Spanish La Liga Team of the Week

Barcelona registered a 4-2 win against a resilient Mallorca side while Real Madrid had a tougher time grinding out a 2-1 win at waterlogged Levante over the weekend.

Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Prior to the game, Real coach Jose Mourinho had declared, "Winning [at Levante] is not only difficult for us" but he probably did not expect the weather to make the job even more difficult. A soggy pitch only helped make the stubborn Levante defence nearly impossible to break down. 

A nicely-controlled chested volley by Cristiano Ronaldo and a header by substitute Alvaro Morata six minutes from time, however, helped them keep pace with Barcelona who, earlier in the day, relied on some Lionel Messi magic to secure three points in their away fixture.

While a superb Xavi free-kick as well as goals from Cristian Tello and Messi appeared to have settled the game at half-time, Mallorca did have a glimmer of a draw when they scored two quick goals in the second half, but Messi got another one to restore the two-goal cushion.

ESPNSTAR.com rates the best players from a packed weekend full of exciting La Liga games. 

GK: Gorka Iraizoz (Athletic Bibao)

The Bilbao custodian was very sharp in his side's 2-1 win over Sevilla and made a couple of double saves to deny Baba Diawara and Alvaro Negredo late in the game. 

Ander Herrera's sending-off 14 minutes before the end made matters worse for the Basque side but the 31-year-old commanded his box with supreme confidence to ensure that Sevilla did not steal a point at the San Mames stadium. 

RB: Tito (Rayo Vallecano)

Rayo Vallecano came from two goals down to defeat 10-man Celta Vigo in a five-goal thriller where Tito made the most of his license to roam forward, scoring the equaliser in the 72nd minute. 

Tito went on a rampaging run minutes after Gustavo Cabral was sent off, only to fire into the side netting. However, the 27-year-old was less wasteful in the second half, powering home Chori Dominguez's cross to help his side to the win.

CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

In a game where the forwards found it difficult to stamp their authority, Ramos rose to the fore with a commanding performance. He won most aerial duels and even went close to scoring a goal with a backheel that bounced back off the crossbar. 

CB: Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)

The Atleti defender nullified Getafe's Alvaro Vasquez and made some terrific blocks to make it an easy outing for his goalkeeper. Furthermore, the Uruguayan was tidy with his passing and helped initiate a number of attacks from the back. 

LB: Jon Aurtenetxe (Athletic Bilbao)

The left-back sent in a pinpoint cross to pick out Óscar De Marcos perfectly on the edge of the area to help score the winning goal against Sevilla. 

His contribution would have definitely been warmly received by coach Marcelo Bielsa as the Europa League finalists are on the verge of exiting from the tournament after having lost to Lyon three days prior to their La Liga fixture. 

MC: Xavi (Barcelona)

Xavi was brilliant with his passing once more and helped move the ball from one flank to the other with remarkable ease. The highlight of his performance was definitely the goal from a curling free-kick that would have made even former Blaugrana player Ronaldinho proud. 

AMR: Xabi Prieto (Real Sociedad)

The winger was a constant threat down the right and helped his side surprise in-form Malaga at their own stadium. 

Prieto rounded off his night with a cheeky goal by nutmegging Wilfredo Caballero when a deflected pass came his way inside the box. 

AML: Angel di Maria (Real Madrid)

The Argentinean was the most active player for Los Merengues up in attack and sent in a couple of great corners that both Pepe and Ramos nearly connected with in the second half. 

He went close to scoring several times himself and was unlucky not to have been involved much in the goals. 

AMC: Victor Rodriguez (Real Zaragoza)

Victor Rodriguez was the star in Zaragoza's 5-3 comeback win as he sent in two great crosses from the right to help Helder Postiga score a brace on the night. 

The former Barcelona man was impressive with his running and energetic display as well and never gave up even after his side were two goals down and heads had begun to drop in dejection. 

ST: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Overtaking Pele, one of the football's greats, seems to have become a habit for the Barca star and he scored his two goals and ran the show in his side's win over Mallorca.

His first goal came from an error on Dudu Aouate's part but it was all Messi in the 70th minute when he found space to shoot and the back of the net even as three defenders were rushing in to close him down.

ST: Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid)

Touted as the next Fernando Morientes, Morata helped Jose Mourinho put all the controversy over Real Madrid's cantera policy to bed with an ace performance in Real Madrid's 2-1 win over Levante.

With both sides struggling to get the game flowing on the swimming pool of a pitch, the 20-year-old came up with the goods barely 60 seconds after coming on in the 83rd minute to fire in the winning goal and help Real keep pace in the league.



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