Ronaldo, Mane Missing As EPL Unveils Player of The Season Nominees

File COMBO of the shortlisted EASports Player of the year 2021/2022 awards nominees

 

EA SPORTS on Friday unveiled nominees for the 2021/2022 Premier League Player of the Season award and surprising exclusions were Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s forward Sadio Mane.

Ronaldo, who won the Premier League Player of the Month for April, and Mane – a key man in Liverpool’s quadruple-chasing side – did not make the cut in a list that included Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a shining light in United’s dismal season with 18 goals in 30 league matches. He has also twice been named as the Premier League’s player of the month. Similarly, the Senegalese star has scored 15 goals in 33 league appearances as the Anfield club bid for the unprecedented quadruple. His Liverpool teammates Mohammed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been important to Jurgen Klopp team’s blistering form this season.

File COMBO of Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Salah, who was  2017/18 EA SPORTS Player of the Season and also the leader in the Golden Boot race with 22 goals, was shortlisted for the prize. Arnold, on the other hand, has contributed at both ends of the pitch, dominating the right flank for the second-best defence in 2021/22 as well as scoring two goals and setting up 12 more, the second-most of all players.

The shortlist also included Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Jaoa Cancelo. Both have also been vital to Guardiola’s dream of lifting a consecutive Premier League title. The 2019/20 winner is aiming to be only the fourth player to claim more than one EA SPORTS Player of the Season award.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who has been important to the side’s resurgence with 21 goals – only one behind Salah in the Golden Boot race – is also in the running for the top award. 

Having been a key part of a top-four chasing Arsenal, Saka’s contributions to the Gunners this season were rewarded with a nomination. 

Also included in the shortlist is Jarrod Bowen. He is the second West Ham United player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in a Premier League season. Bowen scored 10 and set up 10, justifying his inclusion on the list.

James Ward-Prowse completes the list of nominees for the award. He has been an unsung hero in the heart of the midfield for Southampton. The Saints have caught the eye with some magnificent performances leading to nine goals. Five of them came from trademark direct free-kicks.

Ronaldo Becomes First Player To Finish As Top Scorer In England, Spain And Italy

Ronaldo
Ronaldo has so far scored 81 Serie A goals in 97 appearances. Photo: [email protected]

 

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Serie A Golden Boot, becoming the first player to claim the highest scorer’s gong in three of Europe’s top five leagues – Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A.

The Portuguese skipper netted 29 goals for the Old Ladies to also earn him the accolade as the first Juventus player to achieve the feat since the 2007/2008 campaign.

He is also the third Juventus player to have won the award following in the footsteps of French star, David Trezeguet and Italian legend, Del Piero.

The 36-year-old was absent as the Bianconeri won their last game of the season on Sunday (1-4 against Bologna) to sneak into the Champions League after Inter Milan had ended their nine-year dominance in Italy.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Make Champions League Despite Loss To Aston Villa 

This is Ronaldo’s first time winning the Capocannoniere following his move to Italy from Spanish giants, Real Madrid.


The former Manchester United forward had won the Pichichi on three occasions during his spell with Real Madrid.

In the 2010-11 season, he scored 40 goals as his side finished runners up to Barcelona and was also the top scorer in the league for the 2013-14 campaign when he netted 31 times.

During the 2013-2014 season, his goals pushed Real to winning the Champions League and he also succeeded in scooping the Ballon d’Or award for the second time in his career. His devastating showing that year also led him to win the La Liga Best Player award.

The following season, Ronaldo again, claimed the top scorer’s award. He scored 48 goals during that La Liga campaign.

Before teaming up with Real Madrid, the 2016 Euro winner had finished as the highest goal scorer in the English Premier League. That was during the 2007-2008 term when he struck 31 times for Manchester United, to help them win the Champions League.

His fine form which culminated in 42 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils during the period also got him his maiden Ballon d’Or prize.

