Spanish First Division football league – LaLiga – season (2018-19) is set to kick start on August 17, Friday. The LaLiga management is using the power of its FIFA World Cup stars to market the upcoming season.
LaLiga has signalled out six heroes from the FIFA World Cup 2018, who will be followed widely to continue with their great work in Russia.
The 2018 World Cup was one to remember for France and Croatia, but also for LaLiga. Spanish clubs sent 81 players to the tournament, including 11 finalists, seven members of the winning squad and Luka Modrić, the man who was awarded the Golden Ball for the tournament’s best player, LaLiga has stated in a Press release.
Away from the award-winners at the FIFA World Cup, here are the six players who’ll be looking to build on their impressive performances this summer to consolidate themselves as true stars in LaLiga in 2018/19.
Japanese Takashi Inui, Belgian Adnan Januzaj, Frenchman Lucas Hernández, Denis Cheryshev of Russia, Colombia’s Johan Mojica and Brazilian Philippe Coutinho are the six stars LaLiga has highlighted as the attraction to be of the 2018/19 season.
Takashi Inui (Real Betis)
Pitching in with an assist and two goals, including a long-distance stunner against Belgium, Takashi Inui was one of the heroes of Japan’s stirring World Cup campaign. The Samurai Blue won plaudits from across the globe through their exciting possession-based play, of which Inui was at the very heart.
Having just signed for Real Betis after three seasons at Eibar, the 30-year-old is set to thrive as he takes a step up at the Benito Villamarin. Betis, who finished sixth in LaLiga last season and will star in Europe this season, always play on the front foot and Inui’s dribbling skills and smart finishing should continue to flourish in a system that suits his style perfectly.
Lucas Hernández (Atlético Madrid)
The 2017/18 season was a special one for Lucas. He doubled his appearances tally at Atletico from 44 to 88, won the Europa League, went to the World Cup as France’s starting left-back and went on to win the biggest prize in international football, even providing an assist during the final. The 22-year-old was heralded as one of the best left-backs of the tournament, if not the best, and he now looks primed to carry his winning momentum into the new season.
Lucas isn’t actually a natural left-back, having joined the club’s academy aged just 10 as a centre-back, but Diego Simeone has moulded him into a versatile player across the backline. It’s this versatility that has made him such an important player at the Wanda Metropolitano and, whether at centre-back or left-back, a big season of standout performances lies ahead.
Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal)
Russia were one of the surprise packages at this summer’s World Cup, thanks in no small part to a series of wonder goals from Denis Cheryshev. The Villarreal winger scored two beautiful efforts in the opening game, showcasing excellent control in a tight space for the first and unleashing an outside-of-the-boot curler for the second. He added another with a decisive finish against Egypt, before finding Croatia’s top corner with a long-range missile in the quarter-finals.
Four goals were enough to see the 27-year-old finish as joint-second top scorer and Villarreal will expect the Russian to bring his shooting boots back to Spain with him as they rev up for the new season. Cheryshev scored his in his final match of last season, against Deportivo La Coruña, and few would bet against him being a force to be reckoned with in 2018/19.
Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad)
Adnan Januzaj may have only scored one goal at the 2018 World Cup but it was good enough to make the shortlist for FIFA’s official Goal of the Tournament award. The Real Sociedad player collected the ball on the wing in Belgium’s group stage match against England before bursting in-field, sending the defender the wrong way and firing into the top corner.
As he heads into his second year with Real Sociedad, the 23-year-old will be keen to add to the three goals and five assists he conjured up for the San Sebastián club last league campaign. With Asier Garitano, a coach who urges his teams to counter-attack when possible, having arrived at the Anoeta dugout, this could well be a breakout year for the pacey winger full of confidence after a spectacular strike for his country.
Johan Mojica (Girona)
Left-back Johan Mojica wasn’t initially slated for Colombia’s starting XI this summer but made the most of injuries to play every minute of his country’s run to the last 16, including a starring role in the 3-0 win over Poland.
His thoughts now turn to the upcoming LaLiga season, where he’ll once again be representing Girona after they triggered the purchase option to buy him outright from LaLiga Santander newcomers Rayo Vallecano. He visibly grew in confidence in 2018, missing just six league games all year, and will be looking to dominate the flank in both defences and attack this season as Girona look to consolidate their top-flight status.
Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona)
Two goals and two assists in five appearances show just how good a World Cup Philippe Coutinho had with Brazil, but these numbers only tell half the story. So much of Brazil’s play went through the Barça man and every one of the goals he was involved in proved decisive.
The 26-year-old now returns to Barcelona for his first full season in LaLiga Santander, having only joined the club in last season’s January transfer window. He’s already shown the Camp Nou glimpses of what made Barça make him their all-time record signing and all signs point to him immediately pushing on to become one of the very best players in LaLiga.