Faces that made headlines in 2021

Juan Carlos I, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, Angela Merkel, Marta Ortega, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Lionel Messi, Yolanda Díaz and Simone Biles.

Juan Carlos I

The Crossroads of King Emeritus

The new Spanish ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Íñigo de Palacio, had not contacted the most illustrious Spanish resident in the country three months after his appointment. Nor have the senior officials who have passed through Abu Dhabi this year (the former Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, or the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez) have seen Juan Carlos I. Like the elephant in the room, the presence of the emeritus king in this Gulf country is something that is preferred to ignore, although it is impossible to ignore it. The shadow of the former head of State is not only projected throughout the region – Don Juan Carlos has visited neighboring countries and attends social events as a guest of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayeb (MBZ) – but extends to Spain. .

Yolanda Diaz

Hope, threat and unknown

For better or for worse – and then each one will judge according to the color of his ideological crystal – the great political novelty of 2021 her name is Yolanda Díaz. A year ago, the Galician leader, with a syndicalist and PCE heart, was a minister on the rise after having shown an ability that few suspected to put businessmen and workers’ centrals in agreement. Her forceful replies to the opposition in Parliament had been going viral on the networks for some time, and polls placed her at the top of the ranking of citizen preferences. But Díaz, who turned 50 in May, was still a figure in the back row of the great leaders.

Isabel Diaz Ayuso

The Empress of Lavapiés

Emotional to the pout; brave to the point of recklessness; endowed with a self-confidence that borders on incontinence; political chusquera in the shadow of Pablo Casado from 1st year of career; humble grassroots militant of the PP destined for lesser positions; Right-wing Madrid, but with a sunken family business and without compound surnames or bilingual MBAs in their cursus honorum; lonely, hermetic in her passions. Independent since adolescent, secular and divorced; fond of bars, dogs, traveling alone and getting lost in the countryside. Liberal out of need to find a place in the sun. Isabel Díaz Ayuso (Madrid, 1978) found her vein on social networks, when no one in the Popular Party knew what that was. Through them, he forged his political style: permanent confrontation; the message (true or false) repeated ad nauseam; the hardness in the forms; a fast food of simple answers to complex questions. Pablo Casado opted for her as a candidate for the presidency of Madrid to the surprise of the lords of the Party.

Marta Ortega

A big leap for the heiress

Marta Ortega has a discreet account on Instagram. It is closed to the general public and has only allowed 1,347 users to enter it. At least that was her number of followers on the day her appointment as non-executive president of the Inditex group was announced, which will take effect in April. The heir to the textile empire that her father, Amancio Ortega, raised out of nowhere from a small workshop in Arteixo (A Coruña) knows the world of social networks, influencers and fashion. But he doesn’t show his profile on Instagram to everyone. In this you can see the discretion of a hermetic family surrounded by mystery due to the scarcity of details about their private life (although this aspect has been relaxing, it must be taken into account that the first official photo of Amancio Ortega was not published until 2000 , with the group’s annual report).

Angela Merkel

Goodbye to the super chancellor

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of crises, has fired at 67 years of active politics and leaves a gap that many believe it will be difficult to fill. In her 16 years in power, this East German-raised physicist has maintained skyrocketing popularity ratings attesting to the confidence citizens have placed in her leadership style. The man who replaced her at the head of the first European economy, the social democrat Olaf Scholz, campaigned by presenting himself as the continuation of his legacy despite coming from different political families.

Millions of citizens did not vote for her party, the CDU, but for her, the first woman chancellor of Germany and who has had to face great challenges: the financial crisis of 2008, the refugee crisis in 2015, the pandemic.

Abdulrazak Gurnah

Nobel Prize by surprise

His name was not in any of the pools and it came as a real surprise last October when the Swedish Academy announced that Abdulrazak Gurnah had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. His work was barely translated and his few titles in Castilian had been published by labels that have now disappeared. Even in his native Tanzania, his books are hard to find. There is nothing predictable about Abdulrazak Gurnah. The melting pot that he describes in his novels of classic structure and adventurous plots escapes the stereotypes and vague ideas that circulate about East Africa.

Leo Messi

The last challenge

Leo Messi is still encouraged by some challenges at 34 years old after winning the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time and lifting the Copa América with Argentina in the legendary Maracana. Although the curriculum supports his condition as the best player in the world and surely in history, his competitiveness increases with the conquest of trophies to the point that he now aspires to win a fifth Champions League. It is not just any challenge if you take into account that his team is Paris Saint Germain and that he reached the four previous titles with Barça.

The 10 who always lived in Barcelona after leaving Rosario at the age of 13 finally reconciled with his country in the last tournament when he led the Albiceleste in Brazil. On July 11 he stopped being a “cold chest” after four lost finals and became the captain of Argentina who intends to compete for the 2022 World Cup.

He never won a World Cup and, therefore, also goes out of his way to be champion in Qatar and end the last comparison he has with Diego Maradona. Messi is not consoled by being at peace with Argentina.

Simone biles

The star that uncovered fear

In the Olympic world, greatness is measured in gold. Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Elaine Thompson … The greatest, the crowned kings and queens of each edition, the idols of the fans, are those who add gold to gold, and no one like them. Some are enthroned before they even begin to accumulate, and there is a desire that what they do is as exceptional as their own dreams. You dream of them, you dream of Simone Biles before the Tokyo Games last summer. Her past is analyzed, that of a 24-year-old American gymnast, daughter of an unstructured family in Columbus, Ohio, of a mother who cannot raise her and gives her up for adoption to her father, the girl’s grandfather. She left Ohio and settled on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, where she became the gymnast who revolutionized women’s gymnastics, strength, acrobatics and height, and became the unbeatable figure that adds and adds metals between world championships, 25 medals, starting in 2013, when he is 16 years old, and the Olympic Games, with his apotheosis in Rio, where he wins four gold medals.

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Faces that made headlines in 2021