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at the top of his game and when he is

  • As the sun sets on another dramatic La Liga campaign, Sky Sports Spanish expert Guillem Balague hands out his season awards. Starling Marte Jersey . Barcelona claimed their 24th title with a 3-0 win at Granada on Saturday, pipping Real Madrid by one point, while Atletico Madrid and Villarreal made up the top four.But in Balagues eyes, who was the best player in the league, who is most-improved, and which team has flopped? Best player - Luis SuarezNot only for the 40 goals this season, but for the fact he turned up during Barcelonas worst time. There were doubts around the club in late March, early April; physically they were not at their sharpest, the football they created was not causing much danger, and they actually lost three out of four La Liga games. In the last five games he scored 14 goals, and has also provided four assists. Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick at Granada as Barcelona won the La Liga title for the second successive season While Barcelona have been struggling to create the football the club is used to, Suarez has helped them get the points needed.This is a season where weve seen a different Lionel Messi, one that has dropped deeper and obviously helped Luis Suarez. He definitely was another big reason, along with Suarez, as to why Barcas season got back on track.Most-improved player - Antoine GriezmannThis was a year that consolidated what he had been building up to. Last season he didnt have a guaranteed place in the line-up, but hes the first name on the team sheet now. Antoine Griezmann has been on fine form for Atletico Madrid this season He has done it in a way that keeps in line with Diego Simeones philosophy; he works hard without the ball, and with it he has been key in breaking up defences. He is on the verge of being in the top five players in the world.Hes negotiating a new contract with Atletico Madrid, and although he has left the door open to other offers, I think his intention is to stay.Most-improved team - Celta Vigo and EibarThere are two; Eibar, who finished 14th with the help of Borja Baston, the striker on loan from Atletico Madrid, who scored 18 goals. Suarez is Barcas MVP Luis Suarez was Barcelonas most valuable player in their title-winning campaign, says David Moyes. But I would also give it to Celta, who managed to jump up the table by nine points, still with wonderful football. Eduardo Berizzo has been able to keep the team competitive despite losing Michael Krohn-Dehli in the summer to Sevilla and Augusto Fernandez to Atletico Madrid in January, as well as the injury to Nolito.Best game - Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona, November 21It has to be the Clasico at the Bernabeu. It was the return of Messi after two months injured, while Neymar and Suarez had been scoring the goals for Barcelona in that period. Suarez scored two, Andres Iniesta was probably the best player on the park, and Barca played so well that Real managed only one shot on goal in the first half, as well as keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet. Barcelona players celebrate after beating Real Madrid 4-0 in El Clasico I said after the game that these kinds of defeats have consequences, and as we saw, Rafa Benitez never recovered, and it was only a matter of time before Florentino Perez looked elsewhere.Best goal - Alvaro Cejudo, Real Betis 1-1 Real Madrid, January 24It has to be Cejudo. Its a nice build-up, and as the ball arrives to him, he manages to shoot in an awkward way and beat Keylor Navas, one of the best goalkeepers in the world with a wonderful strike. Our pick of the best goals of the season from La Liga. Which one gets your vote? Moment of the season - Deportivo 0-8 Barcelona, April 20Barcelona had just lost three of their last four games in the league, before going to Deportivo and winning 8-0. Luis Enrique has not rotated very well this season, the defeats came around the international break and he never trusted his bench.They would play the same 12, 13 players, but with Real Madrid and Atletico making life difficult for them, Luis Enrique trusted his favourite players and Barcelona came out and managed to get a superb result when they needed it. It was a message for La Liga. But I feel that next year, to avoid the same drop at the end of the season, Luis Enrique will have to return to more rotation and a few signings that will make the bench stronger.Flops of the season - Valencia and James RodriguezAs a team, Valencia. They have come from having 77 points, their joint-highest tally ever, to 44 points, the worst in 30 years. James Rodriguez has had to settle for the bench on occasions this term As a player, James Rodriguez. He has not accepted the fact he has to fight from the bench, his physical condition has not been perfect, and he is not strong enough mentally for Real Madrid. The club want to get rid of him now.Best XI of the season(4-3-3): Jan Oblak; Mario Gaspar, Diego Godin, Pepe, Marcelo; Andres Iniesta, Bruno Soriano, Antoine Griezmann; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo Six Real Madrid and Barcelona players make Balagues team of the season Manager of the season - MarcelinoFor a man who started his career as manager at Villarreal with a 5-0 thumping away to Real Madrid reserves in a second division match in January 2013, his progress since then has been nothing short of remarkable.Just five months later, the Submarine were back in the top flight, and in their first season back they finished high enough to gain a place in the Europa League. Villarreal manager Marcelino has improved the side this season, qualifying for the Champions League Despite falling just short of a Europa League final place after a defeat by Liverpool this season, Marcelino can console himself with the thought that his side have done enough to secure fourth place and a spot in the Champions league play-off round. It is also worth noting that Villarreal have