LaLiga, Messi and so much more

Last night our AS team was surrounded by some great sporting characters. Not only award winners and athletes, there were also managers, organisers, sponsors, and the likes. It was our annual gala, our secular Christmas Eve, our nod of recognition, through a few, towards everything we owe to Spanish sport, which never ceases to provide happy news for our pages. Against the somewhat negative, and true, adage of the general media, where it feels as though only bad news makes the headlines, in sport it is the other way around: it's positive stories that make the news. They are the ones that occupy the front covers. The bad ones go inside, further back.

Our sporting gifts

A privilege of being a sports journalist is being able to deal with the type of people that we rubbed shoulders with yesterday and those that we have met throughout the year. People who endure, quietly. People who train in remote areas, far from the spotlight, those living with fatigue and pain, waiting for an Olympic moment, or for a world championship, in which under the greatest pressure they put everything on the line. There were many of those there last night: Ona Carbonell, Javier Fernández, Nuria Marqués, Alba Vázquez, Toni Bou... As well there were also those that triumph on our television screens. Spanish basketball, which continues gathering up medals; tennis, with its latest impressive success in Piqué's Davis Cup.

AS' Vicente Jimenez shown on the big screen handing Messi his award.

AS' Vicente Jimenez shown on the big screen handing Messi his award.

Awards and tributes

And, of course, LaLiga and its 90 year anniversary. LaLiga; Messi and his six Ballons d'Or; Joaquín and his 532 games; Amancio and Butragueño representing Real Madrid's 33 league titles; Luis Aragonés and his 40 years in the game. Then we had the heroes of our digital editions: the high jump world champion, Barshim, and world record holder, Sotomayor; Tour de France winner, Bernal; and the recently retired Diego Forlán. I was, however, especially touched by the fair play award given to Pato, the coach of futsal's Ribera Navarra, and also the tribute paid to Blanca Fernández Ochoa, who we saw here over the years, but whose smile was forever frozen in her beloved mountain range.