Read in Catalan

The Ballon d'Or football gala has its winners, a collection of entertaining, exciting and emotional moments, and of course, a legion of irritated fans who simply want to vomit when they read the list of prize-winners for 2021. In this select group we find madridismo, in general, outraged that former Barça player Leo Messi lifted up his seventh golden ball above their own striker, Karim Benzema. They endured the victory of the Argentinian as a complete abomination. What pity one must feel for them. However, if they want to find something really intolerable, they don't have to look very far: their newspaper of reference, Marca, the quintessential bible of the merengues, posted off a couple of tweets on the night with texts that should make them feel embarrassed the next day.

The protagonists of the tweets are the present and the future of FC Barcelona: Alexia Putellas, voted the best female player on the football planet, and Pedri González, recognized as the best young player of the year. Alexia thrilled the fans by being the first Catalan to take the precious Ballon d'Or, offering a sensational speech that is now part of history. And the Canary Islander and rising Barça star Pedri won his vote with the biggest difference ever achieved by a winner in this category. So how did certain media manage to create controversy and commotion out of this? Very easy: playing the Catalanophobia card.

Pedri gana el trofeu Kopa EFE

Pedri González won the Kopa trophy for Best Young Player / EFE

Alexia Putellas Balón de Oro EFE

Alexia Putellas, the first Catalan Ballon d'Or / EFE

According to the Madrid sports daily, being Catalan is not the same as being Canarian, and they put this down very clearly in writing during the awards ceremony in Paris. When they proclaimed the name of the 18-year-old midfielder, they wrote the following: "The Canary Islander wins the Kopa trophy and is crowned as the best young player." All in order there, no problem. We cannot say the same for the case of Putellas, who they preferred to name for the nationality that is written on her DNI: "First Spaniard to win the Ballon d'Or". Yes, Catalonia is still part of the Spanish state, but it seems that noting that someone is Catalan could trigger sudden health crises in the readers, writers and editors of Marca. Better to hide it and say she's Spanish, and that's it. Professional. Muy professional.

On social media, the detail did not go unnoticed - the thing is, it's already a great tradition for them. There were people who got angry and upset with the newspaper, as in the tweet above: "How stupid you can be." Stupid, no, just Catalanophobic and opportunist: upsetting your victorious opponent, one more tactic to try and feel slightly better on a bad night.

By the way, the newspaper El País also wanted to get in on the act, making everything look beautiful. But not admitting even the possibility that Alexia Putella might be "either Catalan or a Barça player", as Olga Suanya noted.  

What luck the Canary Islands have: it seems they have achieved independence and we didn't even realize it. We will have to study their strategy. By the way, congratulations on all your awards, Marca.