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Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or 2021 to claim record seventh trophy

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independent– Lionel Messi has won the men’s 2021 Ballon d’Or, and a record seventh trophy, at an awards ceremony in Paris on Monday evening.

Messi, 34, held off the challenge of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Chelsea’s Jorginho to collect the prize and move two clear in his long-running battle with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was among the 30 players shortlisted but did not feature in the top three for the first time in 11 years.

Messi was the favourite to collect the award after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year – his first major international trophy – despite one of his less impressive periods at club level: Barcelona finished third in La Liga and fell in the first knockout round of the Champions League. However, Messi scored two goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey final and he was La Liga’s top goalscorer once more, before switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Lewandowski did pick up the consolation prize of the newly formed Striker of the Year award, while the Women’s Ballon d’Or went to Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas.

Further awards went to Gianluigi Donnarumma for the Yashin Trophy of best goalkeeper, to Barcelona midfielder Pedri as the starlet was handed the Kopa Trophy and another new award went to Chelsea for Club of the Year for their on-pitch achievements with both men’s and women’s teams.

Lewandowski can feel hard done by after another stellar year of goalscoring for Bayern Munich saw them retain the Bundesliga title. He scored a record 41 Bundesliga goals in the 2020-21 season and is leading the charts again this season with 14 goals from 13 games, but perhaps suffered at the ballot box from not enjoying more success with his country, Poland, in a year of major international tournaments. The 33-year-old was expected to win his first Ballon d’Or last year but the award was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Jorginho, 29, might also feel he could not have done much more given he won the Champions League with Chelsea and two months later won the European Championship with Italy, playing a key role at the heart of midfield in both sides.

The highest-ranked Premier League-based players after Jorginho included his Chelsea team-mate N’Golo Kante in fifth, Cristiano Ronaldo in sixth and Mohamed Salah in seventh.

Raheem Sterling, 15th, was the highest-ranked English player.

As the early rankings unfolded, Ronaldo posted a social media message claiming France Football’s Pascal Ferre had spoken “lies” about the reasons why the United forward was not at the awards ceremony and that his only ambition was to win more Ballon d’Ors than Messi.

After claiming his award at the end of the ceremony, Messi remarked that Lewandowski had “deserved” the award in 2020 and hoped that France Football awarded it to him retrospectively, after last year’s awards were cancelled due to the pandemic.

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Freddy Rincón: Former Colombia captain in critical condition with severe head injuries after car crash

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Former Colombia soccer captain Freddy Rincón is in critical condition with severe head injuries after being involved in a car crash in Cali, the hospital treating him said in a statement.

The 55-year-old Rincón was admitted to hospital on Monday following a car accident in the early hours of the day, CNN en Español reported, citing local media.
The accident involved a van with four occupants, including the former player, and a bus, the Undersecretary of Mobility of Cali, Edwing Candelo, told the newspaper, El País Cali.
Five people were injured in the crash, added Candelo.
Rincón underwent surgery which lasted nearly three hours, the Imbanaco Clinic said in a statement later Monday, adding that he has been transferred to intensive care, where he remains in critical condition.

World Cup glory

Rincón played in three World Cups — 1990, 1994 and 1998 — and scored 17 goals in 84 games for Colombia.
He was born in 1966 in Buenaventura, in western Colombia, and was one of the key players of his country’s golden generation in the 1990s.
Notably, he scored against West Germany at the 1990 World Cup in Milan’s San Siro stadium, his goal coming late in the game to secure a 1-1 draw giving Colombia a place in the round-of-16 after the country’s 28-year absence from the tournament.
Rincón also scored two goals in a famed 5-0 win against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1993.
In Colombia, he played for Santa Fe and América de Cali, with whom he won three trophies.
In 1994, Rincón joined Brazilian club Palmeiras, before then moving to Europe. He played for Italian club Napoli and then joined Spanish giant Real Madrid, becoming the first Colombian footballer to play for the La Liga club.
Rincón returned to Brazil in 1996, where he won three local titles and a Club World Cup with Corinthians.
He retired as a player in 2004 and later coached third division teams in Brazil. He was an assistant to former Brazil coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo at Atlético Mineiro in 2010 and to Jorge Luis Pinto at Millonarios de Colombia in 2019.

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Fantasy Premier League tips gameweek 19: Cristiano Ronaldo, Son Heung-min, Bukayo Saka and more

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Cristiano Ronaldo

The news of Liverpool vs Leeds’ postponement leaves a lot of managers in the lurch. Most of us have at least three players who will not be playing on Boxing Day, with captaincy favourite Mohamed Salah one of them. Where do we turn with our most reliable points-scorer suddenly wiped out?

It requires a bit of restructuring and probably a -4 hit but moving to Ronaldo, who travels to Newcastle, may not be a bad idea. Though Salah could return quickly against Leicester and Chelsea, the Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching and Manchester United’s fixtures are strong, with an expected double gameweek on the horizon.

Son Heung-min

A more straightforward move is Salah to Son. Many managers could do it with their weekly free transfer and there is good reason to back the Tottenham winger, who scored against Liverpool last time out and has an enticing run of fixtures coming up and a likely double in gameweek 22.

Crystal Palace’s defensive numbers are still among the more impressive this season but are stronger at home than away and have faltered slightly of late, while Tottenham’s attack is gradually picking up under Antonio Conte. After the visit from Patrick Vieira’s side, Spurs face back-to-back trips to Southampton and Watford.

Bukayo Saka

After three consecutive impressive wins, Arsenal assets are all the rage this week, with heavy investment in the band of young, exciting attacking players at Mikel Arteta’s disposal. Gabriel Martinelli was a late call-up to our picks last time around and duly delivered, while Emile Smith Rowe keeps on scoring even as a substitute.

If we had to pick one for this weekend’s trip to Norwich though, it would still be Saka. He has a better chance of starting long-term than Martinelli and he has more impressive underlying numbers than Smith Rowe. In fact, those numbers have gradually ticked up after a slow start to the season, with an average of 0.6 non-penalty xG+xA over the last six games.

Kieran Tierney

While Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe are all popular picks this week, one thing to look out for is an unusual split coming up in Arsenal’s fixtures, where their schedule is a lot better from a defensive perspective than an attacking one.

With that in mind, 4.8m-rated Tierney offers a slightly more adventurous route into Arsenal’s backline than either goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale or the cheaper Ben White. The concern with Tierney, as ever, is injury and whether he can be trusted to start games during a tight schedule, but at a low ownership of 6.4%, he may be worth the risk.

Armando Broja

With all these heavy hitters to swap around and squad restructuring to do, it can be useful to leave money in the bank for flexibility. But at the same time, we need a deep squad in order to cope with the postponements and rotation. It is difficult to find players in the cheap but reliable sweet spot.

Broja is one of the better budget options. He carries a rotation risk himself and can get substituted early but, with Che Adams and Adam Armstrong still making their way back from injury, the 5.1m-priced Southampton striker should get enough minutes going forward to earn points, while freeing up funds to spend elsewhere.

Source- independent

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Real Madrid tied with Cadiz

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Real Madrid tied with Cadiz without goals in the match that brought them together today in the eighteenth round of the Spanish Football League “La Liga”.

With this result, Real Madrid raised its score to 43 points at the top of the standings of the Spanish League teams, and Cadiz raised its score to 14 points in 19th place.

Source: sena

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