Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
The deft chip on the run with which Fernando Torres beat Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to seal Spain’s 1-0 victory in the final of Euro 2008 gave the success-starved Iberian nation their first major trophy in 44 years.
The best was yet to come of course, Andres Iniesta’s dramatic stoppage-time winner in Johannesburg last year securing a first World Cup triumph.
Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria Villar commissioned an artist to capture those two landmark goals and three others and the five paintings were presented at a gala ceremony on Thursday at the RFEF’s training facility outside Madrid, with Torres, Iniesta and their team mates present.
It’s strange that when 2009 winner Lionel Messi was awarded the combined FIFA Ballon d’Or award on Monday there was shock in the Zurich auditorium and around the globe.
He is clearly the best player in the world but most fans and pundits had expected one of Barcelona team mates and Spain World Cup winners Andres Iniesta or Xavi to take the prize.
England performed well below expectation at the World Cup in South Africa and judging by the FIFA Ballon d’Or list announced on Tuesday the stock of the Premier League is not at its highest either.
Just three players from the league that likes to call itself the best in the world are on the list and it would be a huge surprise if any of them made it into the top three:
The first week of May 2009 was a rather good one for Barcelona fans and it seems like many of them celebrated in the time honoured fashion.
An historic 6-2 humiliation of arch rivals Real Madrid at their Bernabeu home on May 2 that effectively wrapped up the La Liga title was followed on May 6 by Andres Iniesta’s brilliant, last-gasp goal at Stamford Bridge that took Pep Guardiola’s side through to the Champions League final at the expense of Chelsea.
This week we had the nominations for FIFA world player of the year, discovered the winner of the FIFPro world player of the year and mulled the contenders for the Ballon d’Or.
Exactly how many gongs do we need? In the recent past the situation was a bit clearer.
The shortlist for the Ballon d’Or got shorter this year, but there was still room for seven members of the Spain squad that restored a bit of faith in football at Euro 2008.
A lot of news reports focused on the big-named absentees, including Thierry Henry, Fabio Cannavaro and Ronaldinho, but I don’t suppose too many people would argue for their inclusion after disappointing seasons.