F365’s End-of-season La Liga awards: Messi again…

Date published: Wednesday 22nd May 2019 8:55

Player of the season: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
There’s nobody else that has even run him close. Top of the charts for both goals (36) and assists (13) once again, the little Argentine continues to defy logic and reason with his ludicrously high standards.


Young player of the season: Pedro Porro (Girona)
His team may have been relegated, but 19-year-old Porro has been outstanding in the right wing-back position for Girona this season, playing with a maturity that belies his years. As his talents have reportedly attracted the attention of Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Manchester City, it seems unlikely that he will stay with his side in the Segunda next season.


Old player of the season: Jorge Molina (Getafe)
At 37, the evergreen Getafe striker scored 14 goals this season, linking up brilliantly with Jaime Mata to help his side to the brink of Champions League qualification.


Manager of the season: José Bordalás (Getafe)
The dapper Bordalás has worked wonders with his inexpensively assembled Getafe side, leading them to within a hair’s breadth of the top four. Despite just missing out on Champions League qualification, a fifth-place finish is still a huge achievement for a club of this size, and Bordalás deserves a great deal of credit for guiding his side to the upper reaches of the table.


Worst manager of the season: Luis García (Villarreal)
There were a number of candidates for this dubious honour this season, including Eduardo Berizzo for his dismal spell in charge of Athletic Club and Miguel Cardoso for his contribution to Celta de Vigo’s relegation scrap. But Luis García (not that one) of Villarreal has to take the crown. Given the reins after the sacking of Javi Calleja in December, García’s spell was so bad that the Villarreal board realised their mistake after nine games, gave him the boot and re-appointed Calleja.


Beef of the season: Gerard Piqué and RCD Espanyol
After putting up with several years of personal insults from the Espanyol faithful, Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué is rarely reticent to fire shots back at his club’s city rivals. He reignited the feud earlier this season by joking that he personally had “more money than Espanyol’s budget this year”. While this infuriated Espanyol’s fans, the club chose to take the high ground with their response to his classless comment, saying “our values cannot be measured in euros”.


Signing of the season: Borja Iglesias (Espanyol)
There are big shouts here for Atlético’s £18m signing of Rodri, and Villarreal taking a chance on Santi Cazorla on a free. But in terms of contribution to his team’s season, Borja Iglesias of Espanyol takes the prize. Signed from Segunda División side Real Zaragoza for just £9m, there were doubts over whether he would succeed in the top division. He answered those doubts by netting 17 times in his debut La Liga season, helping his side into the Europa League places along the way.


Worst signing of the season: Mariano Díaz (Real Madrid)
From another very competitive field, I have picked Mariano for this award not so much for how bad he has been, but for what he represents. He has missed a fair chunk of the season through injury, but a return of just three goals for a man who was expected to make up the shortfall after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure is pretty poor to say the least. He was the cheap, lazy option in the summer, and his struggles are emblematic of the wider issues at Real Madrid.

Special mentions must go to Nikola Kalinić (Atlético), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Michy Batshuayi (Valencia) and Jesé Rodríguez (Real Betis).


Weirdest signing: Kevin-Prince Boateng (Barcelona)
Still can’t quite believe that happened to be honest.


Partnership of the season: Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
The Barcelona forwards contributed a whopping 57 goals and 19 assists to their side’s total this season. Between the pair of them, they scored more goals than every team in the league bar Real Madrid, Sevilla and Levante.


One-man team of the season: Cristhian Stuani (Girona)
The Uruguayan striker scored 19 of his team’s 37 league goals this season. If only some of his team-mates had chipped in, maybe Girona would have stayed up.


Goalkeeper of the season: Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid)
The Slovenian wall has picked up his fourth consecutive Zamora award after keeping 20 clean sheets and contributing to his side once again having the meanest defence in the league.


Defender of the season: Gerard Piqué (Barcelona)
After a fairly shaky start to the season, Piqué grew into a colossus in the heart of the Barcelona defence, and his performances were crucial to his side’s successful title defence.


Midfielder of the season: Dani Parejo (Valencia)
The erstwhile QPR midfielder has been a relentless presence in the engine room at Valencia this season, and his assured, tireless performances have been instrumental in ensuring Champions League qualification for Los Che.


Forward of the season: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Unlike any player you’ve ever seen before, or will again.


Recovery of the season: Valencia
After 18 games of the season, reports emerged that Valencia manager Marcelino was on the brink of being sacked as his side languished in 12th place on just 22 points. Marcelino was spared, and it turned out to be the right call. In the subsequent 20 games, Valencia picked up 39 points and stormed into fourth place, ensuring a second consecutive season of Champions League football.


Fans of the season: Alavés
In a rare triumph for everyday fans against the powers that be, regular matchday demonstrations by the Alavés fans against TV’s control over football in Spain eventually paid off. In the wake of their protests, RFEF president Luis Rubiales declared an end to Monday night football, and will consider cancelling Friday night football as well.


Game of the season: Villarreal 4-4 Barcelona
An instant classic. The lead and the momentum changed so often in this chaotic, end-to-end game. 2-0 down after 16 minutes and seemingly heading for a pasting, Villarreal somehow got turned the game around and entered stoppage time 4-2 up. Just when they thought they had done enough to gain a massive three points in their relegation battle, the brilliance of Messi and Suárez denied them at the last, and the dramatic, breathless game finished 4-4.


Goal of the season: José Luis Morales (Levante)
Picking up the ball deep in his own half, ‘El Comandante’ Morales beats four men before poking the ball past Betis keeper Pau López.


Own goal of the season: Joaquín Fernández (Real Valladolid)
Joaquín Fernández’s beautiful glancing header at the near post to gift Atlético the three points against Real Valladolid.


Dirtiest player of the season: Éver Banega (Sevilla)
15 yellow cards and two sendings-off is pretty impressive work from Sevilla’s midfield general.


Shock of the season:
Did anyone foretell the second coming of Zizou?


Team of the season:
(4-3-3) Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid); Jesús Navas (Sevilla), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Djené (Getafe), Jordi Alba (Barcelona); Rodri (Atlético Madrid), Dani Parejo (Valencia), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luis Suárez (Barcelona), Iago Aspas (Celta de Vigo)


Dan Bridges

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