Tag Archives: Ballon d’Or

Neymar wades into debate over which player is better – Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi

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Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi have been widely regarded as the best players in the world for a decade – winning the last 10 Ballon d’Ors between them – and debate over who is better has raged for just as long.

Their statistics on goal scoring and trophies won are phenomenal, and it often comes down to a matter of personal preference. And its seems that Paris St-Germain striker Neymar – regarded as the player most likely to take over their mantle as world’s best player at some point – has thrown his weight behind Ronaldo in this debate.

“I respect him [Ronaldo] a lot for the history he has made,” Neymar said. “He is the benchmark for someone like me. He has spent the last 10 years at the top, like Messi, and we all aspire to be as good as them.”

Neymar played with Messi at Barcelona, but one of the reasons thought to be behind his £198 million transfer to PSG last summer was that he was frustrated at being in Messi’s shadow. Of course, he is now the main star at PSG.

There have also been rumours that Neymar could be on his way to Real Madrid in the summer, so he may want to keep their main man onside.

Harry Kane the only British name on 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist

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Tottenham Hotspur and England striker Harry Kane is the only British player to make the 30-man shortlist for the prestigious Ballon d’Or – although plenty of other Premier League players have made the cut.

Kane has been in superb form in 2017, scoring 43 goals in 37 games for club and country, and has established himself as England’s number one striker.

But he is the only British name there. Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale – a fixture on the list in recent years – misses out after a season plagued by injury. Jamie Vardy, who made last year’s list, isn’t included after a mediocre year for Leicester City.

Perhaps one English player to be disappointed to miss out is Kane’s team-mate Dele Alli, who has had a stellar 12 months that have seen him establish himself as a star in the Premier League and an automatic pick for England.

But the Premier League is well-represented in the shortlist, with 6 players included. They are: Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane from Liverpool, Chelsea midfielders Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, Manchester United stopper David de Gea and Manchester City’s midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

The favourites for the award are, as usual, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have shared the past 9 awards between them – Messi leads 5-4 – with Paris St-Germain pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe also likely to be in contention.

The other nominees are: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Edin Dzeko (Roma), Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Isco (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) and Luis Suarez (Barcelona).

Cristiano Ronaldo sells one of Ballon d’Ors and makes £500,000 for charity

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has auctioned a replica of one of his Ballon d’Or trophies – and raised £530,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation charity.

Ronaldo donated his 2013 replica to the charity auction held in London last weekend, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.

The trophy was bought by billionaire Idan Ofer – Israel’s richest person – and all of the money raised will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with terminal or life-threatening medical conditions.

Ronaldo has a long history of giving to charity, and has donated to Save the Children, Unicef and World Vision over the years. In 2015, he was named the world’s most charitable sportsman.