Edu Gaspar had a stellar career as a player winning domestic and international honours on two sides of the globe. All the same, one Premier League Player of the Month award for February 2004 aside, individual honours were few and far between.
He must have thought his award-winning days were over when he hung up his boots. Alas, no!
At today’s Golden Boy awards, hosted by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport, he’s been crowned Best European Manager.
Details are thin on the ground but we’re assuming it’s for his work as Sporting Director at Arsenal overseeing Mikel Arteta’s squad-building project.
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyAwards) November 17, 2023
Last year the gong went by the title Best European Director and was picked up by Paulo Maldini. He subsequently got sacked by AC Milan in June.
The year before, Chelsea’s Marina Granovskaia won it; you’ll remember her from such hits as allegedly helping her oligarch overlord shuffle illegal payments around Europe, and picking up a £35m consultancy fee when the club was sold by said overlord because of international sanctions.
If you ask us, the award seems like a bit of a poisoned chalice, but we’re sure Edu is on safe ground.
News of his win comes almost a year to the day that his promotion to Sporting Director was confirmed. Having been left with a nasty-looking squad, to which he added a couple of terrible purchases, he’s done a tidy job of turning things around over the last two years.
Indeed, Transfermarkt claimed in the summer that Arsenal’s squad is now worth more on paper than any other in the world.
Usually when we write about the Golden Boy awards it’s to bring news of our younger players, but this year, none of our guys made the shortlist.
Jude Bellingham was crowned the Golden Boy – the most prestigious award of the afternoon – Erling Haaland and Aitana Bonmati picked up the Best Player awards and Brighton chairman Tony Bloom was voted Best European President.
Clearly, the Tuttosport lads were asked to broaden their remit…