A sideways look at Spanish football
At around eight o’clock on Monday evening Swiss time, there was only one place to be if you were anybody in the world of football: Zurich.
Unfortunately, considering La Liga Loca is a complete nobody in the world of football, while the Ballon d’Or award was being handed out in the warmth of a convention centre, the blog was doing its local duties by sitting in freezing stands beside a chimney belching out toxic fumes, as a brilliant Rayo Vallecano beat a truly awful Getafe. “The worst game in the year-and-a-half I’ve been here,” was the verdict of unimpressed Getafe boss Luis García.
Nevertheless, LLL did manage to catch all the shocks and surprises before the main gong was handed out – Leo Messi’s magnificent suit, Sergio Ramos’s latest squeeze, Gerard Piqué in the team of the year and the questionably selected unflattering photograph of José Mourinho.
At the time of the award ceremony, the Real Madrid manager was busy watching his son train for his local team – a story which made the front cover of AS in a whopping dig at Mourinho, who had claimed he would be absent because he was preparing for Wednesday’s clash with Celta Vigo.
Although LLL thinks that the whole concept of handing out individual prizes for a team event is a bit wonky, the blog would have given the Ballon d’Or to Iker Casillas on the grounds that it has a soft spot for goalkeepers, the footballer captained his club and country to fantastic years and he really, really gets on his manager’s wick, which has to be a plus point that even Barcelona fans would buy into.
Instead, Messi made sure his polka-dot outfit got a good airing with his fourth prize in a row and the general agreement in the Spanish press that the Argentinian was a deserved recipient. “Four and all those to come,” wrote AS editor Alfredo Relaño. “There hasn’t been anyone the same.” “Golden Messi!” says the front cover of Mundo Deportivo, with Sport reminding everyone that Messi is now “the best in history.”
"No, Cristiano probably couldn't pull this look off..."
Marca is chuffed about the awards' dominance by the homeland, with the front cover blasting “Spain” – in English, after a Spanish coach, Barcelona player picked up the big metaphorical gongs, and 11 la Liga footballers made the World XI team. On the one hand, it could be argued that Real Madrid and Barcelona, who contributed ten of the side, do not represent the absolute basket case of a mess that the rest of the league is in. Then again, there’s not a single footballer from the fancy-pants Premier League in sight. Indeed, there was only one England-based player in the Ballon d’Or top ten - Robin Van Persie.
It was lovely to see Vicente Del Bosque picking up another award and being a little bit cheeky in his speech, which took a small dig (although one he has since played down) at a notable absentee from the ceremony. “Everyone who is here wants to win, but we are also obliged to defend football and take care of it by offering our best personal conduct,” noted the Spain boss.
Although Marca are rather curiously already offering up a poll on who will win the next Ballon d’Or, which is just around the corner in twelve month’s time, Spain is now focussing on the Copa del Rey, with the second leg of the last 16 ties taking place this week.
Osasuna are set for a miserable night in Mestalla, with the Pamplona club 2-0 down to Valencia, although it’s the home side coach, Ernesto Valverde who doesn’t seem to be looking forward to the affair. “These games are the worst," he lamented. "We have little to win and a lot to lose.”
Meanwhile, Málaga are involved in a fun evening against third tier Eibar, although should go through after a 1-1 draw in the Basque Country just before Christmas.
Latest Spanish Football News
Pellegrini to leave Malaga in summer
Espanyol seek help from pigeons for city derby
Adriano versatility helps secure Barca contract
Mourinho, Ronaldo get bans for cup final reds
Malaga have European ban lifted by UEFA
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010