Here’s a look at five standout players who’ve truly made a difference in their title-winning campaign and why: Luis Suarez, Marcos Llorente, Stefan Savic, Kieran Trippier and Jan Oblak.Few ‘teams’ embody the word quite as well as Atletico Madrid – content supplied by La Liga.
Luis Suarez scored the goal on the final day of the season that handed Atleti the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander title. But, the Uruguayan wasn’t the only player to play a truly crucial role in the team’s title-winning season.
Atleti’s top scorer this season with 21 LaLiga goals, Luis Suarez has clearly been one of the standout players for Atleti and across the league. Just like David Villa before him, Suarez left Barcelona to join Atlético and won the LaLiga Santander title in his first campaign in the capital. The Uruguayan number nine has been a fox in the box all campaign, providing Diego Simeone with one of the best finishers he has ever had during his coaching career.
There’s an argument to be made that Marcos Llorente was the most impactful player in all of LaLiga Santander this season, has developed into a top-class attacker. Towards the end of last season, the Spaniard left his defensive midfield role behind to play up front, most famously scoring twice at Anfield as Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League. This season, he has consistently burst into the penalty area from Los Colchoneros’ right flank and has finished the campaign with an incredible 12 goals and 11 assists. He has now followed in his father Paco Llorente’s footsteps by winning the Spanish championship.
Savic wasn’t available for Atleti’s final match of the season in Valladolid due to suspension, which was a big concern for Simeone. The Montenegrin centre-back has been a rock at the heart of the team’s defence this season, marshalling the backline no matter if they’ve played a back three or back four. This season, Savic has also developed his skills while in possession, producing his most accurate passing season at the club, with 85% of his passes finding their target.
Kieran Trippier is the first English player to win the LaLiga Santander title since David Beckham with Real Madrid back in 2007. Like Becks, Trippier has helped his team by delivering quality cross after quality cross from the right-hand side. Used most frequently as a right-wing-back, he has channelled all his energy into helping the team in both defence and attack. The fact Atleti dropped seven points over the eight matches he missed between January and February proves how important he was.
As one of the world’s best goalkeepers, if not the very best, Jan Oblak has been key to this success. The Slovenian finished the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season with his fifth Zamora Trophy for LaLiga’s top keeper, having conceded fewer goals per game than anyone else (0.66). Last-minute penalty saves, dramatic last-gasp stops and an unnerving confidence between the sticks, he has been a major part of Atleti’s league win, his first in seven years at the club.