La Liga All-Underwhelming XI From the 2018/19 Season

​Player of the season lists are boring! You know who’s good! ‘Bad player’ lists suck too, cos that’s just…Huesca players, like. 

The happy middle ground? The underwhelming ones, the ones who should be better than they’ve shown. ​Apparently I couldn’t turn this in when it just said ‘Real Madrid’, so here’s the players: 

GK: Thibaut Courtois


Signed for £35m with only a year left on his contract at Chelsea, on £120,000 a week at the Bernabeu, keeps like a giraffe with gloves on. Has only started once since Zinedine Zidane came back as manager, because Keylor Navas is functionally better than him at not letting in goals. Important. 

RB: Dani Carvajal

Has been sharing the right-back spot with Álvaro Odriozola for most of this season, the man who is most notable for being 50% massive tall fluffy hair. 

He was one of the best three right-backs in the world before this season. What the hell happened?! 

CB: Raphael Varane

Champions League-winning defender. World Cup winning defender. The heir apparent to Sergio Ramos’ crown as ​Real’s talismanic centre-back. That was in August. Now, who knows? 


Varane has been part of the most underwhelming defence (and team) in ​La Liga, and has been one of its two most surprising collapses. He looked unbreakable at the start of the season, now he just looks broken. Big summer ahead. 

CB: Sergio Ramos

Number of shoulders dislocated in 2017/18: 1

Number of shoulders dislocated in 2018/19: 0

LB: Marcelo

Was dropped for Sergio Reguilón by Santi Solari, one of the few things the doomed Spaniard did which was an unequivocal success. It took Marcelo six months to go from being one of the most dangerous attacking outlets in a good team to being out of form, out of shape and out of the team. 


He’s a favourite of Zidane, so he’s back in the team for now, but…he’s not been any better. 

CM: Luka Modric 

Best player in the world? My arse. 

CM: Toni Kroos

It’s the rules – if you’re a white German player who’s had a pop at Mesut Özil, you’re cursed now. Kroos had one moment at the World Cup before his side slid out, and it’s all been downhill from there. He’s not just been bad ‘by his standards’ this season, he’s just been bad. Really, really bad. 

CAM: Isco

Isco Alarcon

He’s started ten games in La Liga and been bad in all of them! Isco was brilliant! He was the creative force in the last Champions League run! And the league title! He’s been bad!

RW: Gareth Bale

Poor Gareth. Finally out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, finally mostly fit, finally there to be the hero Real Madrid have needed…and he’s missed chances left, right and centre. 

Most of Real’s team are on the beach. Bale didn’t get invited. He’s on the golf course. 

LW: Philippe Coutinho

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are the two most expensive footballers of all time (and are brilliant). Philippe Coutinho is the third most expensive footballer of all time (and is shit).

It’s…you need more? His role on the pitch seems to be to cut in off the left and get in Lionel Messi’s way, then occasionally spank a shot over the bar. This is the man who was signed, apparently, to replace Andres Iniesta. You can forgive him for not being Iniesta, because Iniesta was a one-off. You can’t forgive him for being the third most expensive player of all time and still not being good enough to start games for ​Barcelona. 

ST: Mariano

Mariano Diaz

Remember Real Madrid signed Mariano? They don’t seem to. 

Subs: Pau Lopez, Sergi Roberto, Andres Guardado, Pablo Fornals, Diego Costa, Gerard Moreno, Sergio (pronounced Ser-he-oh) Leon.

In order: Failed to progress, just plain bad, step backwards, where is the version from Malaga??????, past it, utterly failed Villarreal, gone from double-digit league goals in consecutive seasons to zero goals which is bad.