La Liga Matchweek 16: Team of the Week

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Real Madrid completed their 2016 calendar year with another trophy, capturing the FIFA Club World Cup in a 4-2 victory over Japanese side Kashima Antlers.

The triumph extends their incredible unbeaten streak to 37 matches across all competitions.

Back in league play, Barcelona secured three points against RCD Espanyol with a dominant performance at the Camp Nou. Sevilla continued their fine form with a 4-1 victory against Malaga, as both sides made up ground on the league leaders.

The Spanish top flight is set to go on a two-week winter break.

We highlight the best players in La Liga for Matchweek 16.

GK – Fernando Pacheco – Deportivo Alaves

Alaves continued their strong start to the 2016-17 season, with the newly-promoted side defeating Real Betis 1-0 on Friday evening. Goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco was crucial in keeping the clean sheet.

The 24-year old recorded three saves and organised the back-line well throughout the match.

LB – Jordi Alba – Barcelona

Barcelona controlled nearly every aspect of the match in their win over Espanyol, with Jordi Alba recording his first goal of the season.

Alba’s positioning was excellent, and his movement into the attack caused problems for the opposition.

CB – Florian Lejeune – SD Eibar

Eibar earned a key point away from home in a 1-1 draw at Leganes on Sunday. Florian Lejeune’s play was outstanding in finding a result on their travels.

The French international cleared out several dangerous scoring opportunities and his accurate passing kept a close link with the midfield.

CB – Javier Mascherano – Barcelona

Barcelona’s defence certainly earned praise in their victory, with Argentine centre-back Javier Mascherano turning in an exceptional performance.

Along with Gerard Pique, Mascherano and the back-line offered Espanyol little space in the final third.

RB – Juanfran – Deportivo de La Coruna

Real Madrid product Juanfran helped to lead Deportivo de La Coruna in a 2-0 victory against Osasuna on Sunday.

Juanfran’s work rate and passing along the right side was fantastic, especially in the second half protecting the two-goal advantage.

MF – Saul Niguez – Atletico Madrid

A physical encounter between Atletico Madrid and Las Palmas saw one goal make the difference, as Spanish midfielder Saul Niguez’s 59th-minute strike proved to be the match-winner for Los Rojiblancos.

On a day when Atletico’s attack struggled to break down the Las Palmas defence, Saul’s impressive effort came at just the right moment.

MF – Andres Iniesta – Barcelona

Barcelona’s midfield maestro continued his impressive form as Andres Iniesta was influential on both ends of the pitch in a victory for the Blaugrana.

Iniesta recorded an assist on the match’s opening goal and completed several key passes.

MF – Esteban Granero – Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad won their second consecutive game on Saturday with a 2-0 victory at Granada. Spanish midfielder Esteban Granero dictated the pace and tempo throughout the 90 minutes.

Granero assisted on La Real’s first goal and covered the space in front of the defence spectacularly.

FW – Luis Suarez – Barcelona

Luis Suarez was a nightmare for Espanyol on Sunday evening, bagging two goals and an assist in Barcelona’s victory.

Suarez’s movement in the final third made it nearly impossible for defenders to keep pace with him.

FW – Luciano Vietto – Sevilla FC

A wild first half was that all that Sevilla and manager Jorge Sampaoli needed for their win against Malaga, resulting in a 4-0 lead at half-time. 22-year-old forward Luciano Vietto scored a brace (25’, 28’) and also registered an assist.

On loan from Atletico Madrid, Vietto brings impressive quality and depth to Sevilla’s attacking front-line.

FW – Lionel Messi – Barcelona

Another week and another fabulous performance from Lionel Messi, as the Argentine magician again left the Camp Nou crowd speechless. Messi scored one goal and kept constant pressure on the Espanyol defence.

His jaw-dropping run to set up Barcelona’s second goal was an exhibition of class and quality, while another slicing move through the midfield moments later led to a third goal as Barcelona waltzed to a 4-1 victory.

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