Ballon d'Or, LaLiga and Messi

LaLiga held their anual award ceremony in Valencia last night, this was preceded by the good news that thirteen of the thirty football players selected for the Ballon d'Or award play in the Spanish league. The English Premier League, which so often acts as a reference point for LaLiga has eight nominees with the Bundesliga and Serie A having four a piece. This is just a general yardstick and despite the fact that we voice our concerns on many issues facing the game here, the truth is that we have an exceptional league right on our doorstep.

GALA PREMIOS LALIGA

The shortlist of thirty players complied by France Football and based on a voting system by key media outlets (it is an honour to be the Spanish representative in this process) in Europe has a few major absentees. One is French player Karim Benzema, who missed out in playing at Euro 2016 for reasons we are well aware of. The other is Gerard Piqué, an exceptional defender who unfortunately has spent too much of his career embroiled in controversy stoking the flames of the already tense Barça-Madrid rivalry.

Benzemá

It was interesting to see that at the LaLiga gala in Valencia no Barça player was present despite the Catalan club being current league champions and with star strikers Luis Suárez and Leo Messi both winning awards. Atletico's Antoine Griezmann was also missing and the French striker was awarded both the supporters award and the prize for best player of the season, both significant awards. A setback for LaLiga who do their best to produce a glamorous ceremony but fail to secure the attendance of the leagues major stars.

Lionel MessiLionel Messi