South American football awards 2010

Hello and welcome to the Fútbol Fútbol Fútbol awards for 2010

The awards focus on events in South American football, however there is room for an expatriate player of the year section to pay tribute to the best of the thousands of South American footballers plying their trade on other continents. 

You may find some of the awards surprising or idiosyncratic, however if you are offended by any of these selections you can either find another website to tell you exactly what you want to read or failing that you could leave your opinion on why we are wrong in the comments section below.


Team of the year

  1. Fluminense - In recent years Fluminense have suffered the heartbreak of losing two major continental finals on penalties. In 2010 they finally got their hands on some major silverware winning their first Brazilian league championship since 1984. They held their nerve in a dramatic final day in which three teams had the chance to take the title in last round of fixtures.
  2. Uruguay - For a team representing a nation of only 3.5 million inhabitants to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup was an astonishing achievement. To do it playing entertaining attacking football was simply brilliant. The fact that they were turned from heroes to villains in the minds of countless idiots with one instinctive handball from Luis Suárez and a wasted penalty from Gyan only reinforced our support for "la celeste".
  3. LDU Quito - The Ecuadorian side reinforced their position as one of the new giants of South American football by beating Estudiantes de La Plata to become only the 3rd team ever to retain the Recopa Sudamericana (South American Super Cup). They also reached the semi-finals of the Copa Sudamericana and won yet another Ecuadorian championship.
Game of the year
  1. Argentinos Juniors 4-3 Independiente - Both teams needed the win to have a chance to catch Argentine Clausura 2010 championship leaders Estudiantes, cue an amazing game featuring an Olympic goal, 2 goals for ex-Argentinos player Leonel Núñez against his former team and two dramatic late goals to turn the tie in favour of eventual champions Argentinos Juniors.
  2. Deportivo Cali 6-3 América de Cali - An unbelievable derby game from Colombia featuring one of the all time great hat-tricks from Argentine striker Martín Morel.
  3. Cruzeiro 3-4 Atlético Mineiro - Another local derby, this time from Brazil. Atlético Miniero had been struggling along in the relegation zone for months when they faced a trip to their championship chasing local rivals Cruzeiro. Atlético won the game 3-4 and at the end of the season they avoided relegation by 3 points and Cruzeiro missed out on the championship by two points making this the pivotal game in the Brasileirão 2010 championship.
Player of the year

Veteran striker José Luis Calderón came out
of retirement to win one more medal.
  1. José Luis Calderón - At the back end of 2009 the veteran striker retired after being left out of the Estudiantes squad for the Copa Libertadores final. Argentinos Juniors manager Claudio Borghi persuaded him to come out of retirement for one last blast with Argentinos Juniors where he was a key player in their Clausura 2010 championship winning campaign. After winning his 4th major title (all acquired in the last 4 years of his 21 year career) he returned to Defensores de Cambaceres where he had started his career way back in 1989 for one last game before finally hanging up his boots in August 2010.
  2. Neymar - Brazil's latest wonder kid scored amazing goals, was linked with big money moves to a host of European clubs, scored on his Brazil debut, scored a 7 minute hat-trick, was 2nd top scorer in the Brazilian league and inadvertently flashed his pants to the world.
  3. Darío Conca - The star player of Brazilian champions Fluminense and only the second Argentine ever to win the prestigious Bola de Ouro (Brazilian footballer of the year) after Carlos Tévez in 2004.
Expatriate player of the year

  1. Lionel Messi - Best payer in the World, head and shoulders above the rest. He won yet another Spanish league with Barcelona and was top scorer in La Liga with an incredible 34 goals in 35 games, scored another 13 goals for the club in other competitions and hit a brilliant last minute winner for Argentina against Brazil in November.
  2. Diego Forlán - Top scorer in the 2010 World Cup and won Atlético Madrid the 2009-10 Europa League almost single handedly.
  3. Radamel Falcao - A controversial choice considering Porto missed out on the Portuguese league, only winning the 2009-10 Portuguese Cup and also because last season he was only the 2nd top scorer in the Portuguese league behind Paraguayan Óscar Cardozo of Benfica. However Porto are the only remaining unbeaten side in Europe in the 2010-11 season and Falcao has been scoring some magnificent goals.

