The Handball Rule, Mourinho, Sevilla And Bilbao – The Worst Of La Liga 12/13

After having looked at the best of what La Liga had to offer in the last season, it’s time to now look at the worst. We’ve seen some of the brilliance that La Liga has produced, but last season was not without it’s negative points, here are a few of the standout disappointments of the past season…

That handball rule!

This season referees were ordered to book players automatically for a deliberate handball, fair enough, right? No. The problem is that no one seemed to come up with a clear definition of what an actual handball foul should be; something along the lines of deliberately using ones hand to gain an advantage would have made sense.

However, the Spanish refs’ began a trend of a yellow card for every single incident where a ball touched a hand/arm and sometimes even a leg! This has resulted in bookings being dished out for instances where a ball was volleyed off a non-raised arm from point-blank range. Players were sent off for completely unavoidable handballs and in truth, the whole fiasco has been laughable. The problem became an infuriating addition to this Liga season and needs to be revised ahead of next year.

Jose Mourinho

Mou is often controversial and irritating, but this season it seemed to reach new levels. The dropping of Real Madrid club legend and captain Iker Casillas seemed to be the straw that broke the camel‘s back for the Portuguese manager. Media battles and fallouts with big name players like Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo tarnished his final, trophy-less year at Madrid in which he called the worst of his career.

By the end of the season he was being whistled by his home fans and his dismissal from the Bernabeu was mostly met with relief. This week Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique have voiced their opinion that Jose Mourinho “ruined Spanish football.” Opinion is divided on this matter but he certainly makes it into the “worst” section for the past year.


Sevilla began the season under Michel but the former Real Madrid player was sacked in January and the much loved, gesticulation enthusiast Unai Emery was brought in. While Sevilla’s home form was one of their positives for the season, it was their away form that left us wondering what could have been. The side finished the season in 9th place, 16 points off of the Champions League places. They won 13 out of 19 home games, compared to just 1 out of 19 on the road.

Their astonishingly bad away record meant that this was another disappointing campaign from Sevilla. Had their away form been better they may have made the Champions League and been able to keep players like Negredo and Jesus Navas. Those two will be a massive loss to the club and they‘ll be tough to replace.

 A season of ‘what could have been’ for Sevilla.

 Athletic Bilbao

The problems between club and coach at the start of the season weren’t resolved and provided the basis for a very poor season for the Basque side. While the previous season had been extremely entertaining and saw the club in both the Europa League final and the Copa Del Rey final, the club didn’t seem to get over the heartbreak of losing both games.

The players looked a shadow of themselves this year and it was clear that Marcelo Bielsa had lost the dressing room. World and European champion Fernando Llorente was alienated from the side for much of the season as a punishment for wanting to move on to pastures new. These issues were a big part of the teams poor performances and their 12th place finish, only nine points clear of the drop. Fortunately they weren’t dragged into a relegation battle but they weren’t far off it.

Neither Llorente or Bielsa will be at Athletic next season, Llorente will move to Juventus and Bielsa will not be offered a new contract. Hopefully the new manager will instill some of the belief back into the players that appears to have gone missing. The sides poor season culminated in a final match day loss to Levante at home. Significant due to it being the final ever match to be played at their famous San Mames stadium.

There is a wealth of young talent in the side and hopefully next season, under a new manager and in a new stadium, they’ll be able to have a more positive campaign than this one.

Real Madrid

Probably the most disappointing aspect of the entire Liga season. Real Madrid went into the competition as reigning champions after having set a record points total. Unfortunately this season they looked a shadow of that record breaking side of 11/12.

Eight points were dropped after just the first four games of the season and allowed Barça to take a commanding lead and one that didn’t at any stage look like being overturned. In truth the league title was won before Christmas. Madrid’s poor season meant that there wasn’t even a title race this season. They came back from the Summer break lacking any motivation and really never looked close to their best.

Sub-par performances from the likes of Higuain, Benzema, and Di Maria coupled with key injuries to players such as Marcelo all added to the disastrous league campaign for the side. Flashes of their capabilities were shown at times, mostly against Barça, but that wasn’t enough.

Hopefully next season, under the guise of a new manager, they’ll be able to fight for the title that they relinquished to easily last season.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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