‘Messi Is A Genius’: Yobo Picks Barcelona Star Over Ronaldo

A file photo combination of Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona playmaker, Lionel Messi.
A file photo combination of Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Barcelona playmaker, Lionel Messi.

 

Former Super Eagles skipper, Joseph Yobo says he prefers Barcelona star, Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo, describing the Argentine as a “genius.”

Ronaldo and Messi, who have been one of football’s greatest rivals for over a decade, faced off in the Spanish La Liga between 2009 and 2018.

Either of the two has won eleven out of the last twelve Ballon D’or awards, with fans and pundits alike divided on who is the greater.

And Yobo who is the Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles is pitching his tenth with Messi whom he said never left people in doubt as to his potentials when he started playing the game.

The former Everton man spoke on Monday in an Instagram live chat with Channels TV, saying the 2005 U-20 World Cup winner is naturally talented.

While Ronaldo is a great footballer who has over the years trained himself to become one of the best in the game, Yobo said he would pick Messi ahead of the former Manchester United forward.

“I have played against him [Messi] a couple of times and knew that he was one player who could become invisible when he was there,” he said. “Ronaldo, we have to also give him credit because he built himself to who he is today. I played against him in England; he wasn’t the Ronaldo of today.

“But Messi, people have seen his talent from when he came on board. So, he is a special player. Messi, basically, is a genius. He is just a genius.”

Yobo added that he fears that it would take many years before a footballer like Messi emerges, stressing also that the game won’t remain the same when the duo retire.

He said: “I don’t know if in football we would see another player like Messi in many years to come. I hope so. Another fear that I have is: when Messi and Ronaldo leave the stage, what happens to football?”

While admitting that Ronaldo and Messi are “unique players,” he restated that he “will pick Messi” over the Portugal captain.

Messi Has To Win World Cup To Be Better Than Me – Ex-Brazilian Star Edilson

(FILE) Argentine forward Lionel Messi gestures during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on February 2, 2020. LLUIS GENE / AFP.

 

 

Former Brazilian star, Edilson says Lionel Messi has to win the World Cup to prove he is better than him.

The 49-year-old was part of the Brazilian side that won the Japan/Korea 2002 World Cup title.

He also claimed that during his prime, he was better than Messi and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Similarly, Edilson said compatriot Neymar has to win the competition to be better than him, insisting that he was more skillful than the trio.

Messi and Ronaldo have won 11 of the last 12 Ballon d’Or and have a number of individual prizes to their names.

But Edilson, who played for Palmeiras and Corinthians in his home country and was never nominated or won the Ballon d’Or, stressed that his World Cup medal gave him an edge over them.

“At my best, I played better than Neymar,” he was quoted as telling TV Bandeirantes.

He added, “He (Neymar) needs to win the World Cup in order to be better than me. I have personality, and for Messi to be better than me, he also has to win the World Cup.”

For Ronaldo, Edilson believes the Portuguese is good with both feet and has strength but still does not match his skills.

Messi played the final match of the 2014 World Cup with Argentina where his side lost narrowly to Germany one to nil in Brazil.

Ronaldo and Neymar have also made it to the semi-final of the competition with their respective nations.

Liverpool Coach Says He Prefers Messi To Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Returns To Italy After COVID-19 Lockdown

FILES) In this file photo taken on December 26, 2018 Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo looks on from the substitutes’ bench prior to the Italian Serie A football Match Atalanta Bergamo vs Juventus at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium in Bergamo. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP.

 

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo flew back to Italy on Monday after almost two months in coronavirus lockdown in his native Portugal.

Ronaldo and his family landed in Turin Airport just after 10.20pm local time, according to media reports in Italy.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived by private jet from the Portuguese island of Madeira and will spend two weeks in quarantine.

The 35-year-old played Juventus’s last Serie A game, a 2-0 win over Inter Milan behind closed doors at the Allianz Stadium on March 8, before the Italian football season was suspended amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed over 29,000 people in the country.

Ronaldo returned to Madeira after the Inter Milan match to be close to his mother Dolores who had suffered a stroke.

Juventus have recalled their 10 overseas players as Serie A clubs were given the green light to return to individual training on Monday.

The Italian interior ministry’s go-ahead for players to return to club training facilities two weeks ahead of schedule has offered fans hope that the 2019-20 season might yet be salvaged.

Juventus are leading Serie A, one point ahead of Lazio, as they target a ninth consecutive Scudetto.

