MX23RW : Saturday, August 18 15:46:35

Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers from the opening weekend of the La Liga season.

Reigning La Liga champions Barcelona began their title defence with a thumping 7-0 win over Levante on Sunday, while there were also wins for Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on matchday one of the new campaign.

Real Sociedad opened the 2013-2014 season with a 2-0 home win against Getafe, before Athletic Bilbao picked up an impressive three points away to Real Valladolid. The final match of Saturday saw Valencia record a 1-0 win over Malaga courtesy of a second-half strike from Portuguese defender Ricardo Costa.

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona recorded a seven-goal victory over a poor Levante side in the opening match on Sunday, but Real Madrid needed a late header from Isco to secure all three points against Europa League outfit Real Betis on Carlo Ancelotti's league debut as Madrid boss.

Granada also got their league campaign underway with a 2-1 victory over Osasuna, who are expected to struggle this season, before Diego Costa inspired Atletico Madrid to a 3-1 win over Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon.

The excitement continued on Monday, however, with Rayo Vallecano picking up all three points with a 3-0 win over newly-promoted Elche.

Villarreal came from behind to triumph in a five-goal thriller with fellow newly-promoted side Almeria in the late start, while Espanyol recovered from 2-0 behind to secure a draw at the home of Celta Vigo.

Here, Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers from the opening weekend of the La Liga season.

Roberto (Granada)
Granada have been tipped to enjoy a successful season this term with a number of players arriving this summer. As we all know, behind every good team is a good goalkeeper. The 34-year-old was the star of the show in his side's 2-1 win over Osasuna on Sunday, with the Spaniard making a number of smart saves in the latter stages of proceedings.

Ricardo Costa (Valencia)
It hasn't been the best of summers in the transfer market for Valencia, but they did manage to get their season underway with a 1-0 win over Malaga. It was the Portuguese centre-back that scored the only goal of the match after 65 minutes, but it was his defensive performance that impressed the most. It was yet another solid display from the 32-year-old.
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
If there is a finer defender than Godin in European football then I have not seen them. The centre-back put in another sensational display in Atletico's 3-1 win over Sevilla on Sunday, with the Argentine aerially dominant and calm in possession. It is no surprise that he was at the heart of the best defence in La Liga last season.
Ignacio Martinez (Rayo Vallecano)
Rayo are another side that have lost a number of key personnel this summer, but in Martinez, they have one of the most consistent defenders in the league. The 24-year-old, who made the step up from the B team in 2012, was at his dominant best as his side recorded a morale-boosting 3-0 win over Elche on Monday.

Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad)
It never quite happened for the Mexican at Arsenal, but he was certainly found a home at Sociedad. The 24-year-old started this season in the same form that he ended the previous campaign. It was his goal that moved his side into the lead against Getafe on Saturday, before he assisted Haris Seferovic for their second in the latter stages.
Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona)
Manchester United are still keen on signing the midfielder if reports are to believed. Well, based on his performance in Sunday's 7-0 win against Levante, United will need to come up with a special offer to tempt Barcelona. The 26-year-old assisted five of their seven goals at the Camp Nou in an utterly sensational performance.
Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao)
You just get the feeling that Herrera needs to push on this season. At the age of 23, he is no longer considered a youngster, but he put in a mature display in his side's 2-1 win over Real Valladolid on Saturday. There has never been any doubting his ability, but if he can find some consistency, a Spain call-up could arrive for the World Cup next summer.
Cedric Mabwati (Real Betis)
Betis managed to pick up the 21-year-old on a free transfer in the summer and based on his performance in the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Sunday, he could turn into one of the signings of the season. It was his blistering pace which created the opener for his side, with Sergio Ramos & Co. simply unable to deal with his movement at the Bernabeu.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
There has been a number of changes in La Liga this summer, but some things will remain the same. Another La Liga campaign, another two goals on the opening weekend for Messi. He will once more be in a personal battle with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo for the Golden Boot, but the Argentine has made the early ground.
Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
With Radamel Falcao departing Atletico this summer, Costa will be the focal point of Diego Simeone's side. The Brazilian certainly answered the call in the 3-1 win over Sevilla on Sunday, with the powerful forward netting a brace at the Estadio Ramon. The home side just could not deal with the 24-year-old, who was simply unplayable.
Alberto Bueno (Rayo Vallecano)
With Piti and Leo Baptistao departing the club this summer, Bueno has been given the responsibility of the main striker. It was some start to his Rayo career for the 25-year-old, who scored a terrific brace in his side's 3-0 win over Elche on Monday.

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Joan Verdu for Espanyol in January 2012
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Levante11003033
2GironaGirona10100001
3Real Valladolid10100001
4AlavesAlaves00000000
5Athletic Bilbao00000000
6Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
7Barcelona00000000
8Celta Vigo00000000
9EibarEibar00000000
10Espanyol00000000
11Getafe00000000
12Huesca00000000
13Leganes00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Madrid00000000
16Real Sociedad00000000
17Sevilla00000000
18Valencia00000000
19Villarreal00000000
20Real Betis100103-30

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