The football season is over now, and as we look forward to a summer of Confederations’ Cup, U21 Euros Championship and Women’s football, here at The All Sport Report, we are going to look back at the season in Europe (as I don’t watch enough football that occurs outside of this continent) and dole out the awards in our usual fashion!
Young Player of the Season – Mario Gotze
Gotze has been absolutely phenomenal this season, leading Dortmund’s inevitable counter-attacks in every match, slotting passes worthy of Zidane through to his more pacy colleagues in Reus, Lewandowski and Kuba. He was already known to most football fans as a great talent but now he must be thought of as the best young talent in all of football. This award was given to the best player who started the season aged 21 or less.
Runners-up: Erik Lamela, Kevin De Bruyne, Daniel Carvajal, David Alaba and Koke.
Goal of the Season – Zlatan Ibrahimovic v England
Veteran Player of the Season – Francisco Totti
This award is for anyone who started the season aged 35 or over and for me, there was only ever one candidate for the prize. Totti has been in stunning form for Roma, and though Serie A is not what it once was, he will forever remain a legend in most Italian eyes.
Honorable Mentions: Ander Svensson, Javier Zanetti, Ryan Giggs and Mark Schwarzer
Game of the Season – Dortmund 3 – 2 Malaga
There were many games that could have been picked, but the last gasp drama of this European tie made this a must pick as Game of the Season. There were controversial decisions in the game, with Malaga being allowed a second goal which should have been called offside but then Dortmund being allowed a third goal which also should have been called offside. Reminiscent of the Nou Camp in 1999 or Manchester City at the end of last season’s Premier League.
Honorable Mentions: West Brom 5 – 5 Manchester United, Celtic 2 – 1 Barcelona
Moment of the Season – Sir Alex Ferguson announces retirement
Could there be another moment that would win? His legacy will be forever remembered, his time at the legendary club of Manchester United forever cherished. He is one of the greatest managers of all time and his retirement was a huge shock. Rumours in the newspaper the day before the announcement seemed to be shrugged aside as his United side was showing his magical touch was still alive and kicking. There will probably never be another manager like him, the turnaround in the industry just wouldn’t allow it. I cannot think of a figure in world football who was higher placed than the great man and I wish him all the best in retirement.
Honorable Mentions: Bayern finally winning the Champions’ League, Beckham’s retirement
Most Improved Player of the Season – Stefan Keissling
Keissling was almost unplayable at times as this season he layed claim for himself to be included in Germany’s 2014 World Cup squad. Not many players can claim to have had a better season than Leverkusan’s striker who was a big reason for their third placed finish. If he can replicate some of his form in the Champions’ League, you can bet he will be looking for a big transfer to one of Europe’s top clubs.
Honorable Mentions: Rafael, Sandro and Thibaut Courtois
Team of the Season (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech (Honorable Mention – Manuel Neuer)
Defenders – Phillip Lahm, Thiago Silva, Georgio Chiellini, David Alaba (Honorable Mentions – Sergio Ramos, Dante)
Deep Midfielders – Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andrea Pirlo (Honorable Mentions – Ikay Gundogan, Javi Martinez)
Attacking Midfielders – Cristiano Ronaldo, Thomas Muller, Frank Ribery (Honorable Mentions – Gareth Bale, Santi Cazorla, Mario Gotze)
Striker – Lionel Messi (Honorable Mentions – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robin van Persie)
Underperformer of the Season – Xavi Hernandez
Xavi is finally showing the signs of his age, and that’s great news for football clubs around the world, apart from Barca. His passing is obviously still accurate and fits into the Catalan side’s philosphical approach to the game. However, his defensive ability has dropped dramatically menaing that his overall play is just not as good. He is dropping deeper and deeper, sometimes he looks to be level with defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets instead of linking play between the aforementioned Busquets with the team’s array of attackers. This will be a controversial pick but I think it is finally time for Thiago or Fabregas to step into Xavi’s huge boots.
Honorable Mentions – Klass Jan Huntelaar and Ezequial Lavezzi
Manager of the Season – Jurgen Klopp
Sir Alex’s last season has ended in the Premier League title and Jupp Heynckes has finally got the group of Bayern players their deserved Champions’ League trophy but none have had to deal with Klopp’s relatively miniscule budget to produce one of the most exciting teams in all of football. His team are formidable, and as a culmination of all his hard work, reached the Champions’ League final, only to lose to a team he had in his back pocket for two years prior to Wembley. If he decides to take the Germany job after the World Cup, he will probably go on to experience great success, but if not then he will be the world’s most coveted manager.
Honorable Mentions – Sir Alex Ferguson and Jupp Heynckes
Player of the Season – Lionel Messi
I wanted to give this award to someone else, but it is impossible to ignore the diminutive Argentine’s genius. There isn’t a more dangerous man with the ball at his feet and with referee’s eagerness to protect him, defenders are going to have a tough time for the forseeable future. Ribery and Ronaldo closed the gap a little this year but he still stands, metaphorically, above all else before him.
Honorable Mentions – Cristiano Ronaldo, Frank Ribery, Thomas Muller
Club of the Season – Bayern Munchen
Bayern, for me, produced the best season of any side in the history of the game. Better than Barca’s season a few years ago, better than United of 1999 treble glory and better than Barca’s other season from a couple of years ago! They are the complete team; powerful, quick and technically-gifted they can play in any style and match any opponent. It showed when they only lost three games all season and won every trophy available. Will Pep be able to take Bayern to a new level? I seriously doubt it, there is only one direction from the very top and that is down.
Honorable Mentions – There are none