Tag Archives: Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo claims fifth Balon d’Or and is proclaimed best ever by Zinedine Zidane

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Zinedine Zidane has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest player of all time, after the Real Madrid star picked up his 5th Balon d’Or.

Ronaldo’s win in the annual poll – his second in successive years – takes him level with his great rival Lionel Messi in most wins. He also won the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014.

The Ballon d’Or is voted for by 173 journalists from around the world, and has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956.

But Ronaldo’s record makes him the best ever, according to Zidane, who won the Balon d’Or himself in 1998.

“The stats speak for themselves,” he said. “He’s the best player in the history of football.

“He’ll always be up here for me. Many things have been said about him, and what he does out on the field every match is phenomenal.

“The other day I said that a player could come here and stay for 15 or 20 years and he’ll never do what he’s done. He’s made history at the club and will continue to do so and I hope he’ll retire here.”

Ronaldo, 32, has scored 418 goals in 412 games for Real, winning three Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles. He also captained Portugal to the Euro 2016 title. While his league form has been patchy this season, in the Champions League he became the first player to score in all 6 group games.

After winning the award, Ronaldo posted a message on Instagram saying: “Another dream come true. Unbelievable feeling. Thanks to my family, friends, teammates, coaches and everyone that stood by my side throughout the years.”

Lionel Messi signs new Barcelona contract with ridiculous buy-out clause

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Lionel Messi has signed a new contract that will keep him at the Camp Nou until the end of the 2020/21 season and it has a buy-out clause of €700 million (£626 million).

The deal means that, at the end of the deal, Messi will have been at Barcelona for more than 20 years. Messi, 30, joined the club as a 13-year-old.

In his time at Barcelona Messi has made 602 appearances and scored 523 goals. He has helped Barca to win 8 La Liga titles and 4 Champions Leagues.

Messi has also won 4 European Golden Shoe awards – the most recent coming on November 24, in recognition of his 37 goals in the Spanish league last season.

Barca officials had initially announced Messi had signed a new deal in July, but it quickly emerged that wasn’t the case and led to speculation that he could leave. However, this new deal – and massive buy-out clause – should put those rumours to bed.

A statement from the club said Messi’s signing would be “music to the ears of all Barca fans.”

Neymar told Barcelona teammates about exit at Messi’s wedding, says Xavi

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Neymar dropped the bombshell that he was leaving Barcelona for Paris St-Germain while he was attending Lionel Messi’s wedding this summer, his former teammate Xavi has revealed.

The Brazilian striker moved to PSG for a world record fee of £200 million last summer, in a saga that lasted most of the window. Neymar was at Barca for 4 years, two of those with Xavi, who moved to Qatari side Al Sadd in 2015.

But he chose to tell his then teammates about his impending departure at Messi’s wedding – nothing like pulling focus from the happy couple – in July, Xavi told the World Football Show on the BBC World Service.

“He said to us at Messi’s wedding that he wanted to change club,” Xavi said. “I said to him but why? He said ‘I am not happy in Barcelona, I prefer to leave, to have a new experience in Europe at PSG’ and finally he did, it was his decision, we must respect it.”

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).

Manchester City reportedly ready to make world record move for Lionel Messi if Barcelona deal stalls

Manchester City could mount a sensational world-record bid for Barcelona star Lionel Messi, if he doesn’t put pen to paper on a new contract at the Camp Nou.

In July, Barca officials announced that a deal to keep Messi at Barcelona until 2021 had been done. However, it seems that announcement jumped the gun as, three months on, the deal has not been signed and there are more than just a few formalities to be sorted out, according to a report in Spanish newspaper Marca.

Should talks not prove fruitful, Manchester City could come in with a bid. Marca reports a potential €400 million (£356.5 million) offer, which would dwarf the current world record £198 million Paris St-Germain paid to Barca in the summer for Neymar.

Unnamed sources close to City say that “serious conversations have been held with the footballer’s inner circle,” although this remains confirmed, Marca add.

However, it should be remembered that this report has appeared in Marca, which is associated with Barca’s great rivals, Real Madrid – so should be taken with a pinch of salt, especially with unnamed sources quoted. Likewise, it is known that Messi and his family are settled in Barcelona and he has not fallen out with the club in any way. In addition, the club are still saying that the deal is complete.

So, while this is speculation and just that, let’s just dream of what it would be like to have Messi in the Premier League.