2016 May of been a year to forget because of many uninspiring events that occurred in our world but none the less, here I present to you, the return of the good ol’ La Celeste Blog Awards. These awards used to be owned by the now retired blog legend Yorugua who is now sitting back and enjoying the retired life. So yes, this will be the first Yorugua-less LCB Awards in the history of the blog. I guess that makes it my job to bring back the glory of the Lcb Awards introducing some of my own categories along with some of the traditional ones that long-time readers will remember. I’ve tried to keep these awards as football-based as I can, trying to ignore the mess happening with Auf and Tenfield can be hard but let’s take a look at 2016’s lighter moments and save the “grown-up” talk for the incoming podcast. So with all that settled, we can finally dig into these awards. So like Yorugua said back in the 2013 edition of the LCB Awards, “let’s get this torture over with” ….
LCB Foul of the Year/ “Te voy a romper” Award 2016: Álvaro Pereira’s Kung Fu Special at Estudiantes
This first category, comes in for the ugliest and dirtiest foul we could find. Being Uruguayo most of us will say “what’s wrong with throwing in a little foul” well there’s definitely a fine line that has to be drawn. Trust me being a supporter of Uruguay, I know we’ve all seen some pretty good fouls once in our lifetime** (Just refer to Diego Perez or even better google Uruguay’s 1986 World Cup Highlights)
Alvaro Pereira might have earned the title of Kung-Fu Master with this “patada” of the year; after taking out another player while at Estudiantes earning him a three match ban. To make things worse, Pereira got another 8 games for involving himself in a brawl in another game. This suspension only delayed his miserable spell at Getafe. Once he finally debuted for the Spanish side, it ended up turning into a nightmare resulting in a 4-0 loss to Las Palmas and another suspension for yet another red card. Oh Palito! His reaction in the video really sums it all up. However, this won’t be the last time you’ll be hearing about Palito Pereira in this article.
LCB Miss of the Year Award 2016: Cavani vs Venezuela Copa America
There isn’t really much to write for this one. Cavani who for a split second looked destined to put some light into the disastrous Copa America Centenario campaign missed a chance that really we expected him to score. Cavani does tend to have one of those “how the hell did he miss that” moments which can be pointed to a reason that some major pundits overlook him as being one of Europe’s finest strikers. This is one to forget…. and surely has to be the miss of the year for any Uruguayo.
LCB’s Moment to Forget/ “Me estás jodiendo?” Award 2016: Pereira’s own goal vs Mexico
The adventures of the misfortunate Alvaro Pereira continue, as he really brought to life what would be a horror show in the United States from Uruguay. Pereira gifted Mexico the lead in our opening game of the Copa America Centenario scoring a vicious own-goal in the opening minute to sum up our short lived adventure in the land of the free. In a tournament where Suarez fought with the coaching staff, Tabarez ruled out our chances from the start and the Chilean national anthem was played instead of ours, the 2016 Copa America Centenario was one we all want to forget, might as well just have given the award to the whole tournament.
Honorable Mentions in this award has to go Mathías Corujo’s legs who were ripped wide open by Lionel Messi in an underwhelming 1-0 loss to Argentina back in the qualifying rounds of early September. This moment gave Corujo his moment of fame for adding himself to Messi’s list of players who he’s humiliated. Let’s look back one more time…
LCB Flop of the Year 2016: Gus Poyet and the Real Betis Disaster
Gus Poyet was once a name thrown around this blog as a legitimate candidate to take charge of La Celeste. Poyet didn’t help his chances after a disastrous spell at Real Betis. Poyet who kept Sunderland from relegation in the premier league and guided them to their first cup final in over 20 years. After parting ways with Sunderland, Poyet then found himself in Greece where his tenure at AEK Athens was brought to a short end after only several months in charge because of disputes with the club’s president. Poyet would find himself being sacked for a second time in 2016, this time after 11 league games with Spanish Side Real Betis. Poyet failed at getting anything going at Real Betis despite going virtually unbeaten in pre-season his first ever season in La Liga was plagued by injuries, controversy and constant disputes with officials. His time at Real Betis lasted 4 months and included a couple of hammerings 6-2 and 6-1 by Barcelona and Real Madrid. Poyet now has decided to follow the temptation of Chinese league and it’s riches. Poyet was appointed coach of Shanghai Shenhua on November 29. Poyet has just recently brought in Tevez and has his sights set on Di-Maria… We’ll see what 2017 has in store for him but his 2016 year has to be marked a disappointment after the potential shown in previous years.
An honorable mention, for the Flop of the year award has to go to those idiotic Penarol Fans who brought all the wrong headlines towards football in Uruguay. Cancelling the Clasico and giving our league a bad showing in front of the world. Yorugua, Nico and Jules will dissect this topic in greater detail during the new podcast coming up. So let’s not let that topic of interest ruin the mood and move on with the awards… As we get into the best awards this year has to offer.
