Congratulations to Lionel Messi for the sixth time.

PARIS (Reuters) – Lionel Messi claimed a record sixth Ballon d’Or award on Monday, beating Liverpool’s leading nominees and Cristiano Ronaldo to lift soccer’s most prestigious individual trophy.

The Argentine, who won the Liga title with Barcelona but only managed third place in the Copa America with his country, added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 trophies.

He finished above Dutchman Virgil van Dijk and Portugal’s third-placed Ronaldo, who has won the award five times.

“I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time,” Messi told reporters. “I realize that I’m lucky even if one day it will be time to retire,” added the 32-year-old.

“It will be tough but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies so I will enjoy football and my family.”

Senegal’s Sadio Mane, who along with runner-up Van Dijk and fellow Liverpool nominees Alisson Becker of Brazil and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, helped the Merseyside club win the Champions League, came fourth in the poll of international journalists.

“It was amazing,” said Van Dijk. “There are a couple of players like him (Messi) who are fantastic. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It’s going to be tough (to win the award) when these guys are around.”

Messi, whose stellar career was rewarded with another trophy, and Ronaldo, had between them won 10 consecutive Ballon d’Or awards until Croatia’s Luka Modric prevailed in 2018.

 

INCREDIBLE YEAR

Megan Rapinoe earlier won the women’s Ballon d’Or after leading the United States to a record-extending fourth World Cup title in France this year as they retained the trophy.

The 34-year-old midfielder, the standout player at the June-July tournament, succeeded Norway’s Ada Hegerberg who did not take part in the World Cup.

Rapinoe was not present at the ceremony in the Theatre du Chatelet, where the show ‘An American In Paris’ is on.

“I’m so sad I can’t make it tonight. It’s absolutely incredible congrats to the other nominees. I can’t believe I’m the one winning in this field, it’s been an incredible year,” Rapinoe said in a recorded message.

“I want to thank my team mates and the U.S. federation.”

Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam’s thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 male player.

Alisson, one of the four Liverpool players in the top seven for the men’s Ballon d’Or, was awarded the new Yashin trophy for the best male goalkeeper of the year.

There was, however, no trophy for the best female Under-21 player or keeper.

 

SOURCE:

 

MSN

Why Suarez rates Messi as the best?

Lionel Messi proves he is the best player in the world day after day at Barcelona and “everyone knows” it to be true, says Luis Suarez.

Uruguayan striker Suarez last month celebrated the fifth anniversary of his debut for the Camp Nou giants, and since his switch from Liverpool to La Liga he has forged a devastating partnership with Messi.

This season is proving no different, with the duo contributing 14 La Liga goals between them despite Messi having missed early games of the season with injury.

 

The debate as to who is the greatest player in the world between Messi and former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, now at Juventus, has rumbled on for over a decade.

But for Suarez, there is simply nobody better than Argentinian Messi.

“Messi has helped me a lot in my personal growth,” he said. “We had an affinity from the beginning. From coexistence came friendship, and the moments I spent with him also helped on the pitch,” Suarez told Barcelona’s official website.

“Everyone knows that he is the best in the world. He has proven it and continues to prove it day after day.

“He has shown me his companionship a thousand times. He helped me when I was fighting for the Golden Boot. The other day, at Eibar, he gave me a goal.”

Despite heading into the international break at the top of La Liga, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde has found himself under pressure having seen his side drop 11 points from 12 matches this term.

Barca have a tricky period over the coming month, with Champions League fixtures against Borussia Dortmund and Inter, a trip to Atletico Madrid and the rescheduled Clasico with Madrid on December 18.

Suarez, though, is relishing what is to come.

He said:

 

“A very nice month is ahead. We like those, both as footballers and also people. There will be a Clasico too.

“You have to be mentally and physically prepared. Maybe we won’t win every game or have it easy, but we hope to do our best with the support of the fans.

“We have not had a simple league start. We gave away points that in other years we hadn’t lost, but we know that other teams are also competing well.”

