Superliga 2017/18: Player of the season

With the Superliga season now over and Boca Juniors crowned champions once again, it’s time to look back over some of the best individual displays from the past 27 rounds of matches. All five on the shortlist were included in our Team of the Season and after consistently impressing at their respective clubs could be in line for moves in the not too distant future.

Feel free to comment below on who you think was the Player of the Season…

Santiago García – Godoy Cruz

The talent has clearly been there since Santiago García formed a dangerous attack with Abel Hernández for Uruguay’s under-20s back in 2009 and burst into the Nacional side at around the same time. However, Godoy Cruz had only really seen flashes of that until this season.

García’s 17 goals from 26 appearances made him the Superliga’s top goal scorer but it was the nine that came in the last seven games as Godoy Cruz discovered an incredible run of form that almost pushed El Tomba to the title. The club had to settle for a best-ever second placed finish and a place in the Copa Libertadores but had it been a short championship, the Mendocinos would have been celebrating a title and the goals of El Morro would have been the catalyst.

Martín Campaña – Independiente

The Uruguayan international has been a consistent performer as El Rojo have gone from strength to strength under Ariel Holan. After helping the club to the Copa Sudamericana in December, since Nicolás Tagliafico’s subsequent departure, Campaña has been Independiente’s captain, proving to be an on-field leader as well as a safe pair of hands.

Campaña has proved an outstanding piece of business for Independiente since joining from Defensor Sporting in 2015 and while the club might have missed out on a Copa Libertadores spot on goal difference, the 28-year-old has been worth several points.

El Rojo would have qualified for the Libertadores if issues at the other end of the pitch had been resolved as with Campaña in goal, Holan’s team had the best defensive record in the league but simply did not score enough.

Cristian Pavón – Boca Juniors

A place in Jorge Sampaoli’s World Cup squad may well be Cristian Pavón’s reward for a tremendous campaign at Boca Juniors. The 22-year-old’s talent has been widely acknowledged for a long time but the moments of frustrating indecision have decreased and instead Pavón dragged Boca over the line with a string of inspirational displays.

Racking up almost 70 consecutive starts, there was perhaps no more important player in Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side and it was enough to win the title.

With pace to burn, Pavón ended the season with eleven assists, the most in the Superliga and his six goals were of great importance to the title triumph too. Darío Benedetto previously said that he owes half his goals to Pavón and had the Boca number nine stayed fit, the league would have been far more straight-forward. Whether driving down the right or cutting in off the left, Pavón will cause defences problems and despite his release clause of $30 million it is likely Boca will be fending off interest in this window.

Cristian Lema – Belgrano

Belgrano’s final day collapse against Temperley saw El Pirata miss out on Copa Sudamericana football in 2019 but the efforts of Cristian Lema can’t be faulted over the course of the season. Pablo Lavallén’s side were sound defensively (for the most part) particularly in Córdoba and in addition to Lema playing a key role in that, the 27-year-old scored a mightily impressive eight goals.

Averaging more than 3 interceptions per game and six clearances, Lema was without question one of the Superliga’s top defensive performers and according to WhoScored’s ranking was the best player in the league.

Lema finishing as the club’s top scorer is telling and ahead of next season’s relegation battle, Belgrano must do everything to ensure that the Puerto Madryn native remains at the club.

Lautaro Martínez – Racing Club

Atlético Madrid may well live to regret quibbling over the price of Lautaro Martínez when in discussions with Racing Club about a year ago because as of now the $20-plus million that Inter have paid for the 20-year-old looks like a steal. No player out of the Argentinian top flight has perhaps been as exciting since Sergio Agüero departed Racing’s fierce rivals, Independiente for Atleti in 2006.

An absolute thoroughbred striker, Martínez is a natural goal scorer but with his quick burst of pace, terrific technical ability and deceptive strength on the ball, there is a far greater all-round game than merely what he is capable of in the penalty area. 13 goals in 20 Superliga appearances, five in five in the Copa Libertadores and already a full Argentina international, El Toro may not be part of the World Cup plans in the end but is set for a huge future.

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