Manager of the year
Muricy Ramalho 4 times Brasileirão winner.
  1. Muricy Ramalho -  He started the year badly, getting sacked as Palmeiras manager in February, however Fluminense snapped him up pretty quickly. In July he was appointed as the Brazil national coach but couldn't take up the role as Fluminense wouldn't let him go. Instead of stropping and making a fuss about it he led Fluminense to their first league title since 1984. His 4th Brasileirão championship in the last 5 tournaments.
  2. Omar Asad - Did not win any trophies in his first year as a head coach, however he did lead Mendoza minnows Godoy Cruz to their highest ever finish in the Argentine league (3rd), made them the most entertaining and high scoring team in the Primera División and qualified them for their first ever participation in the Copa Libertadores in 2011.
  3. Juan Antonio Pizzi - The Argentine manager of Universidad Cátolica pulled off one of the great comebacks. His team were seven points behind Colo-Colo with only six games of the season remaining however he did not allow his team to give up hope leading them to six consecutive wins while Colo-Colo fell to pieces.
Honourable mentions
  • Antonio Mohammed - Took over basket case club Independiente and led them to their first international title in 15 years, winning the Copa Sudamericana 2010.
  • Claudio Borghi - Led Argentinos Juniors to the Clausura 2010 championship, their first title since the 4 they won in the mid 80s when he played for the team, later poached by and then sacked as Boca Juniors manager after only 14 games in charge.
  • Óscar Tábarez - The veteran Uruguayan manager led his team all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup and aside from a turgid opening game against France every game was thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
  • Gerardo Martino - Argentine manager of Paraguay. He made them one of the most solid and tactically disciplined teams in the World Cup and came the closest to eliminating eventual champions Spain. He did all this without their star player Salvador Cabañas who was shot in the head in January.
  • Edgardo Bauza - Returned to Ecuadorian side LDU Quito, retained the Recopa Sudamericana and led them to the 2010 Ecuadorian championship.
  • Alex Sabella - After the dissappointments of losing the World Club Cup final at the back end of last year, getting overhauled by Argentinos Juniors in the Clausura 2010 tournament and losing the Recopa Sudamericana to LDU Quito his Estudiantes side won the the Apertura 2010 championship in fine style with a 100% home record.
Incomprehensible managerial departure of the year
  1. Marcelo Bielsa (Chile) - Bielsa led Chile to their first World Cup since 1998 and their first win at the tournament since they hosted it in 1962. Later in 2010 he gave his word before elections at the Chilean Football Federation that he would resign as national coach if the incumbent Harold Mayne-Nicholls was unseated by Jorge Segovia. The delegates duly voted 28-22 in favour of Segovia and Chile's most successful and popular coach in years kept his word and resigned.
  2. Luis Zubeldía (Lanús) - When Luis Zubeldía was appointed as coach of Lanús in 2008 at the age of 27 he became the youngest manager ever in the Argentine Primera División. By 2010 he was the Primera División's longest serving manager but in November the Lanús board asked him to resign after the club suffered four consecutive defeats. He left the club in 3rd position in the relegation table, with the two championship leaders Estudiantes and Vélez Sársfield the only teams to have accumulated more points than his side over the previous 90 games.
  3. Estevan Soares (Ceará) - Under Estevan Soares Ceará got off to a flying start to the 2010 Brasileirão, accumulating 18 points in their first 8 games. Their form tailed off and after a six game winless run consisting of four draws and two defeats and he was sacked. When he left the club they were in 3rd position with 21 points. When his replacement Mário Sérgio was sacked  a month later they had slipped to 11th position and they eventually finished the season in 12th.
Competitor (other website) of the year
  1. Universofutbol - The most comprehensive coverage of South American football, many other sites include league tables, goal scorers etc but let themselves down when it comes to the relegation tables (promedios) and minutiae like home and away records, managerial sackings, player appearances etc, Universofutbol doesn't. (en Español)
  2. In Bed With Maradona - OK, I'm biased because they have published my work but if you haven't come across this website yet then you should take a look. It really does offer different perspectives on football across the world.
  3. Guardian football - Their coverage of South American football may be dismal to non-existent but if you are interested in European football this is the place to go. They boast some of the best football writers, have a useful Stats Centre and the highly entertaining Knowledge and Classic Youtube weekly columns.
 Honourable mentions

Goal of the year
  1. Patric for Avaí against Internacional. - A brilliant team goal direct from the kick off by Brazilian relegation strugglers Avaí against the Copa Libertadores champions Internacional.
  2. Juan Manuel Martínez against Racing Club - In order to have a chance of winning the Apertura 2010 championship Vélez Sársfield needed to win their last game of the season and hope that Estudiantes would fail to win their game which was being played simultaneously. Martínez finished off a fine season with his 10th goal, this magnificent individual effort. Even though Estudiantes won their game and denied Vélez the championship, this was still a brilliant goal in a high pressure game which earned Martínez comparisons with Maradona and Messi.
  3. Dayro Moreno for Once Caldas against São Paulo - He carries the ball from his own half, ghosts between two defenders as if they aren't even there and fires in an unstoppable shot, all from Colombian Steaua Bucharest flop Dayro Moreno.
Other awards

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