LCB Ignored Player of the Year 2016: Gaston Pereiro and Giorgian De Arrascaeta
This award has to be split between two number 10’s who are both continuously overlooked by Tabarez in favour of Nicolas Lodeiro and Gaston Ramirez. The blog has been yelling the name of Giorgian De Arrascaeta since we first witnessed his pure talent during our second place finish at the U20 Fifa World Cup in Turkey back in 2013. Which in my opinion featured the best youth side Uruguay’s ever had in a major youth tournament. As for Pereiro, we first were made aware of his talents during the U20 Sudamericano in Uruguay back in 2015. His impressive displays earned him a big move to PSV in Holland where we all noticed that this is the type of guy we want playing behind Cavani and Suarez. Tabarez however has other ideas and Pereiro despite already having a successful first season in Holland along with Champions League experience has failed to even receive a call-up. Things haven’t been looking any better for De Arrascaeta who has played for Uruguay before and even scored in a friendly once upon a time, but still has yet to gain that first team status or regular showing that most of us have been wanting and waiting for. De Arrascatea who has been impressive in Brazil with Cruzeiro, has spent most of his time warming the bench in qualifying and hasn’t played a single minute for La Celeste since a 1-0 loss in a friendly to Costa Rica back in September of 2015. In the meantime, as we dream of playing time for these two players, were stuck with good ol’ Lodeiro and Ramirez.
LCB’s “la verdad de la milanesa” 2016: Lucas Torreira
In the past this classic LCB Award has gone to the likes of Diego Laxalt and Giorgian De Arrascaeta, and in 2015 to Gaston Pereiro but this year I’d like to give the award to 20 year old midfielder Lucas Torreria. Many don’t really know much about Torreria but he has been putting in some really good performances for Sampdoria this season in the Serie A. Lucas Torreira who started at Montevideo Wanderers has already attracted the likes of Sevilla, Ac Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli and Juventus who are all competing for the signature of the 20 year old. Torreira can operate as central defensive midfielder but plays much better and more freely as a creative attacking midfielder, Torreira Has been one of Serie A’s best young talents this year and let’s hope he continues to shine and one day gets that call up from Tabarez. *REALITY CHECK * We’ll probably have to wait until he’s 27 to crack into one of El Maestro’s golden preliminary call-up lists.
Honorable Mentions for this award has to go Mauricio Lemos and Federico Ricca, but I’ve decided to go for the youngest of the bunch and be a little unique in my choice.
LCB Game of the Year 2016: Brazil vs Uruguay 2-2
With the odds heavily stacked against us, Uruguay had the task of going to Brazil with a completely different back-line due to injuries and suspensions, that consisted of Fucile, Victorino, Coates and Alvaro Pereira. La Celeste was tasked with getting something in Brazil and containing the offensive power of Brazil spearheaded by the powerful Neymar. The game also marked the long-awaited return of Luis Suarez for Uruguay after serving what felt like an eternity of a suspension handed by FIFA for his lunchtime snack of Giorgio Chiellini in Natal. Uruguay found themselves two goals down from two defensive mistakes. The loss was looking inevitable at that point but somehow we fought our way back into the game with the help of a bi-polar Palito Pereira performance and the impact of Suarez, Uruguay managed to tie the game at 2-2. We even could have won it if it wasn’t for a brilliant save that denied Suarez a potential winner. Overall; 2016 really didn’t offer much in terms of games for Uruguay but this game had some merit to it being Suarez’s first game back and against an old rival like Brazil, the game lived to it’s hype and Uruguay walked away with a point that looked impossible to get after going 2-0 down early on. Some fine business from La Celeste. The game overall was entertaining, had some good goals, moments and some dreadful defending from both teams.
LCB Gol of the Year 2016: Luis Suarez Vs Arsenal (March 16, 2016)
The goal of the year has to be this spectacular Suarez finish, which really sums up how clinical Suarez is and why he is the best striker in the world. Suarez is such a crucial component for Barcelona, his link up play, finishing and “garra” give Barcelona a different edge something they haven’t had in years. This Suarez finish was just one of the many great goals he scored this season.
LCB Celeste Gol of the Year 2016: Suarez vs Colombia (Colombia 2-2 Uruguay)
This award is a new one that I would like to give to the best goal scored by the national team during the year. For those of you who like the stats, Uruguay scored a respectable 20 goals in 12 games, conceding 14 in the process. Suarez’s finish from that hard angle against Colombia has to be given credit, it’s a brilliant finish, and the set up to the goal is something only a Uruguayan team can conjure up, a long ball from your own half of the pitch, a flick on header and a finish into the back of the net. Suarez was inspirational in the game and was one of the reasons we actually walked away with a point in Barranquilla.
An honorable mention for this award has to be given for a great goal Cavani scored against Peru back in March. Suarez assisted and Cavani sent a rocket into the back of the net to pick up the three points against Peru at home in World Cup Qualifying.
BONUS AWARD: EL MAESTRO HAS HIS SAY….
