ha – she was a brave girl. Or maybe she had a good touch. Yes – Sid went for Joaquin, so I didn’t want to be accused of a lack of originality. He was pretty amazing. Should’ve put him on the bench, at least.


  3. Seeing no Whites around actually makes this a proper La Liga team of the season as Madrid (my dear team) were rubbish throughout the campaign. I am a bit surprised you didn’t squeeze in Rodri in there. Thought he had a great season (so did Atletico since they signed him up) for Villareal. Anyway, long time reader of your stuff Mr. Ball, shame ESPN didn’t keep you (or Ed) around. Their coverage of Spain has deteriorated immensely bar the odd Sid articles.


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