x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Lionel Messi's Ballon d'Or angers Spanish press

The Spanish media lashed out at Sepp Blatter after Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or ahead of Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, who played for Spain when the country won the World Cup.

The award of the Ballon d'Or to Lionel Messi was met with anger by the Spanish press.
The award of the Ballon d'Or to Lionel Messi was met with anger by the Spanish press.

The Spanish media yesterday lashed out at Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, after Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or ahead of Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, who played for Spain when the country won the World Cup.

Spanish daily AS said "Spain is very angry," and Marca had "Two Giants and one Anti-Spaniard" splashed across its front page in reference to Messi, Jose Mourinho, who was named coach of the year, and Blatter. The ABC newspaper wrote: "Fifa scorns the world champions."

Messi won the Fifa award for a second consecutive year on Monday, the Argentina forward's standout performances for Barcelona outweighing a disappointing World Cup, where Iniesta and Xavi helped lead the European champions to their first world championship.

Iniesta scored the winning goal in July's 1-0 extra-time win against Holland at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, while Xavi has been labelled the brains behind the team as he orchestrated much of the play.

Despite six Spanish players being included in Fifa's 2010 world XI, Marca said "without a doubt the biggest loser on this night was Spanish football."

"[Blatter] had the chance to once again show his ill-will toward everything Spanish,"

Marca wrote: "Only a few days ago he left us without the chance to organise the World Cup by instead opting for Russia and yesterday he left us without a prize that Spanish football deserved."

Russia beat bids from Spain-Portugal, Belgium-Holland and England for the right to host the 2018 finals in a vote last month.

Marta of Brazil won the women's Ballon d'Or.