Just three points separate the top six in La Liga after nine games played, which is quite remarkable when you consider that there is already double that gap between the top two in England, while Italy's top six spans nine points.

The likes of Real Sociedad, Sevilla and more look like genuine contenders to trouble the established 'big three' of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid this season amid all the upheaval.

It makes for hugely entertaining football, but how much do you know about the best of the rest in Spain? 

Here's an XI of the best players in La Liga not playing for Atleti, Barça or Madrid...

Goalkeeper: Jasper Cillessen (Valencia)

Jasper Cillessen

Three years as ​Barcelona's Copa del Rey goalkeeper (winning two) largely hid the fact that Jasper Cillessen is actually a very good stopper in his own right and far too good to be spending the majority of his time testing the structural integrity of dugout chairs across Spain.

Now at Valencia, the Netherlands number one - who won league titles with Ajax - is an undisputed first choice again, keeping two clean sheets so far in 2019/20. He is also second in La Liga for saves made inside the penalty areas this season (17).

Right Back: Jesus Navas (Sevilla)

Jesus Navas

Now 33, former ​Man City star and 2010 World Cup winner Jesus Navas is still going strong albeit in a deeper position.

An almost unrecognisable presence to the one whose end product was so lacking in the Premier League, Navas - now a veteran and elder statesman of his boyhood team - is one of Julen Lopetegui's creative outlets, with his relentless dynamism and crossing.

After Sevilla's 1-0 over Levante, in which the club put in a record 49 crosses, ​MARCA called for the assist maker Navas to be cloned.

Left Back: Jose Gaya (Valencia)

Jose Gaya

With Getafe's Marc Cucurella and Sevilla's Sergio Reguilon technically still Barcelona and Real Madrid employees, Jose Gaya is the obvious choice for left back.

Now 24, Gaya has over 150 La Liga appearances to his name for Valencia and has shone both domestically and in Europe - most notably in the Champions League against Manchester United last season.

The homegrown left back also assisted Valencia's opening goal for the Copa del Rey win over Barcelona earlier this year and has a release clause of €100m.

Centre Back: Djene Dakonam (Getafe)

Dakonam Djene,Luis Suarez

Included in La Liga's Team of the Season 2018/19, Djene Dakonam was a key member of Pepe Bordalas' Getafe side that shocked Spain to come with a whisker of qualification for the Champions League.

The 27-year-old Togo international is only 5ft 10in but still maintains a dominating presence at the back, making the most interceptions of any La Liga player last season, while also ranking highly for tackles and clearances, as Getafe conceded just 35 goals - fewer than Barcelona (36) and Real Madrid (46).

Centre Back: Inigo Martinez (Athletic Club)

Inigo Martinez

Poached from rivals Real Sociedad after Aymeric Laporte's move to Manchester City in 2018, Iñigo Martinez moved across the Basque Country as Athletic Club activated his €32m buyout clause.

His time in Bilbao has not been without fault - he famously conceded a penalty in the home defeat to La Real last season and scored an own goal to cost Athletic two points to Valladolid in October - but he is, at his best, a fine defender, with over 250 top-flight appearances.

This season, the Spain international has been a regular in Gaizka Garitano's backline that has conceded a joint league-low of just five goals.

Centre Midfield: Dani Parejo (Valencia)

Dani Parejo

Quite possibly the best player in ​La Liga playing outside of the 'big three', Dani Parejo is unrecognisable to UK fans who may (or may not) remember him from a brief cameo in the Championship with Queens Park Rangers over a decade ago.

Since then, Parejo has grown into one of La Liga's finest playmakers, earning a spot in the La Liga Team of the Season in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

The 30-year-old, who scored an almost ridiculously beautiful free kick in Valencia's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in October, has five goals in eight games this season, while he scored nine and bagged seven assists last year.

Centre Midfield: Marc Roca (Espanyol) 

Marc Roca

It has been a dismal start to the 2019/20 season for Espanyol, who sit 19th in the table with one win in nine. One player who is highly unlikely to stick around if Barcelona's second club do find themselves in the Segunda Division next year is Marc Roca.

The 22-year-old midfield lynchpin appeared to be on the verge of a big-money move to Bayern Munich this summer, before the plug was pulled.

An Under-21 Euros winner this summer (he also scored in the semi-final rout of France), Roca has drawn comparisons with Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets for his ability to read the game from deep. 

Centre Midfield: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal)

Santi Cazorla

Santi Cazorla's Lazarus-like return to first-team football has been one of the great feel-good stories of Spanish football in recent years.

After years of injury problems that left his foot looking like the creation of Victor Frankenstein, Cazorla is back at Villarreal and doing what he does best: playing beautiful football.

A key reason why the Yellow Submarine didn't go down to the second tier last season, Cazorla racked up 10 assists and four goals in 2018/19 as he dictated play from the centre of the park.

In 2019/20 and at the age of 34, the little magician, who so wooed Arsenal fans, already has four goals in a much-improved Villarreal side and has re-earned his place in the Spain national team.

Right Wing: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo)

Iago Aspas

Speaking of club heroes, it's impossible not to mention Iago Aspas, for whom the phrase one-man team seems woefully inadequate. 

The top-scoring Spaniard in La Liga for the last three seasons, Aspas has often dragged Celta kicking and screaming to results and even survival.

Last season, the 32-year-old former Liverpool flop's 20 goals (despite an absence of three months through injury) unquestionably kept them up. He wept after scoring twice in the 3-2 win over Villarreal at the end of March as Celta battled to stave off relegation.

Left Wing: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)

Aissa Mandi,Mikel Oyarzabal

​Recently linked with Manchester City as a long-term replacement for Leroy Sane, Mikel Oyarzabal has a very bright future ahead of him.

The 22-year-old Basque native already has six senior caps for Spain and is another of the Under-21 Euros winners from this summer.  

Normally playing off the left, Oyarzabal is a key player in La Real's attack as they hunt down a top-four finish this season. He has netted double figures in each of his last two La Liga seasons.

Striker: Maxi Gomez (Valencia)

Maxi Gomez

After famously choosing Valencia over West Ham this summer, Maxi Gomez is continuing to shine after a change of environment in La Liga.

​The 23-year-old Uruguayan is a powerful striker who could be an ever-present at the business end of La Liga's scoring charts for years to come.

After scoring 31 goals in 71 games for Celta, the forward has four in seven for Los Che in 2019/20.

Substitutes bench: Sergio Asenjo, Yeray Alvarez, Ruben Peña, Ever Banega, Joan Jordan, Lucas Ocampos, Nabil Fekir, Iñaki Williams, Gerard Moreno

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