Real Madrid trophy embarrassment shows Premier League is streets ahead of LaLiga

23 May

Real Madrid may have won LaLiga for the first time since 2012, but incredibly they won’t receive the trophy until next season.

The Spanish giants needed a win from their final game of the 2016/17 league campaign to seal top spot, and duly wrapped up the title with a 2-0 win at Malaga.

But remarkably Real won’t receive LaLiga’s trophy until the start of the 2017/18 season, when some of their squad may well have left the club.

This is because the trophy is the property not of the league itself, but the Spanish football governing body, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), and any presentation date is reportedly dependent on the availability of RFEF president, Angel Maria Villar.

Three years ago Villar was unavailable to present Atletico Madrid with the trophy when they were crowned champions on the last day of the 2013/14 season, meaning Diego Simeone’s men had to wait a ridiculous 105 days to lift their prize.

And two years prior, on the last occasion Real were LaLiga winners, Villar reportedly refused to present the trophy to the champions on the Bernabeu pitch, despite a stage being constructed for that very purpose. Instead, Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos had to collect it from the stands.

The lack of trophy presentation this year came as a shock to Real players Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, who were celebrating winning their first LaLiga title.

After full-time at Malaga and with his team-mates in jubilant mood, Modric, with a quizzical look, motioned lifting a trophy to a club official.

The Croatian midfielder, along with his Welsh team-mate, reacted with incredulity when he was informed there was no trophy.

The official then explained that it would be presented next season.

A disbelieving Bale sought further confirmation from Cristiano Ronaldo, who again explained there wouldn’t be a presentation.

 

It got worse because, though Madrid continued their celebrations back in the capital city in front of thousands of fans, they were forced to parade a mini replica of the wrong trophy.

This is due to the fact that a new LaLiga trophy was unveiled last July, replacing the old one which Real have as a replica.

Having come from the Premier League, where even the departure of a player can be highly choreographed, Bale and Modric were understandably perplexed by this shambolic organisation.

Three years ago, when there was a possibility that Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea could all go into the final day of the season with a chance of winning the title, contingency plans were put in place by the Premier League for three trophies to be made available for the campaign climax, and orders were placed for sufficient winner’s medals to be on hand.

In 2012, when the title race went down to the last seconds of the season, preparations were being made to present Manchester United with the trophy at Sunderland, as they were on course to claim top spot…

…only for dramatic events to see Man City lift the silverware moments later, 140 miles away at the Eihad Stadium.

Even as far back as 1995, when Blackburn Rovers and United battled for the title until the last seconds of the season, the Premier League was well prepared. 

As the full-time whistle blew on Rovers’ season, ending with a 2-1 defeat at Liverpool, the Red Devils needed to score a late winner away to West Ham to snatch top spot.

Andy Cole had two late chances to claim victory for Man United, but it wasn’t to be and Blackburn were able to celebrate becoming champions, with the trophy.

Meanwhile, at West Ham’s Upton Park, a trophy and presentation boards lay unused as Man United were forced to settle for the runners up position.

This was because Blackburn were presented with the Premier League’s original version of the trophy, while United would have received the sponsor’s copy.

Note the engraving on the silverware clutched by Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish: ‘The FA Premier League’.

Which differed from the sponsor’s version on standby at Upton Park…

If the Premier League could do that 22 years ago, why can’t Spanish football organise something similar in 2017?

LaLiga may boast many of the world’s best footballers, but this trophy debacle is an embarrassment for the Spanish game.

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