never finished lower than sixth in the table since gaining promotion under the guidance of the canny Asturian tactician.It was disappointing how they performed at Anfield, but Marcelino has maintained a good level of performance throughout the season, and has improved on last season. Also See: Suarez fires Barca to title Suarez is Barcas MVP Fifty up for Ronaldo Getafe and Rayo relegated Colin Moran Pirates Jersey .com) - A pair of programs shooting for their 10th win of the season get together at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, as the NC State Wolfpack tangle with 22nd-ranked West Virginia during the challenge round of the Gotham Classic. Chris Archer Jersey . Philippe Desrosiers stopped 42 shots through overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his third shutout of the season for Rimouski (31-15-7). Zachary Fucale made 28 saves for Halifax (34-17-3) in the loss. DENVER -- For one night, the conversation wasnt all about rookie sensation Yasiel Puig. Granted, the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder did have another stellar game, which is pretty much the standard these days. But Clayton Kershaw accomplished what few have been able to do lately -- he stole some of Puigs spotlight. Kershaw tossed a four-hitter for his second shutout of the season as the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on Tuesday. "He had everything working," manager Don Mattingly said of his ace. Kershaw (7-5) kept the Rockies off balance all night, even top hitter Michael Cuddyer, who had his franchise-record 27-game hitting streak halted after going hitless in four plate appearances. Cuddyer flied out to Puig in right to end the game. "If it was going to end, might as well end against the best pitcher in the league," Cuddyer said. "He pitched really well. He was tough tonight." So tough that he allowed just one runner to get to second all evening. The hard-throwing Kershaw had eight strikeouts and walked none. "I had pretty good fastball command tonight," he nonchalantly said. Asked about the offence and his face lit up as he pedaled on the exercise bike after the game. "Its awesome," Kershaw said. "Its a tough lineup right now to get through. Puigs on another planet. You keep thinking he cant keep this up, not just singles, hes been hitting the ball really hard everywhere. Ive been really, really impressed." Its hard not to be. The 22-year-old Puig had three more hits, including a solo homer, to raise his average to .443 this season. "Whatever league that Im in Im going to do the best I can," he said through a translator. "Im going to play wherever they ask me to play." Roy Oswalt (0-3) was roughed up in his first start at Coors Field this season. He allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. Part of that, he explained, had to do with simply being too fine. "Trying to throw that nine-inning shutout with 70 pitches, instead of being aggressive like Ive always been," Oswalt said. Adrian Gonzalez broke open the game with a two-run homer in the third and Juan Uribe added a pair of RBI singles. Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the second. Kershaw found himself in a rather unfamiliar position -- with a big early lead. He entered the game with the second-lowest run support of any NL starter. But the Dodgers gave Kershaw an early four-run cushion, more than enough for him. It was Kershaws third compllete game of the season and second shutout. Corey Dickerson Pirates Jersey. . He held the San Francisco Giants without a run in his first start of the season on April 1. Kershaw might have had the play of the game against the Rockies -- or at least the most comical -- when he lost his glove trying to field a bunt. No matter, he picked it up barehanded and threw out Josh Rutledge. "He had his A game, no question," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It was going to be tough to score off of him. He was at the top of his game and when he is, you have to scratch and claw for everything." The fans showed up early to watch Puig send one monster shot after another into the stands during batting practice. Puig was even more impressive once the game began. These days, its hard not to take notice of Puig. His 44 hits in June were a Dodgers rookie record for a month. He carried it over into July with a single in the first and a double off the right-field scoreboard in the third. After taking a called third strike, Puig sent a pitch from reliever Adam Ottavino over the fence in the deepest part of the park for his eighth homer this season. Puig wasnt done there. He also made a running catch in foul territory, veering right for the seats before suddenly turning to avoid a collision. He then trotted into the dugout as if it were just another routine play. "Exciting player. Big guy with a lot of athleticism," Weiss said before the game. "Brought a lot of excitement to that club." The same can be said of Cuddyer, who failed to get a hit for the first time since May 27. His streak was the longest in the majors this season. Cuddyer didnt reach base, either, bringing his streak of 46 straight games with a hit, walk or being plunked by a pitch to an end. "Im proud of (the streak)," Cuddyer said. "Its a long time, longer than Ive ever gone." His first order of business now that its over? "Definitely going to get a haircut," said Cuddyer, who also grew a scruffy beard. Cuddyer couldnt even begin to fathom hitting in 56 straight like Joe DiMaggio. "Thats ridiculous," he said. "Its one of those records, for me, thats unattainable. "You just enjoy the ride as long as you can." NOTES: The Dodgers acquired former All-Star reliever Carlos Marmol from the Chicago Cubs for RHP Matt Guerrier. ... Colorado placed OF Dexter Fowler (bruised right hand) on the 15-day disabled list. The move is retroactive to June 26. ... Backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba had two hits off Kershaw. ' ' '
      September 5, 2019 7:34 AM CEST
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