The club has not yet given an official date for a return to training.

Juventus began carrying out tests on their players at the club’s medical centre in Turin on Monday.

The first to arrive were Federico Bernardeschi, Juan Cuadrado, Carlo Pinsoglio, Leonardo Bonucci and Aaron Ramsey, all wearing face masks.

Juventus are also waiting the return to Turin of Dutch centre-back Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who returned to France after recovering from the virus.

Gonzalo Higuain remains in Argentina where he returned to be with his sick mother.

AFP

COVID-19: Ronaldo, Portugal Squad Give Amateur Clubs Financial Boost

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during a press conference on October 21, 2019 in Turin, on the eve of Juventus’ UEFA Champions League stage Group D match against Lokomotiv Moscow. Marco Bertorello / AFP.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates have donated half of their bonus for qualifying for the Euro 2020 finals to help amateur football in the country that has been hit by the coronavirus shutdown.

The Portuguese football federation said on Monday the money would go towards a fund that it hopes will reach 4.7 million euros ($5.1 million) to help amateur clubs survive the crisis.

The federation last week decided to end the already-suspended amateur season with immediate effect, declaring the season null and void without champions, promotion or relegation.

No decision has been taken on resuming professional football but the president of the Portuguese league said in late March he was determined the season should be completed.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: The Weeks That Rocked Sport

“It is fundamental that the championships end because it would allow some sort of normality to be restored and we could prepare for next season knowing who has qualified for international competitions, who the champions are and who is relegated,” Pedro Proenca said.

Portugal shocked host nation France to win Euro 2016 but Ronaldo and his teammates will have to wait another year to defend their title as Euro 2020 has been postponed by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP

Ronaldo Misses Training, Visits Stroke-Stricken Mother

FILES) In this file photo taken on December 26, 2018 Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo looks on from the substitutes’ bench prior to the Italian Serie A football Match Atalanta Bergamo vs Juventus at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium in Bergamo.   AFP

 

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo skipped training with his Italian club Juventus on Tuesday to dash to the Madeira home of his mother, victim of a stroke, local press reported.

“All we can say is that he’s not at training for personal reasons,” Juventus told AFP, without giving further details.

According to the Diario de Noticias da Madeira, Ronaldo was expected to make a whistlestop return to Funchal, capital of the Portuguese island lying in the Atlantic, arriving Tuesday afternoon but departing Wednesday in good enough time to be available for the Italian Cup semi-final between Juve and AC Milan.

Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro suffered the stroke early Tuesday. The 65-year-old is now reportedly conscious and in a stable condition in a Funchal hospital.

Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic Set For Italian Cup Clash

A photo combination of Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are set to go head-to-head in Thursday’s Italian Cup semi-final, first leg between Juventus and AC Milan at the San Siro.

Both Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic scored at the weekend in defeats as Juventus fell 2-1 at Hellas Verona, while AC Milan threw away a two-goal lead in a 4-2 defeat by city rivals Inter.

“It wasn’t the result we wanted,” said the 35-year-old Ronaldo despite becoming the first Juventus player to score in 10 successive league games, just one game short of the Serie A record.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season.

Ibrahimovic, 38, has scored three goals since returning to Milan last month.

The Swede headed in the second goal on Sunday after setting up the first, but Inter hit back with four second-half strikes.

“I showed that I can still make a difference, even at 38,” he said.

But Inter striker Romelu Lukaku will be looking to upstage the two other former Manchester United players against Napoli in the other last-four first leg on Wednesday.

Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli, despite their current slump, ousted holders Lazio in the quarter-finals.

“There’s a new king in town,” a jubilant Lukaku wrote on Twitter after scoring the fourth goal for Inter in Sunday’s derby.

“We run this town.”

The Belgian was replying to Ibrahimovic’s pre-derby post saying that “lions don’t compare themselves to humans”.

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has reason to be worried by his side’s away form, with the defending Serie A champions having lost their last two games on the road.

“I hope that someone will help me, it’s something we have to resolve,” Sarri said after the loss to Verona.

“Right now we have a difference in performance between home and away.”

Juventus are bidding to reclaim the trophy which they held for four seasons until losing to eventual runners-up Atalanta in the quarters last year.

Antonio Conte’s Inter are the only one of the four semi-finalists to win in Serie A at the weekend, with Napoli crashing to a 3-2 defeat by lowly Lecce.

Inter’s victory lifted them ahead of Juventus on goal difference at the top of the table, as they target their first Scudetto since 2010.

