Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has topped the 10th annual Goal 50 poll, handing him yet another ‘best player in the world’ accolade following an incredible 2017.
Goal 50 is run each year by Goal.com and sees more than 500 of the website’s journalists and correspondent across various languages vote for to name the best 50 players in the world.
— Goal (@goal) November 14, 2017
Goal’s Spanish language managing editor Martin Seldes said, “Ronaldo’s place at the top of the Goal 50 is deserved and one that many would find it hard to argue against. His dedication to football and his own fitness shows that despite being 32 he shows no sign of slowing down.”
Ronaldo won La Liga and Champions League titles with Real in 2016/17, with as many as nine Los Blancos players featuring on the list of 50. Luka Modric finished third in the poll standings, while Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos were also named in the top 10.
Lionel Messi finished fourth, with Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon placing second.
Ronaldo has already celebrated victory in the FIFA Best Awards in recent weeks, while he is the overwhelming favourite to land a fifth career Ballon d’Or next month. But Despite praising his achievements, Seldes was equally enthused over the genuine competition that the Portuguese faces for the title of the world’s best player.
“While Real Madrid have dominated this year’s Goal 50, we’re also seeing a number of players, other than Messi who could soon stand a chance of laying a claim to his crown, whether that’s Neymar, [Kylian] Mbappe or even Modric and Ramos – two players whose contribution to Real Madrid over the past 12 months should not be forgotten,” he explained.
As many as 16 players from the Premier League were in the Goal 50 list, including the likes of N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David de Gea. There were 15 from La Liga, including Real’s nine, seven from Serie A, six from Ligue 1 and five from the Bundesliga.
Sporting CP striker Bas Dost was the only player from outside of Europe’s ‘top five leagues’ to feature in the Goal 50 list, placing 49th overall.
Full Goal 50 List for 2017:
|1||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|3||Luka Modric||Real Madrid|
|5||Sergio Ramos||Real Madrid|
|7||Kylian Mbappe||Paris Saint-Germain|
|10||Toni Kroos||Real Madrid|
|14||Dani Alves||Paris Saint-Germain|
|15||Leonardo Bonucci||AC Milan|
|16||Thiago Alcantara||Bayern Munich|
|17||Harry Kane||Tottenham Hotspur|
|18||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Borussia Dortmund|
|19||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich|
|21||Zlatan Ibrahimovic||Manchester United|
|22||Edinson Cavani||Paris Saint-Germain|
|23||Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid|
|29||Bernardo Silva||Manchester City|
|31||Paul Pogba||Manchester United|
|33||Dani Carvajal||Real Madrid|
|34||Romelu Lukaku||Manchester United|
|35||Christian Eriksen||Tottenham Hotspur|
|36||Manuel Neuer||Bayern Munich|
|37||Dele Alli||Tottenham Hotspur|
|38||Marco Asensio||Real Madrid|
|42||Benjamin Mendy||Manchester City|
|46||David de Gea||Manchester United|
|47||Diego Costa||Atletico Madrid|
|48||Naby Keita||RB Leipzig|
|49||Bas Dost||Sporting CP|
How the GFA intervened to avoid a CAF Champions League disaster for Aduana
Libyan side Al Tahidi have finally agreed to play Ghanaian champions Aduana Stars in the second-leg of their CAF Champions League clash after rejecting Dormaa Ahenkro as Wednesday’s venue for the game.
An intervention by the Ghana FA with full assurances of a police motorcade on their journey from Kumasi to Dormaa and back ensured the Libyan reversed their threat of not playing the match.
The Libyan had threatened not to play the match in the Brong Ahafo region citing the road travelling distance from Kumasi to Dormaa Ahenkro of more than 200km violating CAF rules.
The CAF rules state that home teams must ensure that visiting teams travel by air from the capital of the country if the road journey is more than 200km.
With no airport in Dormaa Ahenkro, it is impossible to fly the team by air from Kumasi.
Al Tahidi insisted on playing the match in Kumasi or Accra where their travel would fall in line with CAF requirements or would refuse to play the match and file a protest.
