Spain lashes out at Blatter over Messi’s win

AP, Tuesday 11 Jan 2011

Spanish media accuses FIFA President Sepp Blatter of anti-Spain bias after Spanish pair Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez were overlooked for the Ballon d'Or despite their prominent roles in the World Cup victory


Spanish daily AS said “Spain is very angry,” and Marca has “Two Giants and one Anti-Spaniard” splashed across its front page in reference to Messi, coach of the year Jose Mourinho and Blatter. ABC newspaper wrote: “FIFA scorns the world champions.”

Messi won the FIFA award for a second straight year on Monday, the Argentina forward’s standout performances for Barcelona outweighing a disappointing World Cup, where Iniesta and Xavi helped lead the European champions to their first world championship.

Iniesta scored the winning goal in July’s 1-0 extra-time win against the Netherlands at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, while Xavi has been labeled the brains behind the team as he orchestrated much of the team’s play.

Despite six Spanish players being included in FIFA’s 2010 world all-star team, Marca said “without a doubt the biggest loser on this night was Spanish football.”

“(Blatter) had the chance to once again show his ill-will toward everything Spanish,” Marca wrote. “Only a few days ago he left us without the chance to organize the World Cup by instead opting for Russia and yesterday he left us without a prize that Spanish football deserved.”

Russia beat bids from Spain-Portugal, Belgium-Netherlands and England for the right to host the 2018 finals in a vote last month.

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