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Celebrating LaLiga’s 2023/24 Unsung Heroes

La Liga
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Alaves: The Perfect Season of Midtable Stability

On the penultimate weekend of the season, Deportivo Alaves played Getafe on Saturday night while everyone else played on Sunday. This scheduling anomaly reflects LaLiga’s commitment to competitive integrity, ensuring teams with nothing at stake play separately. For Alaves, this apparent irrelevance marked a season of quiet triumph.

Irrelevance might not sound thrilling, but for Alaves, midtable mediocrity is a massive success. Avoiding the drama of relegation battles or title chases, they achieved safety with weeks to spare. With the league’s lowest budget at €31.28m, Alaves outperformed wealthier teams like Granada and Almeria, who were relegated. Coach Luis García’s remarkable work, despite setbacks like injuries and penalties conceded, kept them afloat. Alaves, nicknamed “El Glorioso,” embody success through stability.

Jagoba Arrasate: Dignified Leadership at Osasuna

Another standout coach is Jagoba Arrasate of Osasuna. Departing after securing top-flight status for five consecutive seasons, Arrasate leaves a legacy of dignified leadership. Under his guidance, Osasuna reached a Copa del Rey final and earned a European spot despite having one of LaLiga’s smallest budgets. His genuine approach and commitment to leaving on a high note highlight his remarkable tenure.

Daley Blind: The Overlooked Pillar of Girona

Daley Blind, the seasoned Dutch defender at Girona, also deserves recognition. Joining at 34, Blind’s influence has been crucial yet understated. With over 100 caps for the Netherlands and titles at Ajax and Bayern, he brought experience and stability to Girona. Despite being overshadowed by more flashy teammates, Blind’s consistent performance made a significant impact.

Ferland Mendy: Real Madrid’s Quiet Enforcer

Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid epitomizes the unsung hero. Often overlooked, Mendy’s defensive prowess has been vital for Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti praised him as the best defensive defender globally, yet Mendy remains an anonymous figure in a high-profile team. His quiet efficiency and strength have earned him respect without the spotlight.

Ayoze Pérez: The Unheralded Star of Real Betis

Ayoze Pérez of Real Betis has thrived alongside the brilliant Isco. Despite dealing with injuries, Ayoze’s technical quality and decisiveness have been pivotal for Betis’ European aspirations. With 11 goals and two assists, his contributions, though less heralded, have been fundamental.

Pepelu: Valencia’s Silent Leader

Pepelu of Valencia embodies the silent leader. Joining from city rivals Levante, his transition to Valencia was smooth and impactful. Leading the team in minutes played, passes, and recoveries, Pepelu’s consistency and work rate have been crucial. Despite his low profile, he has been instrumental in Valencia’s stable season.


In LaLiga, it’s not always the stars who define success. Teams like Alaves, players like Mendy, and coaches like Arrasate prove that quiet efficiency and resilience are equally deserving of recognition. As the season closes, it’s time to celebrate these unsung heroes.