 

SOURCE:

 

MSN

How Messi produced a master class with a brace against Real Villadolid.

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said he has ‘run out of words’ to describe Lionel Messi after the captain inspired a 5-1 rout of Real Valladolid.

Messi produced a masterclass with a brace and two assists as defending champions Barca moved top of the La Liga table on Tuesday.

Barca captain Messi set up Arturo Vidal with an exquisite pass before scoring a stunning free-kick – the 50th of his career for club and Argentina – prior to half-time at Camp Nou.

 

Messi netted his second of the match after the interval and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner teed up team-mate Luis Suarez as Barca climbed above Granada and Atletico Madrid atop the summit.

“What else can be said about him? I’ve run out of words,” Valverde told reporters. “We always know that he will appear, whatever the match.

“His talent isn’t comparable to anything; the reality is that every time he touches the ball, something special happens. I just don’t know what to say.”

Valverde added:

 

“He is getting closer to his best form [after injury], when Leo gets it something bad will happen to the rival.

“He has that talent that nobody has, he escapes anyone and it is not only that he can make an individual play but he does things that nobody sees.

“It happens to me sometimes, he does things that are not seen even from the crowd, every day is better.”

Although Clement Lenglet’s second-minute opener was fortuitously cancelled out by Valladolid’s Kiko Olivas 13 minutes later, Messi was able to inspire Barca against the visitors.

Barca are two points clear of Granada and Atletico Madrid – the latter of whom have played an extra match due to the postponement of El Clasico last weekend – after 10 games.

“We value very much what we do,” Valverde added. “We have in memory what we have done but we want to look forward and win this league.

“It is not easy to take the games forward, Valladolid tied against Atletico and Real Madrid and it is not easy to beat them.”

The Catalans‘ next match comes in the league at Levante on Saturday.

 

SOURCE:

 

MSN

How Messi scored his 50th free kick goals in La Liga.

Lionel Messi bent in a trademark breathtaking free kick in the first half of Barcelona’s La Liga game with Real Valladolid and set a personal milestone in the process.

Messi has now scored 50 goals direct from free kicks in his career.

The Argentina international’s strike was the Blaugrana’s third goal of the first half, following strikes by Clement Lenglet and Arturo Vidal.

Kiko Olivas had pulled Valladolid level after Lenglet’s opener, before Messi took over.

He provided a magical assist for Chile international Vidal’s second goal before putting the ball in the top right-hand corner of the goal from 30 yards.

 

He went on to score another, from open play, in the second half before another assist, this time to Luis Suarez, saw Barca get five.

The 32-year-old’s goals were his 100th and 101st for head coach Ernesto Valverde.

Messi’s now has four goals in his last three games, after an injury-hit start to the season saw him miss four of Barcelona’s first six matches.

The limited availability of their talisman saw Valverde’s men get off to a rocky start, worryingly losing twice in their opening five fixtures.

The win over Valladolid sees them leapfrog one of the teams they lost to, surprise package Granada, and ascend to the top of the Primera Division table.

A total of 44 of Messi’s free kick goals have come in the famous blue and red stripes of the Catalan icons, with the remainder coming for his country.

 

Messi is some way short of overhauling the leading free kick scorers of all time.

Former Lyon star Juninho Pernambucano banged home 77 in his career and fellow Brazilian Pele is in second place having scored 70, with another member of the Selecao, Ronaldinho tied with Victor Legrottaglie on 66.

Behind the South Americans sits David Beckham, who netted 65 goals from dead-ball situations in a career that took in spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and England.

One player Messi may overhaul sooner than later is the man in tenth place on the list, another Brazilian, Rogerio Ceni, who scored 59 in his career.

Ceni might claim his feat is more impressive than the others on the list as he made his living as a goalkeeper for Sao Paolo.

 

SOURCE:

 

MSN

How Ex-Barca coach lost her daughter.

