F365’s end-of-season La Liga awards: Messi etc

Date published: Wednesday 23rd May 2018 8:18

Player of the season: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Who else could get the award but the little Argentinian genius? It was yet another outstanding season from Messi, whose 34 goals and 12 assists played a huge part in bringing the league title back to Catalonia. These stats look fairly normal by Messi’s standards, but that in itself is a testament to his enduring and exceptional brilliance.

 

Young player of the season: Maxi Gómez (Celta de Vigo)
Since arriving from Uruguay as a relative unknown last year, 21-year-old Gómez has left his mark on La Liga with 17 league goals in a memorable debut campaign. His form for Celta almost landed him a lucrative move to China in the winter, but he decided to stay on the higher stage in Spain. If he continues in this vein, he will surely land a move to one of Europe’s top clubs before long. He is one of the most prolific young goalscorers in Europe.

 

Old player of the season: Joaquín Sanchez (Real Betis)
One of Spanish football’s best-loved characters, the charismatic winger has thrived in Quique Setién’s new-look Betis side. At the ripe old age of 36, Joaquín still plays with the flair and effervescence of a man half his age, and his performances this season have helped take his beloved Betis back into the Europa League.

 

Manager of the season: Marcelino (Valencia)
Marcelino’s main objective when he was appointed before the start of the season was to bring stability back to Valencia after years of turbulence. The former Villarreal manager has gone well beyond expectations, though, dragging Valencia out of the doldrums and back into the Champions League, playing an entertaining brand of football along the way.

 

Worst manager of the season: Pako Ayestarán (Las Palmas)
From a very packed field, Rafa Benítez’s former right-hand man Pako Ayestarán takes this dubious honour for his nightmare nine-game spell in charge of Las Palmas, in which he won only once, and conceded 26 goals.

 

Signing of the season: Marc Bartra (Real Betis)
A January deadline-day signing from Borussia Dortmund, Bartra’s arrival brought solidity to a Betis side that had previously been leaking goals. His outstanding performances at the heart of defence laid the foundations for the Verdiblancos’ late-season charge into Europe. In the 21 games before Bartra joined, Betis had conceded 44 goals. They conceded just 17 in the 17 games following his arrival.

 

Worst signing of the season: Rúben Semedo (Villarreal)
The Yellow Submarine forked out €14m to sign Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer, but he has since been arrested almost as many times as he has appeared in the league. He was detained in November for brandishing a gun in a Valencia nightclub, and is currently in preventive detention after being charged with attempted murder, kidnap and burglary in February.

 

Partnership of the season: Iago Aspas and Maxi Gómez (Celta de Vigo)
Celta’s front two combined to supply 39 goals for their side this season – 22 for Aspas and 17 for Gómez. Their excellence in front of goal was let down by their leaky defence, and Celta finished in 13th place, despite scoring more than second-place Atlético Madrid.

 

Goalkeeper of the season: Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid)
21 clean sheets in 37 appearances, just 22 goals conceded all season, and a third straight Zamora award for the best goalkeeper in the league.

 

Defender of the season: Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
Alba contributed two goals and eight assists to his side’s title-winning cause, and formed a key part of the second meanest defence in the league.

 

Midfielder of the season: Casemiro (Real Madrid)
Another superb season for the combative Brazilian, who is all at once a great winner of the ball, passer of the ball and striker of the ball.

 

Forward of the season: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
What more can be said that hasn’t been said already?

 

Overachievers of the season: Girona
Credit must go to Eibar, who continue to punch well above their weight after securing another top-half finish, but this season’s award must go to Girona. The tiny Catalan club confounded expectations in their first ever top-flight season, finishing tenth and recording a famous victory over Real Madrid along the way.

 

Region of the season: Valencian Community
Valencia bounced back from a series of disappointing seasons to finish fourth and return to the Champions League, fifth-placed Villarreal landed their fifth consecutive top-six finish, and Levante embarked on a remarkable run to avoid relegation, ultimately finishing 17 points clear of danger.

 

Quote of the season: Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona)
“If I had imagined finishing my career here, it would have been like this, feeling useful, feeling important and still winning titles” – La Liga legend Iniesta announcing his departure from Barcelona at the end of the season.

 

Game of the season: Levante 5-4 Barcelona
A truly incredible game. Red-hot favourites Barcelona were within two games of completing an unbeaten season, but unfancied Levante stormed to a 5-1 lead after 56 minutes. Barça managed to get back to 5-4 by the 70th minute, but Levante held out for the remaining 20 minutes to deny the visitors their dream of achieving ‘invincible’ status.

Goal of the season: Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia)

 

Dirtiest player of the season: Dani Parejo (Valencia)
15 bookings and a sending-off means this award ends up in the hands of Valencia’s influential captain.

 

Creators of the season: Luis Suárez (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Pablo Fornals (Villarreal)
All three laid on 12 goals for their team-mates this season.

 

Own goal of the season: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid)
Normally a fantastic keeper, but prone to the odd howler. Best seen in close-up slow-motion at the end of the clip.

 

Heartless move of the season: Sevilla
15th December – Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo returns to work following surgery to treat prostate cancer

22nd December – Eduardo Berizzo sacked as Sevilla manager.

 

One-man team of the season: Espanyol
44.4% of the Catalan side’s goals were scored by the excellent Gerard Moreno.

 

Accuracy of the season: Iago Herrerín (Athletic Club)
Athletic goalkeeper Herrerín manages to pick out the Spidercam with a long punt upfield.

 

Most accident-prone manager: Marcelino (Valencia)
Marcelino caused mirth on the touchline back in September as he pulled a hamstring celebrating his side’s late winner against Real Sociedad, and later in the season paid a brief visit to hospital after hitting a wild boar in his car on the way back to his native Asturias for Christmas. Marcelino himself said “as long as it’s only me getting injured, it’s not a problem if it’s just the coach”.

 

Entertainers of the season: Real Betis
Quique Setién’s attack-above-all-else policy has led to several memorable goalfests involving his Betis side this season, including a 6-3 defeat, a 5-3 win, a 5-3 defeat, and a 4-4 draw.

 

Team of the season:  (4-3-3) Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid); Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Real Betis), Jordi Alba (Barcelona); Casemiro (Real Madrid), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Valencia), Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético Madrid); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta de Vigo)

 

Dan Bridges


More Related Articles