This season’s LaLiga Santander campaign threw up drama until the final second. Here’s a look at the top statistical performers who made this season so memorable.
FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi’s 30 goals were enough to see him top the LaLiga goalscoring standings for the eighth time in his career. He was followed by Villarreal CF’s Gerard Moreno – who picked up his second Zarra award for the top-scoring Spanish player in the division – and Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, both with 23.
Barcelona lived up to their passing tradition once again this season, with the Frenkie de Jong (2,785) and Sergio Busquets (2,682) leading the way across LaLiga Santander. de Jong has quickly established himself as the heartbeat of the blaugrana midfield since joining from Ajax in 2019, with many considering him to be the heir of former passing maestros Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta at the Camp Nou. Third place went to Villarreal’s Dani Parejo (2,668), who impressed in his first season at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
RC Celta’s Iago Aspas put together another very strong season, leading his side to an impressive eighth place finish after a slow start. Aspas was one of just two players to register double digits for goals and assists in LaLiga Santander along with Marcos Llorente, providing 13 assists for his teammates. Atletico de Madrid’s Marcos Llorente followed in second with 11, with Toni Kroos of Germany in third with 10.
Real Madrid’s title charge was driven from the midfield, with Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos proving influential in both defence and attack in the final stretch. Casemiro has for many years been among the best defensive midfielders in LaLiga Santander, and this season was no different. The Brazilian registered the most interceptions in the league (70), followed by SD Eibar’s Anaitz Arbilla (69) and Real Betis’ Guido Rodriguez (68).
Attacking marvel Lionel Messi topped the dribbling rankings once again, registering 159 across the season. His tally was far ahead of the rest of the pack; SD Huesca full-back Javi Galan came in second with 121, and Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir in third with 85.
The 2020/21 season saw some phenomenal performances between the sticks, nowhere more so than in the Spanish capital where the form of Jan Oblak was crucial in Atletico de Madrid’s title win. The Slovenian keeper made 103 saves across the campaign, ahead of Elche CF’s Edgar Badia (95) – whose saves helped his side stay up on the final day of the season –, Valencia CF’s Jaume Domenech (90) and Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois (90).
Most minutes played:
This category is often dominated by goalkeepers and this season was no exception. Three keepers were ever present through the campaign, playing every minute of every game (3,420 minutes): Alex Remiro (Real Sociedad), Jan Oblak (Atletico de Madrid) and Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid).
CA Osasuna’s hometown centre-back David Garcia led the league in clearances this season (170), anchoring a top ten defence in terms of goals conceded. D. Alaves’ French centre-back Florian Lejeune ranked in second with 145, followed by Villarreal’s experienced defensive leader Raul Albiol (139).
Most free-kick goals:
Another ranking topped by Lionel Messi. The Argentine continued to be deadly from set-pieces, netting three times to take his total in LaLiga to an incredible 39. He also led the way in free-kicks on target, with 12 – three times more than his closest challenger. D. Alaves’ Joselu ranked in second with two, with a host of other stars, including Dani Parejo (Villarreal), Luis Suarez (Atletico de Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Nabil Fekir (Real Betis) and Iago Aspas (RC Celta) with one.
Most duels won:
The aforementioned Joselu had a great season in the blue and white of Alaves and was a key factor up front in their late run to survival under coach Javi Calleja. His 378 duels won led the league, ahead of Eibar’s Kike Garcia (337) and Huesca’s Javi Galan (321).