The young daughter of ex-Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has died after a battle with cancer.
Nine-year-old Xana had been fighting osteosarcoma (bone cancer) for “five intense months,” Enrique said as he announced her death.
In a tribute on social media on Thursday, the former football manager said his daughter will be remembered “every day of our lives.”
Enrique, who also managed the Spanish national team, wrote:

“We will miss you lots but we will remember you every day of our lives, with the hope that in the future we’ll meet each other again. You’ll be the star that guides our family.
“Rest dear Xana.”

Enrique thanked those who sent well wishes over recent months for their “discretion and understanding”.

 

He also thanked the medical team who treated his daughter “for their dedication and treatment”.

 

Among those to pay tribute to Xana was Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who wrote on Twitter:

“There are no words that that can go along with this pain.

“My heartfelt wishes to Luis Enrique and all his family, after the loss of his little Xana.”

Enrique’s former club Barcelona wrote:

“Our condolences and all our sympathy for @luisenrique21 and his family at this very difficult time. RIP Xana.”

Enrique, who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid during his player career, stepped down as Spain’s manager in June.
The Spanish Football Federation said he had left the role due to a “personal matter”.

 

SOURCE:

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/sports/soccer/ex-barcelona-and-spain-manager-luis-enriques-daughter-dies-aged-nine-after-battle-with-cancer/ar-AAGwSM4?li=BBQbcGp&ocid=spartandhp

How Tite advised Neymar–“I would go to a team where I always felt happy – as a person, as a human being and as a family, because there I will be professionally better,”

Brazil coach Tite told Neymar to move to where he will be happy as the Paris Saint-Germain star is linked with a return to Barcelona.

Neymar, 27, could reportedly head back to Camp Nou just two years after leaving the LaLiga giants for PSG.

According to Globo Esporte, Barca may pay €100million and give PSG players to bring Neymar back to the club he spent four seasons at.

Tite, who is without the forward at the Copa America due to an ankle injury, urged Neymar to go where he felt happiest.

“I would go to a team where I always felt happy – as a person, as a human being and as a family, because there I will be professionally better,” he told a news conference.

“They are very particular situations. It is a professional issue. It has to do with where you feel good, where you feel happy.”

Without Neymar, Brazil opened their Copa America campaign by beating Bolivia 3-0 in Group A.

Ahead of facing Venezuela in Salvador on Tuesday, Tite was giving nothing away about his team’s approach.

“The biggest meaning and the most important thing is not to give opportunities to give the opponent an idea about how we are going to play,” he said.

“We don’t want to make it easier for the opponent, since the players know who will play.”

 

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http://www.msn.com/en-xl/sport/football/neymar-should-play-where-he-is-happiest-%e2%80%93-tite/ar-AAD2SRf?li=BBQbcGp&ocid=spartandhp

 

How Super Falcon defeats South Korea.

Nigeria got its Women’s World Cup campaign up and running after seeing off South Korea 2-0 in Grenoble Wednesday.
The Super Falcons, beaten in its opening game by Norway, bounced back courtesy of an own-goal by Korea’s Kim Do-yeun and Asisat Oshoala’s fine second half strike.
Oshoala, who won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the under-20 World Cup in 2014, underlined her reputation as one of the most exciting players in the game by sealing her team’s victory by rounding off a fine Nigerian move 15 minutes from time.

 

The 24-year-old, a three-time African footballer of the year, raced onto the Chidinma Okeke’s perfect through ball before accelerating away from her marker and rolling the ball past the goalkeeper.
“At first, I think we were a little bit scared of losing and going out,” Oshoala told the competition’s official website after the game.
“But after a while we just decided to go for it. I always say that I’m never under pressure — I just go on the pitch and do my job. It’s an 11-player game and I just look to enjoy the game, have fun and do the right thing for my team. The group is wide open now. We just have to concentrate now on making sure we get the points we need against France.”

