I guess I'm pretty late to this (blame the inherent laziness holiday season and the fact that I've been watching highlights of Sunday's game on repeat for entirely too long), but as it turns out, there was a fairly major award handed out to a Chelsea player last week. Branislav Ivanovic has been named Serbian
Man-Bear Player of the Year. Naturally, he's pretty happy about this:
This award means a lot to me. When you are named the best in your country, it is a reward for everything you have achieved up to now. I am happy, but I want to say thanks for my family and all of my team-mates, from my club and the national team - they helped me to get where I am today. Now the onus is on me to maintain this standard, and even improve on it.
Ivanovic's win, of course, is well deserved, mostly because he has absolutely nothing in the way of competition. Nemanja Vidic was out for most of the year, and, well, Aleksandar Kolarov* won last year. This isn't exactly a lofty standard (my brain likes keeping track of good players from what used to be Yugoslavia, but it's very bad at remembering whether they're Bosnian, Serb, or Croat, something that would probably get me killed in the Balkans).
*Speaking of Aleksandar Kolarov, his rendition of Jingle Bells is something to behold.
So... good for Ivanovic, I guess. But produce more footballers, Serbia. You've coasted on Nemanja Vidic for too long.