Well, I’m about two aspirins and a good night’s sleep away from a full recovery of my holiday hangover. But even though the cabalgata’s on the march, the cava’s gone flat and juicy bunches of uvas have shriveled to a few sad, seedless raisins, there’s no need for the party to end because it’s the
Fiesta de San Sebastián! … ahem, Awards Season. So let’s roll out the barrell! red carpet (do you people ever sleep?) and hand out some txotxkes, BFB-style.
Spanish children eagerly anticipate a holiday visit from the Three Kings (los Reyes Magos), who travel all the way to Iberia from the Orient by way of camel — which may be why everyone has to wait until January 6 to play with their Christmas presents. This year, the nominees for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltásar are …
1. Andrés Iniesta. Messi was the well-deserved winner and Xavi the thinking man’s candidate, or so most Spaniards think. But the sentimental favorite for the 2010 Ballon d’Or remains our own Miniesta. The World Cup’s Iniestazo, a heartfelt tribute to Dani Jarque and an all-around adorableness have endeared the little Man from La Mancha to Spaniards everywhere. As Víctor tweets, Andrés is like our little brother. A little brother who wins big shiny things. And wasn’t that commercial so cute? So take out that diamond stud and sleeve up those tattoos. If you wanna win a Spanish heart come Valentine’s Day, slather on some sunscreen and practice talking through your nose, because this year it’s All About Andrés.
2. Sara Carbonero. Did Captain Iker flub at the goal line because he was too distracted by the pretty lady-reporter on the sidelines? Maybe, but when he laid that smoocheroo on his girlfriend in the World Cup final’s post-game interview, Sara went from simply ogle-able to Google-able. She has appeared on Telecinco’s popular daytime show ‘El Programa de Ana Rosa’, where she dished on Cronaldo, and co-hosted their New Year’s Eve countdown, where she stood there being thin. Now she’s complaining that she didn’t get ahead in her profession earlier because she was ‘too pretty’.
3. Mozah Bint Nasser. I didn’t know who she was six weeks ago either, but Qatar’s queenly Bint Nasser has emerged as one of the world’s First Ladies. She holds honorary degrees from Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon and Texas A&M, is an UNESCO evnoy and an inductee to France’s Académie de Beaux Arts. This year her Qatar Foundation (she serves as chairwoman) launched a p.r. campaign that ended with a sidra tree smack-pecs-dab on Barcelona’s jersey and her country won its bid for the 2022 World Cup. The last time I saw her, she was gamely clapping along to the “Radestsky March” at the Vienna Philharmonic 2011 New Year Concert (@ min. 1). Move over, Victoria, the new soccer chic is Sheika Bint Nasser.
They’re cute, they’re Catalan, they’re Christmassy. Everything a globe-trotting tourist should love in Barcelona bric-a-brac. The problem is what they’re doing. I don’t care if they are supposed to ‘fertilize’ the garden of your life, is your mother-in-law going to place that thing next to her Waterford candy dish on the etagère? These awards go to those whose year was kind of really great … and then not so much.
1. Iker Casillas. He’s a Golden Glove winner, captain of the world’s winningest football team, and dating a teleprompter prom queen. So what’s got Iker so down in the mouth? On the field, at Real Madrid’s Christmas lunch, even during team promotional spots … Iker looks your older brother when you and your buddies told fart jokes to his girlfriend. Could it be, as the Hunky Soccer Husband suspects, that Iker believes that Fifi sold Real Madrid’s soul for a few pieces of silver-plated trophy? In any case, it’s clear that Iker is out of sorts with Mou & his Band of Merry Morons.
2. José Mourinho. You won a treble at Inter! You won FIFA’s Coach of the Year! You are the highest-paid coach in Europe! And even those who don’t like you – which is practically everybody (including, perhaps, your captain) – fear you! But there’s still that pink splotch on your cheek from the manotazo delivered courtesy of Pep & Co. last December (Somebody, please find me an image of those two guys in the stands. You know who I mean. I love those two). If you can bitch-slap back come April, and come away with at least one liga, you have a chance. Until then, just go have another press conference.
3. Spanish sports. Nadal. Lorenzo. Casillas. Contador. Gasol. Sainz. The wide world of sports is littered with so many Spanish stars there’s a new T-shirt phrase: ‘Soy español. ¿A qué quieres que te gane?’ (I’m Spanish. What do you want me to beat you at?). But then a few irregularities were found floating in some body fluids, and many athletes are going from dope to doped. Even Spain’s beloved track-and-fielder Marta Domínguez has been implicated in a certain ‘half bottle of rum’ she brought back from Florida. Another cliff-hanger until probably April.
Well, if you don’t have a chimney, how else is he supposed to get under your tree skirt? All the same, it’s a disturbing view from below, even more so than blackfaced Baltásars and pooing Peps. These are for the real stinkers.
1. Wesley Sneijder. I don’t think making Mou cry at an award ceremony is much of a consolation prize (or a challenge, if you’re going to make him play misty by blubbering about him yourself). Especially if you probably were a very good candidate for a real award. Because of winning a lot of stuff, and almost winning a lot more. And then you home with nothing more than a seating ticket and a creased suit. Too bad, kid.
2. Karim Benzemá. When I wrote that a Moudrid player would probably need psychotherapy at season’s end, I was thinking more along the lines of Bobby DeNiro in ‘Analyze This’, or at least James Gandolfini in ‘The Sopranos’. But this storyline reminds me more of Timothy Hutton in ‘Ordinary People’. Mou’s crossed him off, threatened to bench him for life and dismissed him as a solid sub for a hobbled Higuaín. Look, guy, when an underage prostitute is the least of your professional problems, you really do have a problem.
3. Guti. Okay, I didn’t like him at Madrid either. And I did feel kind of sorry for the guy when he trotted off to
Istanbul Constantinople Istanbul (oh, it’s nobody’s business but the Turks). But after a drunk-driving incident and a Nolte-esque paparazzi pic, what’s next? A race-baiting rage? Obscene fingernail polish? Hiding out in a Canadian no-tell motel? Or a starring role in next season’s Dr. Drew’s Soccer Celebrity Rehab (TMZ reports he’ll bunk with Ronaldinho!)
Happy New Year to all my BFBabies!