Here’s a little bonus award… Tabarez’s favorite goal of the year. This goal does nothing but make Lodeiro look even more like Iniesta in front of Tabarez’s eyes. Luckily for Nico, he won the newcomer of the season in the MLS helping the Seattle Sounders win the MLS Cup, this surely assures him a place in the first team until 2022. Oh yeah… don’t forget about..… Alvaro “Flaco” Fernandez he was crowned a champion also with Seattle. Anyone Miss him?
LCB’s Coach of the Year 2016: Celso Otero
In the difficulty of finding a Uruguayan coach of the year… were going to throw the award to Celso Otero. Celso Otero surely needs to take some credit here. Celso’s been running all the practices and doing all the dirty work letting Tabarez take all the credit. Don’t get me wrong, I respect El Maestro and hope all the best for his health but we can’t deny that it’s really been Celso running the show lately, and he hasn’t done too bad of a job at it. Plus I got a little soft spot for the guy who invoted me into the Complejo Celeste to meet the team. You can read about that here. Now enjoy this video of “El pasito de Celso Otero” below and have a laugh. (The video may not be from 2016… but’s it’s still golden)
LCB’s “Qué lomo mami” of the year or, “la carne está pronta!” 2016: Martina Graf
Past winners of this classic award go to…
- Larissa Riquelme in 2011
- Melii Cuadrado in 2012
- No Award in 2013
- No Award in 2014
- No Award in 2015
This award is supposed to be discontinued!!! But who cares, I’m bringing it back just for old times sake and I’ll give to Martina Graf whose interview on this blog has to go down as one of the greatest and most controversial articles ever to go up on this blog, and one of my favorites! So enjoy these pictures of this stunner and think back to the good ol’ days of the blog.
LCB Garra Charrua 2016 Award: Diego Godin
Diego Godin has really risen to success since 2013 and the taking of the captain’s armband from Lugano has helped him develop into a great captain for the national team. Godin has been immense for Uruguay, scoring crucial goals (in world cup qualifying) and putting in the dirty work when it counts defensively. Suarez may provide us with that spark up front but Godin continuously leaves us his all when defending for La Celeste, he’s already scored some important goals in qualifying and this year has been consistently solid. We need Godin almost as much as we need Suarez and that is a bold statement in itself. There is a game that really sticks out to me as one of Godin’s finest of the year, that game is the 3-1 Loss to Mexico in our opening game at the Copa America Centenario. Uruguay found themselves down one player due to Vecino’s first half sending off, leaving us with less midfield then what we already had. When there was no midfield, Godin took things into his hands running through the Mexican midfield to single handily help Cavani set up a golden opportunity for Rolan to level the score which he missed. Most important to note, was Diego Godin standing up for the national team this year, and making a bold stand for not only his image rights but the rights of the whole team as a whole during the Nike vs Puma mess, it was a true captains mark.
LCB Player of the Year 2016: Luis Suarez
2014: DIEGO GODIN
2013: EDINSON CAVANI
2012: ÁLVARO RECOBA
2011: LUIS SUÁREZ
2010: DIEGO FORLÁN
2009: NICOLÁS LODEIRO
Cavani may have scored the most goals for Uruguay in 2016, but nobody has had a bigger impact than Uruguay’s all time top scorer, Luis Suarez. Suarez finally made his competitive return for Uruguay in March against Brazil and has reminded us how important he is for the national team by scoring on his first game back and rescuing the point in Brazil. Suarez’s absence in the Copa America Centenario was felt and that horrible tantrum thrown on the bench at the end of the Venezuelan defeat was a tough moment to digest. The truth is; Uruguay is a different team with Suarez on the field. Suarez provides that “spark” and has been a major factor for Cavani scoring many goals this year for La Celeste. The statistics just speak for themselves, Luis Suarez for Uruguay in 2016 has played 8 games, scoring 3 goals and assisting 6, the majority of his assists coming in for Cavani’s goals. While for Barcelona, Suarez was the world’s top goal scorer in the major leagues for the 2016 calendar year, scoring a total of 40 goals and ranking number one on the IFFHS Award for The World’s Best Top Division Goal Scorer for a third time. Despite the terrific year, Suarez still somehow managed to miss out on the major player awards for this year and I think we all know why. It doesn’t matter at least he’s got the award that matters the most, the LCB Player of the Year and that good ol’ golden Cubilla Trophy.
Overall 2016 has an unusual year for our world, where the most unlikely has happened, Trump’s rise to power, the Brexit result, and the many sad celebrity deaths. (David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Fidel Castro, Ron Glass, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, Bernard Fox, Kenny Baker, George Michael, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher – Princess Leia.) The list can go even longer. 2016 has just been one of those years…. even in football we witnessed the improbable in Leicester winning the Premier League and a team like Portugal who plays so negatively winning the Euro Cup, giving us hope that Uruguay can still win a major tournament. I mean 2016 must really be out of the ordinary considering how Uruguay is doing in World Cup qualifying and how unlikely a “Repechaje” looks at this point. With that said, Let’s hope 2017 brings us good moments, more goals from Suarez and Cavani and maybe the words we’ve all been dreaming of…. “Direct Qualification” to Russia. Until then, Happy Holidays, Happy New Years, and all the best in 2017!