Following a really emotive final for Apertura 2021 where Atlas became Champion of Liga MX after 22 years of not been able to reach a final and more than 70 years of dreaming with than moment, it’s time to do a quick recap of the best players of the season.
Before turning the page for good and welcoming Clausura 2022 and all the emotions and passion that it'll bring, Liga MX’s editorial team published the ideal lineup for Apertura 2021, with the players that stood up the most throughout the regular season.
His outstanding performances during the season helped Atlas achieve the most valuable prize: becoming Champions of Liga MX. But not only is he the best Goalkeeper from last semester, he was also named MVP of Clausura 2021.
The 32-year-old managed to keep 12 clean sheets, had 47 saves and received only 10 goals during the 17 rounds of the tournament. He also was accredited with a yellow card.
Right-back: Diego Barbosa
As Atlas starting right-back, he played all 17 matches as he rightfully earned his spot on the roster. Barbosa managed to score on two occasions as well as assisting on two other times. He also was able to recover 101 balls and won 21 defensive 1vs1.
Center-back: Anderson Santamaría
The Peruvian defender and third Atlas player on the list, has been a constant half-back since he first joined Atlas on 2019. This season he managed to score a goal and help in the creation of 5 more. He also recovered 14 balls and had 16 successful defensive 1vs1.
Center-back: William Tesillo
One of the best players on León squad, Tesillo is rightfully confirmed as one of the best defenses playing in Liga MX. Over 17 matches he managed to score 2 times and assist 1 time. The panzaverde helped recover 149 balls and won 31 defensive 1vs1.
Left-back: Salvador Reyes
It didn’t matter if this was his first season playing with the azulcrema colors, Salvador Reyes was fully compromised with América and it shows. Arrived from Puebla, the 23-year-old left-back started the season on the bench but quickly earned a spot on Solari's starting lineup.
Chava Reyes was a big contributor to Las Águilas attack, as he scored 3 goals and managed to assist 4 times.
Right-wing: Ángel Mena
33-year-old Ángel Mena was outstanding, especially during playoffs. He started on 15 out of 17 games, as he managed to score 4 goals and assist 3 times, which translates as a 35% of participation in the total goals that León scored in the season.
Defensive Midfielder: Erik Lira
The only player out of Pumas on the list. Raised in La Cantera he was destined to be part of Pumas senior team and with only 21 years he managed to achieve it. He played only 68% of the time but by the end of the regular season he played a key role to help Pumas slide into the playoffs.
Central Midfielder: Aldo Rocha
The captain of the current Champion joined Atlas at the beginning of the year, but he quickly adapted as he played 100% of the minutes during regular phase. Rocha scored on one occasion and assisted another time, but his contributions recovering the ball and creating opportunities is what made him part of the ideal lineup.
Attacking Midfielder: Diego Valdés
Probably the best player Santos had in Apertura 21, the Chilean midfielder helped his team become the fifth best team during regular season with 24 points. Valdés scored 3 goals and assisted on 5 occasions, while playing in 14 games out of 17.
Forward: Julio Furch
Coming into his third tournament with Atlas, Furch was immovable in Diego Cocca’s lineup. He played 16 games as a starter and one as a substitute, but that didn’t stop him from scoring 6 times. He also assisted on 3 occasions, which translates in a 43% participation of the goals Atlas scored.
Forward: Nicolás López
Closing the list is Nicolás López. With 9 goals on 17 games, he was the top scorer of Liga MX alongside Germán Bertrerame. The impressive thing about his numbers is that he managed to score the same amount in just 13 games. “El Diente” also assisted on 1 occasion.
Coach: Diego Cocca
He earned this distinction not only for coaching the Champion team, but for helping Atlas break a 70-year-old curse. He didn’t have the most expensive squad on Liga MX, but he didn’t need to, he had the right players to become a team that will be remembered forever.