Keeper of the Year: Victor
Valdes. Both Spain and La Liga are stocked with a bounty of
fabulous goalkeepers. My choice is
the extremely underrated Barçelona shot stopper. He is the Zamora of the league (The player who has allowed
the least amount of goals – 16).
Valdes had 80 saves this year, 44 clearances, 175 balls recovered and 75
Balls Lost. He, as well as many
keepers, is like a fine wine that gets better with age. At just a few years younger than Iker Casillas,
many believe that he should be Spain’s number one.
of the Year: Albert Botia and Jose
Angel from Sporting Gijón. I decided to veer away from the big two
and pay some homage to a modest team from Asturias who managed to play a solid
defense throughout the season with a very young backline. Botia is 22 and Angel is 21. Both youngsters have really shined and
are rumored to be heading to FC Barçelona next season. The future looks bright.
of the Year: Borja Valero. This
newcomer was the revelation of the season for me. Valero was the midfield extraordinaire for Villarreal, along
with Bruno, Cani, and Santi Cazorla.
I love watching him grow in front of our very eyes and reach his
potential. The maestro fit into
the Yellow Submarine midfield so easily, helped propel them to the semifinals
of the Europa League, and now is on the fringes of the National team.
of the Year: Cristiano Ronaldo. Tied with
Messi in total goals in all competitions (53). The icon earned a historical Spanish League record for the
most goals in a single season, beating Hugo Sanchez and the Athletic Bilbao
legend, Zarra (40). Ronaldo also
scored the only goal in extratime to win the Copa del Rey after 18 years. You gotta give it up the versatile,
ultra competitive Portuguese player.
of the Year: Levante UD’s Luis
Garcia. Levante is easily the smallest budget in La Liga — as
well as a notorious yo-yo team.
Newly promoted, they were in the relegation zone at Christmas. But young maverick coach and former lower
league player, Luis Garcia, pulled a rabbit out of his hat and was able to
motivate and push this team. They
had a brilliant second half of the season, which included an eight-game winning
streak. This young upstart is poised and ready for bigger and better things.
Player of the Year: Iker Muniain. Athletic
Bilbao, with their Basque only policy, continues to do the impossible: produce,
find and develop young gems. Iker
Muniain is one of those players.
Only 18, he was recently called up to the U21 squad to play in the
European Championships and Olympics qualification. He is a winger, creative midfielder, and striker all in
one. Muniain is a versatile
youngster, small, strong, with a footballing brain. He’s also the youngest player ever to play in the Spanish
first division. Muniain was
instrumental in Athletic Bilbao’s solid season and Europa league
qualification. He is certainly the
of the Year: Lionel Messi. The little master is well on his way to
his third Balon d’Or in a row. He
is simply the best.
For more articles on
Spanish Football or La Liga from Elisa, go to www.forzafutbol.com. You can hear
Elisa spread her love for La Liga, La Furia Roja and the beautiful game on the
Forza Futbol podcasts, as well as the LaLambrettaRadio bilingual podcasts at
www.lalambrettaradio.com. You can follow her on twitter:
eu_forzafutbol or find her on facebook @ www.facebook.commedelliae where she
loves to debate and discuss football 24-7.