I was debating between silly and serious for these, and ended up with a combination of both. So...enjoy?
the Fernando Martin award for most embarrassing club president
So many nominees to choose from. There's Joan '7 trophies! No, 6 is alright too. Umm...5. 3? please?' Laporta of Barcelona, who has had an exceptionally stupid year in terms of decision-making. There's Ramon 'Guti is an eternal promise' Calderon of Real Madrid, whose inability to censor himself either in speech or in action has infuriated and entertained both Madridistas and the league at large. Then there's Sevilla's del Nido, who exceeds the both of them in the capacity for offensive verbal diarrhea and brings along extra hints of sleaziness with his entanglement in corruption allegations.
I think Laporta edges this one for how silly he now looks, the team having won exactly 2 (and pretty much the least important 2) of those 7 trophies.
the Second Choice Steve award for underachievement
Who else but Atletico Madrid. How much money did they spend at the beginning of this season? Like coach Javier Aguirre - who I happen to admire very much - said, they spent 30 weeks in the UEFA Cup places and ended up 7th in the table. (But then, Barca spent how many weeks top of the table? Just goes to show that relative consistency in those terms counts for nothing.) Atletico are a big club with a large, long-suffering fanbase who spend a lot of money on players but seem to get little return. Which really does suck.
the Claudio Ranieri award for most disastrous tactical experiment
Barcelona's brief dalliance with 3-4-3. Great for the Dream Team, not so great when the form of Barca's starting back three made it seem more like 1-4-3. The worst exhibition of its failings was probably El Clasico in the Camp Nou.
the Istabul award for greatest comeback
In terms of individual matches, Getafe's 4-0 destruction of Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinal after trailing 5-2 from the first leg is hard to beat. League-wise, Real's last-gasp comeback victories over Recreativo, Espanyol and the draw at Zaragoza, not to mention the last day victory over Mallorca all come to mind.
In terms of the season, I suppose the obvious choice is Real Madrid. Strangely, though, if you look at the results, the second half of their season is no better than the first half. So the term comeback is a bit inappropriate. For me, this award goes to Villarreal, who pulled themselves together in the second half of the season and went on a fantastic winning streak which lifted them back into European competition. Brilliant stuff.
goal of the season
Yeah, I'm going for the obvious, despite its inconsequential nature in the end. Because I never get sick of watching it. Because countless hours have been spent by people all over the world watching it over and over again. And if you're like me, it never fails to put a smile on your face.
Copa del Rey semifinal first leg: Barca v Getafe, 2-0. Lionel Messi, take a bow.
match of the season
Now, I don't get to watch as many matches as I would like, so feel free to disagree completely. For my money, it was definitely the aftementioned El Gran Clasico at the Camp Nou (3-3) - a match which was instrumental in the title heading to Madrid. It had everything - brilliant attacking moves, terrible defending, red cards, six goals, drama from the beginning to the very end and some massive protagonists in Ruud van Nistelrooy, Guti and young Leo Messi. Now that's entertaining football.
player of the season
This is going to a Real player, because somehow it seems appropriate. But it could have gone to one of Sevilla's finest, too, say the brilliant Dani Alves or the resurgent Freddie Kanoute.
For all that's been written about David Beckham, and bless him for his fine work, decisive goals win titles. Step forward, Ruud van Nistelrooy. The best money Real have spent in a long time, and he's far from finished. All hail this season's pichichi.
coach of the season
Difficult one, this. There's Bernard Schuster, who has done a remarkable job at Getafe yet again despite his tiny budget and guided the team into Europe next season. There's Juando Ramos of Sevilla, who I admire very much both for his ability and for the grace he always displays when talking to the press. But having come in under so much pressure, taken so much flak, and still managed to whip the player power mad Galactico machine into some sort of fighting shape (a task many thought to be impossible), this award really has to go to Fabio Capello.
I still fail to be impressed by his brand of football or his slightly scary personal politics, but what he did is some achievement. Points also for refreshing candor.
team of the season
Some part of me feels like this should really go to Real, for their spirit and determination and of course the big trophy they're taking home.
People say that this season, we've had a mediocre league. And maybe they're right. But if there's one team who have stood out amidst the mediocrity, both at home and abroad, it's surely FC Sevilla, winners of the UEFA Cup (2006 and 2007) and the Copa del Rey. They've done a lot to spread the idea that Spanish football is about more than just the Real-Barca duopoly, much like Depor and Valencia have done in the past, and will hopefully continue to do so. On top of all that, they've done it all on a relatively small budget, using quite a few home-grown players, and playing attractive football.