Oshoala, who signed a three-year deal with Barcelona last month after an impressive spell on loan from Chinese club Dalian Quanjian, has enjoyed a stellar season.
During her four-month spell at Barcelona, she scored eight goals in 11 appearances and helped the club reach the Champions League final.
She also became the first African woman to play and score in the final of the competition though it was not enough to prevent a 4-1 defeat by French side Lyon Feminines.
Her goal capped a miserable afternoon for the Koreans which had gifted its opponent a 29th minute lead through Kim’s own-goal.
Its frustration was further increased when Lee Geu-min’s strike was ruled out for offside with her side trailing 1-0.

The defeat all but ends South Korea’s hopes of qualifying for the next stage after it was thrashed by host nation France in the opening game of the tournament.
It also leaves Korea, ranked 14th in the world, without a point or goal to its name.
Nigeria will take on France in its final group game on Monday while South Korea takes on Norway.

 

CULLED FROM:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/nigeria-vs-south-korea-super-falcons-claim-first-win-at-2019-womens-world-cup/ar-AACMxSO

 

How Asisat Oshoala impressed Barcelona.

Barcelona have exercised the option to sign Nigeria striker Asisat Oshoala on a permanent deal from Dalian Quanjian.

The 24-year-old initially joined Barcelona on a six-month loan deal in January following the postponement of the 2019 Chinese Women’s Super League. She went on to establish herself in the team with eight goals after 11 games in all competitions.

The Nigeria international was in fine form for Llius Cortes’ side in the Liga Iberdrola and Uefa Champions League with her attacking prowess.

Her impressive performances convinced the club to hand her a two-year contract that will keep her in Catalonia until June 2022.

Oshoala was part of Barcelona’s fairytale run to the Uefa Women’s Champions League final and scored the consolation goal in their 4-1 loss to Lyon in Budapest.

Her Champions League final appearance and goal saw her make history in elite European competition for Africa.

“Asisat Oshoala and FC Barcelona have linked a new contract until June 30, 2022, after the agreement for transfer from the club on the 1st of July between Dalian Quanjian and Dalian club,” the club announced on their website.

“The Nigerian forward, 24, arrived at Barca on January 31 as a transfer from the Chinese entity. In these four months, Oshoala has played eleven official games as a player and scored eight goals, including the first team in a Champions League final in Budapest.

“The three-time best African soccer player of the year is currently concentrated with the Nigerian national team before playing the World Cup in France, starting June 7. When the calendar so permits, the act of signing of the new Oshoala contract with Barca will take place.”

Before reuniting with her club teammates later this year, Oshoala will be aiming to inspire Nigeria in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France this summer.

 

CULLED FROM:

 

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/barcelona-complete-permanent-asisat-oshoala-162003330.html

The GOAT scored the 50th goal!!!

Another half century for the GOAT

Lionel Messi made it 50 goals for the season for just the sixth (!) time in his career on Sunday against Eibar.

The Barcelona captain scored his 49th with a low finish to make it 1-1 after 31 minutes and then a minute later brought up another landmark in some style.

 

Messi raced from the halfway line and then dinked the ball over goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic for his 50th goal in all competitions:

31′ ⚽️ Messi

32′ ⚽️ Messi

That’s 5⃣0⃣ goals for Leo Messi in all competitions this season! #EibarBarça pic.twitter.com/bddZSjCoBw
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) May 19, 2019
The Barca captain now has 36 in La Liga and will finish the season as the top flight’s top scorer. He will pick up the pichichi for a sixth time in his career and equals a record held by Telmo Zarra.

6⃣ Leo Messi equals Telmo Zarra as the player with the most Pichichi awards ⚽

2009/2010

2011/2012

2012/2013

2016/2017

2017/2018

2018/2019 pic.twitter.com/HFW1jKQAkz
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 19, 2019
Messi also looks set to win the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time this season, PSG’s Kylian Mbappe could pip him to the award but is four goals behind with a game left to play.

 

CULLED FROM:

 

http://www.msn.com/en-xl/europe/sport/messi-scores-his-50th-goal-of-the-season-clinches-sixth-pichichi/ar-AABC3Ud?li=BBQbcGp&ocid=spartanntp