No Spanish candidates for the Ballon d’Or for the first time since 1993
In 1993, the Ballon d’Or award ceremony was a friendly match without any anthems, whilst in 2019 it was in a diamond-encrusted theatre with bow ties, providing the perfect combination of football and a show.
In both cases, there was one thing in common: the absence of any Spanish footballers.
Twenty-six years after the last case, there were no Spanish candidates for the award in 2019.
In 1993, Roberto Baggio won the award with his performances for Juventus, ahead of Dennis Bergkamp and Eric Cantona.
There were 30 candidates, none of whom were Spanish.
Spanish football was on a high after the national team won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, but it still wasn’t at the most elite of levels even if Javier Clemente’s team included the likes of Fernando Hierro, Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Kiko and Julen Guerrero.
In 2019, Spain’s days of having six Ballon d’Or candidates, as in 2013, are well and truly in the past.
Then, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Xabi Alonso, Xavi and Andres Iniesta were all among the contenders, though none were winners.
Since victory at Euro 2012, every tournament has been a disappointment, from disaster in Brazil in 2014 to failure in France for Euro 2016 to an even worse outing in Russia in 2018.
The only survivors of the golden generation are Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Jesus Navas, Santi Cazorla and Raul Albiol, none of whom have had a world-class season for their club or country.
The only Spanish player considered for any awards was Kepa, as a contender for the award for best goalkeeper.
None of the new youngsters on the scene, such as Dani Carvajal, David de Gea, Saul, Isco, Rodrigo Moreno or Alvaro Morata could replace the veterans who have now departed, whilst it is still early for the likes of Fabian Ruiz or Rodri.