Ibrahimovic Rescues Point For AC Milan As Juve, Inter Also Held

AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic gestures during the UEFA Europa League first round day three Group H football match between AC Milan and Lille (LOSC) at the Meazza stadium in Milan on November 5, 2020.
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty before scoring a late equaliser as Serie A leaders AC Milan salvaged a point in a 2-2 Serie A draw against Hellas Verona on Sunday to let rivals Juventus and Inter Milan off the hook after both were held 1-1 in earlier games.

“I’ll let Franck Kessie take the next one, that would be better,” said Ibrahimovic, who has now missed four of the last six penalties he has taken for AC Milan.

Stefano Pioli’s side are top of Serie A with a two-point advantage on second-placed Sassuolo, who were held to a goalless draw against Udinese on Friday.

Champions Juventus drop to fifth, four points behind the leaders after Lazio’s Felipe Caicedo scored five minutes into injury time to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half goal.

Inter Milan and Atalanta also shared the spoils in Bergamo after Aleksey Miranchuk scored on his first Serie A start for the hosts to cancel out Lautaro Martinez’s header.

Milan had the chance to pull four points clear at the top of the table in the final match before the international break.

But the leaders were two goals down in the San Siro after Antonin Barak opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Milan defender Davide Calabria bundled into his own goal quarter of an hour later.

Ibrahimovic had a chance for the equaliser after 66 minutes, after Verona defender Giangiacomo Magnani’s own goal had reduced the deficit for the hosts.

But the 39-year-old embarrassingly fired over the crossbar before redeeming himself deep into injury time by heading in his eighth league goal this season.

“With so many matches you are not always 100 percent,” said the veteran Swedish striker.

“It was important not to lose. Thank goodness there is a break now, so I rest a little.”

Milan avoided a first league defeat after their 24-match unbeaten run was ended with a Europa League loss to Lille during the week.

Napoli move third after a Victor Osimhen header sealed a 1-0 win over Bologna.

Roma are equal on points with Napoli, both one point ahead of Juventus, after a Henrikh Mkhitaryan hat-trick delivered a 3-1 win at Genoa.

 

 

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during the Italian Serie A football match between Lazio (SSL) and Juventus (JFC) , at the Olympic stadium in Rome on November 8, 2020.
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

– Ronaldo ‘crucial’ for Juve –

Earlier Juventus once again demonstrated how dependent they are on Portuguese star Ronaldo, letting three points slip after he limped off with an ankle injury with 15 minutes to go.

“Ronaldo is a crucial player,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

The 35-year-old had scored his sixth goal in four games and had further chances for a second, rattling the post before Pepe Reina tipped a free-kick over the bar.

Caicedo, who came on early in the second half, once again had the final word.

He picked up a Correa cross and swivelled to fire in the equaliser as Juventus drew for the fourth time in seven league games.

Caicedo also scored in the midweek 1-1 Champions League draw at Zenit Saint-Petersburg and the winner in last weekend’s 4-3 victory at Torino.

“We played like Juventus for 93 minutes and 45 seconds, but then we conceded a goal because we eased off,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci who played his 400th game for Juventus.

Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio, embroiled in coronavirus chaos with star striker Ciro Immobile back in isolation after playing last weekend, are ninth, six points off the leaders.

“This team has heart, difficulties are part of our DNA,” said Inzaghi.

The Roman club are being investigated by the Italian football federation for possible Covid violations after UEFA blocked some players from Champions League games at Club Brugge and Zenit after testing positive.

– Inter lack ‘killer instinct’ –

Both Inter and Atalanta missed the chance to close the gap on the leaders days after Champions League defeats to Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively.

Former Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Miranchuk came off the bench just before the hour and scored 19 minutes later in his first game for the home side.

Romelu Lukaku returned from a thigh strain, playing the final quarter of an hour, but could not find a winner for Inter.

“We’re lacking a bit of the killer instinct to take home games,” said coach Antonio Conte, whose side are seventh just behind Atalanta.

-AFP