La Liga has officially been the best league in in Europe for the last five years according to UEFA’s stats, and that’s no surprise really. The strength in depth of Real Madrid and Barcelona alone has only really been rivalled by Bayern Munich in recent memory – something that has been mirrored by the team stats in FIFA 16 – and that’s before you consider Atlético Madrid’s rise to prominence under Diego Simeone.
If you look at all these clubs, one thing is striking in comparison to the English Premier League – they’re all packed full of young talent. La Liga has been home to some of the most talented wonderkids of the last generation, and that emphasis on youngsters shows no sign of stopping. We’ve pulled together a team made entirely of La Liga wonderkids – one that would dominate any Career Mode if given a bit of time to mature. All these players are 21 and under, so if you don’t quite have the cash to bring in proven young stars like Neymar, Raphaël Varane and James Rodríguez, why not have a look at one of these wonderkids instead?
Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga
Now, Arrizabalaga is currently on loan at Real Valladolid in the Liga Adelante – one league below the top division – but technically speaking, he still belongs to Liga BBVA parent club Athletic Bilbao, so we’ve decided he qualifies for this team. That’s a good thing really, as there are no other keepers in Spain under the age of 21 who come close to his 87 overall potential, and his excellent diving and reflexes already make him a top-quality shot-stopper.
Right back: João Cancelo
FIFA 16 is awash with talented left-sided players, seemingly at the expense of decent right wingers and right backs. Although Cancelo is arguably the weak link of this side, he still grows into a very capable right back, with all the necessary stats to do a job for you. He’s certainly quick and agile enough to get up and down the flank with the ball if you need him to, he’ll become a solid defender with some time invested and don’t be fooled by his relatively poor passing stat – it’s let down only by his low vision, and the rest of his stats are all around the 70 mark starting off. He’s the best you’ll find without paying big money for Dani Carvajal or an equivalent.
Centre back: Aymeric Laporte
The Frenchman is set to be hot property in this summer’s transfer market, with lots of big name Premier League clubs looking to sign him up. Laporte’s 83 rating makes him the best immediate player in this team, so it’s no surprise that he’ll cost you a pretty hefty wad of cash if you want to bring him in. Still, he’s more than worth the money – just check the numbers. All his defending stats are 85+, his decent physical stats will grow nicely through his twenties, and crucially, his 72 overall pace is very solid indeed for a young centre back. If you can nab him from Athletic, he’ll grow up to 87 overall.
Centre back: José María Giménez
Atlético’s mighty Uruguayan has come into his own this season, forming a partnership alongside captain Diego Godin that might be the best centre back pairing in Europe. Giménez is more physical than Laporte – boasting jumping, strength and aggression numbers all over 80 – but doesn’t have the same pace or defensive stats as his potential partner yet. Still, he’s a very solid investment at just 20 years old, and he’ll grow into a brick wall of a centre half, with a potential overall rating of 86.
Left back: Jose Gayà
Alongside Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, Jose Gayà is probably the best Career Mode signing you could make at left back, bar none. Like Alaba his pace (85 acceleration and 89 sprint speed) is a huge asset, giving you the freedom to rampage up and down the left wing without being too worried about being caught out of position. But as you can see from his player card, he’s exceptionally well rounded, and he’ll only get better and better as he grows up to his 87 overall potential. His stamina, crossing and tackling are particularly good, which makes him the perfect wing back for your new side.
Central defensive midfield: Danilo
A clubmate of Jose Gayà, Danilo holds the midfield line at Valencia, providing amazing workrate and decent passing and tackling to allow others to get forward. The Brazilian is only 19, but his 78 overall rating already makes him passable in your starting XI, and he’s got good stats in the right places – 84 stamina, 81 interceptions and and 81 aggression, to name a few. He’ll need some training and some game time to reach his potential of 87 overall, but if you can get him up into the 80s, he’ll become a perfect foil for the next two men who will make up your three-man midfield.
Central attacking midfield: Marco Asensio
Tipped as the next great midfielder in Spanish football, Asensio only needed one season of professional football at Mallorca to impress scouts at Real Madrid and earn himself a six year deal with Los Blancos. He’s been equally impressive on loan at Espanyol this season, and whilst his stats are nothing impressive at the start of the game, he has the potential to turn into a wonderful attacking midfielder, with an 87 overall rating. His stats all have room to grow, making him a fabulous all around player in the making, and he’s a great free kick taker as well. You’ll have to wait for his loan deal to run out, and then snap him up before he gets too expensive.
Central attacking midfield: Óliver Torres
Great things have been expected of Óliver Torres for a few years now, and he seems to have made a giant leap forward in his progression this season, scoring seven goals in 26 games whilst on loan at Porto. Scoring has never been seen as his forte, and his FIFA stats make sense in that regard. His strengths are in beating defenders and setting up strikers – his 84 dribbling, 85 vision and 84 short passing are testament to that – and he is a perfect accompaniment to the likes of Marco Asensio and Ángel Correa. Again, just wait for his year loan to finish, then approach Atlético Madrid with an offer.
Left wing: Samu Castillejo
Ideally you’d be looking at Neymar to fill your left wing spot, but if you are after someone a bit cheaper who can grow into a role, we’d go with Castillejo. Let’s be honest – he’s not going to do any defensive work for you, but he has a nice mixture of pace, dribbling and passing stats (including 81 crossing) for you to mess around with. His poor stamina and shooting mean that he’s not going to come into your side straight away, but you can definitely make him into a threat with some training.
Right wing: Bruma
Barcelona youngster Munir is also a great prospect for the right wing, but Bruma edged it for us on the back of one statistic alone – pace. That big, tasty 93 overall pace rating – and at just 20 years old too – makes Bruma an instant threat down the right hand side. With a potential overall of 85, he doesn’t have quite the same world class ceiling as others in this team, but with speed like that he doesn’t really need it. Just get him making runs down the right flank and he’s sure to cause plenty of havoc over 90 minutes.
Striker: Ángel Correa
Correa has been a Career Mode and Football Manager favourite for many years now, with the Argentine starlet first impressing a number of European clubs three years ago now. He finally got his move to Spain courtesy of Atlético Madrid, and whilst he has struggled with injuries in real life, he’s still a top prospect in FIFA. His pace and dribbling skill immediately make him a threat, and his shooting will grow enormously with a bit of training investment. Although his potential overall is listed as 87, we’ve seen him grow as high as 91 in previous Career Mode games, so don’t sleep on him.