Spain riled as Barca pair lose out on Ballon d’Or
Madrid : Spain’s media on Tuesday expressed frustration after Barcelona pair Xavi and Andres Iniesta lost out to Lionel Messi for the Ballon D’Or accolade while Spain coach Vicente del Bosque was pipped by Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho as best coach.
“Gold for Messi and disappointment for Spain. Messi and Mou leave the ‘Roja’ heroes without the Ballon d’or,” said one sports daily.
Marca sports daily also took up the theme as it opined: “FIFA scorns the world champions and leaves Xavi and Iniesta and del Bosque without a prize. Without a doubt Spanish football is the big loser of this edition” of the Ballon d’or annual accolade.
With Mourinho winning the coaches title Real, despite being generally overshadowed recently by Barcelona, Real managed to cock a snook at their Catalan rivals and striker Cristiano Ronaldo was jubilant after accompanying his manager to the Zurich ceremony.
“I knew Mourinho was going to win - anything else would have been an injustice. He won three important titles, nobody else could have won the FIFA prize. Mourinho has won so many titles in the past five or six years. I have learned a lot the short time I have been with him,” said the former Manchester United striker.
Ronaldo added he fully expected to see Mourinho lead Real to the heights to which he had taken first Porto, then Chelsea and then Inter Milan before arriving at the Bernabeu on the back of an unprecedented Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup treble.
Mourinho meanwhile said he disagreed with the choice of Messi.
“Messi, Xavi and Iniestia are out of this world. But I would have preferred someone else to win - (Inter’s Wesley) Sneijder or (Diego) Milito for the year they turned in at Inter. But the votes are cast and you can’t change them.”
He added he hoped soon to see his own players knocking Messi off his pedestal.
“One day a goalkeeper has to win and I hope it is (Iker) Casillas as he is the best. Cristiano Ronaldo should win four or five Ballons d’Or and Casillas should get his own too.”
In an interview, Mourinho added that he would have preferred to be introduced at the FIFA gala as coach of Real and Inter as his achievements of the season came prior to his summer switch to Spain.
And he eulogised his Inter squad.
“We were a family - and we still are a family. I would really love to enter the San Siro on Sunday with this prize and celebrate together with my players and the Inter fans. I can’t do that - but I would like to.”
Messi, winning for the second straight year, had been expected to lose out to either one of Spanish World Cup stars Iniesta or Xavi after the Argentine endured a modest World Cup where he failed to score.
Messi won with 22.65percent of the votes cast, with Iniesta on 17.36percent and Xavi third with 16.48percent.
Set up in 1956 by France Football magazine the Ballon d’Or merged with FIFA’s world player of the year award for the first time.
The voting committee, up to now made up of only journalists, now includes all the managers and captains of the 208 national sides affiliated to FIFA.