The threat of not playing the match forced the Ghana FA to dispatch two of its top officials Alex Asante and Osei Tutu from Accra to Kumasi where the Libyans are based to make overtures.
The mediation by the GFA yielded results with the Libyans now agreeing to travel to play the match in Dormaa Ahenko as the home side spent millions in putting their stadium in shape.
Al Tahidi will be driven to Sunyani on Tuesday at 9am by bus in the company of a dispatch rider full with police security.
They will stay at Sunyani and train at Dormaa on Tuesday evening and come back to Sunyani from where they will travel to play the game on Wednesday.
The police dispatch rider and bus will take the Al Tahidi to Kumasi after the game from where they will be flown to Accra by African World Airlines so that they connect to Tripoli on Thursday morning at 11:30am.
This intervention by the GFA ensured that the Libyans changed their minds as the rules were stacked against Aduana. The millions spent by the owner of the club to put the stadium in shape of the match would have gone to waste and most importantly they could have lost the match in the board room.
Aduana will be seeking to overturn their 1-0 deficit from the first leg at the refurbished Nana Agyemang Badu Park with the full support of their teeming fans.
Asante Kotoko chief increases travelling allowance for players to US$ 400 each ahead CARA Brazzaville clash
Asante Kotoko players have had their travelling allowance upped from US$ 300 to US$ 400 ahead of their CAF Confederation Cup qualifier against CARA Brazzaville on Wednesday.
The team arrived in the Congolese capital on Monday and according to the club’s Twitter handle, Executive Chairman Dr Kwame Kyei paid the allowances after breakfast.
This is huge financial motivation for the players to punch above their weights to advance to the next round.
Kotoko managed a slim 1-0 win in the first leg.
Sleepless nights for Chelsea coach
Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte, says he had had trouble sleeping as his side prepare for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have won just four of their past 12 games in all competitions.
Barcelona are in contention to win the treble, and are unbeaten in La Liga, which they lead by seven points.
“This team is one of the best in the world – maybe they are favourites to win this competition,” said Conte.
“On the other hand, we must be excited because we have a great opportunity to play a massive game against a really strong team and to show which is our level,” the Italian added. “We have to try to have the perfect game.”
Chelsea lost their EFL Cup semi-final against Arsenal in January, followed by Premier League defeats by Bournemouth and Watford.
They have started to turn their poor form around, with a league win against West Brom on 12 February, followed by Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round win against Hull.
Conte’s future has been the subject of debate this season and following the Barcelona match, his side face a key game against Manchester United in the league on Sunday.
“In these days after the game in the FA Cup, I must be honest… it was a bit difficult to sleep well,” said Conte.
“When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too.”
Chelsea last beat Barcelona in 2012 in the Champions League semi-finals and went on to win the competition for the first time.
Barca’s top scorer this season, Lionel Messi, is yet to score in eight appearances against the Blues.
“We are talking about the best player in the world,” added Conte. “Messi has the capacity to solve situations, create a chance when you are not seeing the chance to score. This means we are talking about a fantastic player.”
Marcos Alonso and Ross Barkley, who have missed Chelsea’s last three games, trained on Monday, but David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko were absent.
Barcelona centre-back, Thomas Vermaelen, has travelled to London, but Philippe Coutinho is cup-tied, after playing for Liverpool in the group stages.
. Chelsea and Barcelona are facing each other for the 13th time in the Champions League, the fifth-most played fixture in the competition.
. The London club are unbeaten in their last seven Champions League games against Barcelona (won two, drawn five).
. Barcelona have won only one of their six away games against Chelsea in the Champions League and they have never kept a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
. Chelsea will attempt to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2013/14 – they are winless in their last six knockout games.
, Barcelona have reached the Champions League semi-finals only once in the last four seasons.
. Barcelona were one of four teams to remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League group stages, alongside Besiktas, Liverpool and Tottenham.
. They also have the best defensive record in the Champions League this season, conceding only one goal in six games.
. Luis Suarez has failed to score in the last 791 minutes of play in the Champions League, his longest drought in the competition.
. Eden Hazard has scored three goals and delivered two assists in his last five Champions League games.
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