Best players in La Liga right now: Why Bellingham still misses out on top spot

Following the arrival of Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid, Spanish football’s reputation as being the home of the world’s elite talent has been dealt a major boost. The Frenchman will surely take the number one spot as the biggest name in Spain during the 2024/25 season, but who are the other best players in La Liga right now?

Top 10 best players in La Liga right now

10. Artem Dovbyk, Girona

Last season’s Pichichi race developed into an unlikely battle between Villarreal’s Alexander Sorloth and Girona’s Artem Dovbyk. The latter ended up one goal clear on 24 strikes in an outstanding campaign for the Ukraine international who averaged a goal every 109 minutes in La Liga.

That’s some going for a debutant in the division with Dovbyk’s powerful frame making him the perfect targetman in an impressive Girona side that surprised everyone by qualifying for the Champions League.

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Nico Williams has been a star for Athletic – Photo by Icon Sport

9. Nico Williams, Athletic Club

The form of winger Nico Williams for Spain at Euro 2024 has catapulted the 21 year old into the consciousness of football fans around the world, but he’s not an overnight success story having played brilliantly in La Liga for Athletic Club last term.

Frequently combining with brother Iñaki on the opposite flank, the skill, quick feet and creativity of Nico was the catalyst for Athletic’s run to Copa del Rey glory and a fifth placed finish in the league.

8. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona

The 2023/24 season was a poor campaign at Barcelona and it speaks volumes that there are few players at the Catalan club these days who would be universally recognised as being amongst the game’s very elite.

Anyone who has watched Marc-Andre ter Stegen play for Barcelona over the past decade would recognise him as one of the top shot stoppers in Europe though and he’s also one of the very best with the ball at his feet, completing 88.4% of his passes in La Liga last term.

best players in the spanish league
Isco in action for Real Betis – Photo by Icon Sport

7. Isco, Real Betis

One year ago, Isco wouldn’t have even been considered one of the top 100 players in La Liga, never mind the top 10, but his resurgence at Real Betis during the 2023/24 season was truly exceptional with only injury denying him a Spain recall at Euro 2024.

The former Real Madrid man looked much leaner and hungrier, averaging 2.8 key passes per game which was more than any other player in the division. He also registered eight goals and five assists for the Seville club who qualified for Europe.

6. Lamine Yamal, Barcelona

At just 16, Lamine Yamal is an extraordinary talent who has already established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet for club and country.

The winger has already smashed all kinds of records and Barcelona’s youngest ever player became the youngest ever to appear at the Euros this summer. He still has areas of his game to improve, with his finishing ability one area to work on, but he has all the time in the world to develop that.

5. Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid

La Liga is well blessed when it comes to world class goalkeepers and Thibaut Courtois certainly falls into that category. Despite bizarrely being overlooked by Belgium for Euro 2024, he proved his fitness and class again after returning from an ACL injury to help Los Blancos win another Champions League.

Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to opt for Courtois over Andriy Lunin in the final at Wembley proved the right one with the 32 year old making four saves to deny Borussia Dortmund.

4. Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid

Despite a difficult spell at Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann has since returned to be Atletico Madrid’s main man again, largely winning over a fanbase that was furious with the manner of his initial departure.

Griezmann registered 16 goals and six assists in La Liga 2023/24 and even at the age of 33, he remains one of the best players in the Spanish top flight.

best players in laliga
Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Junior were outstanding last term – Photo by Icon Sport

3. Vinicius Junior, Real Madrid

As the Spanish and European champions, it’s no surprise that Real Madrid dominate the top places. Vinicius Junior has overcome initial struggles and a torrent of racist abuse during his time in Spain to star as one of the league’s outstanding players averaging a goal contribution every 94 minutes in La Liga 2023/24.

He has shown he can do it in more than one position too, by excelling on the left flank and as a more central striker and Mbappe’s arrival may see him need to adapt his game again.

2. Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid

As debut seasons at Real Madrid go, you can scour the history books and struggle to find anything quite as impressive as what Jude Bellingham did last term.

Scoring 19 goals from an advanced midfield role in La Liga, Bellingham also played a key role as Los Blancos went all the way in Europe again. From day one, the Englishman won over his teammates and new public and everything indicates that he’s on course for a spectacular career at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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Kylian Mbappe will be presented as a Real Madrid player after Euro 2024 – Photo by Icon Sport

1. Kylian Mbappe, Real Madrid

After the seasons they’ve just had, it takes something special to pip Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham to top spot, but Kylian Mbappe is certainly that.

Mbappe is an explosive forward capable of winning games on his own and he joins Real Madrid having scored 44 goals in 48 appearances in his final season at PSG. Having long been linked to the Spanish giants, the 25 year old finally has his dream move and it’s going to be fascinating to see just how Ancelotti uses him in what is already a star-studded Madrid attack.

Mark is a freelance football writer based in Madrid. He regularly attends and covers La Liga matches around Spain, whilst also following football across Europe.