The second-leg ties will take place on March 4 and 5.

AFP

Comparing Fernandes To Ronaldo Unfair, Says Solskjaer

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday that it would be unfair to compare new signing Bruno Fernandes to Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 25-year-old followed the path first made famous by five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo in 2003 when he joined United from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

Solskjaer said that Fernandes would play a part in Saturday’s game against Wolves at Old Trafford, but warned against comparing him to his illustrious compatriot.

“Cristiano is unique so to compare the boy to him is not fair. Obviously we hope Bruno is going to come and have a fantastic career at Manchester United,” he said.

“He is another piece in the jigsaw and I am sure he is going to give us that X-factor that we have been missing at times this season.”

Fernandes said after signing that his “love of Manchester United” started while watching Ronaldo play for the club.

United were finally able to land Fernandes after chasing him for several months and Solskjaer says the Portugal international reminds him of former teammate Paul Scholes with his ability to make goalscoring runs from deep and provide assists.

Fernandes, who will wear Scholes’ old number 18 shirt, scored eight goals and set up six others for Sporting in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season.

“Bruno is a goalscoring and assisting midfield player, a little bit like Paul Scholes,” Solskjaer added.

“He can strike a ball fantastically and he’s got wonderful technique. He will also get assists from set plays and with his range of passing.”

Scholes won 11 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and a host of other medals during two spells with United across the Alex Ferguson era.

“He’s a similar type to Scholes, fiery as well, with the same number on his shirt,” Solskjaer said.

“Bruno can do absolutely everything. He can play as one of three in midfield, as a number 10, he can play in off the wing, he can play in a diamond. But we will give him the time to find his best position.

“Of course we bring him in to play and we believe in him. But we are going to give him time to settle down in a new country and a new league with new teammates.”

Fernandes has arrived with United fifth in the Premier League, six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who they play in their first game back after the winter break.

United are also through to the Europa League last 32 against Club Brugge and are still in the FA Cup.

Now the transfer window is shut, Solskjaer is ready to focus on the last three months as he tries to salvage a troubled season.

“I’m happy and confident that these players will keep improving. You cannot control results but of course, we are going to fight for a higher position in the league and trophies in the cups,” he said.

AFP

Lionel Messi Wins Ballon D’or For Sixth Time

(COMBO) This combination of file photographs created on December 3, 2019, shows Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacting as he receives the Ballon d’or Football Trophy. Messi won a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or on December 2, 2019.  AFP

 

Lionel Messi won a record sixth men’s Ballon d’Or award at a ceremony in Paris on Monday, beating Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to take the honours.

Now aged 32, it is Messi’s first Ballon d’Or since 2015 and his sixth overall as he moves one ahead of his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished third in the voting.

Messi, who attended the ceremony at the Chatelet Theatre in the French capital with his wife and children, succeeds Luka Modric, the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder who won the prize last year.

The Barcelona number 10 previously won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012 before claiming his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015.

READ ALSO: Megan Rapinoe Wins Women’s Ballon D’or

This latest honour comes after he also claimed FIFA’s equivalent award, The Best, in September.

“It is 10 years since I won my first Ballon d’Or here in Paris and I remember coming here with my three brothers, I was 22 and it was all unthinkable for me what I was going through,” Messi said on stage.

“Now ten years on this is my sixth, in a very different time, very special in my personal life with my wife and three children.”

The Argentine added: “I am aware of the age I have but I hope I have several years left to keep enjoying my football and doing this.”

Sadio Mane, another of the stars of the Liverpool side that won the Champions League, came fourth in the ranking for the prize voted for by 180 journalists from around the world.

Messi has scored 46 goals in 54 matches so far in 2019 and netted 36 times in total in 34 La Liga matches last season as Barcelona won the Spanish crown.

AFP

Ronaldo Rescues A Point For Juve Against Sassuolo

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored from the spot to rescue a 2-2 draw for Juventus at home against Sassuolo to leave the way open for Inter Milan to claim top spot in Serie A later on Sunday.

Leonardo Bonucci had scored early for the eight-time reigning Serie A champions but Jeremie Boga and Francesco Caputo hit back for Sassuolo before Ronaldo’s point-saving intervention.

Juventus have a two-point lead on top of Serie A but now can be overtaken by Inter Milan, who host struggling SPAL.

Sassuolo claimed their first-ever point at Juventus and handed Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten champions their third draw of the season.

The side from Emilia-Romagna, are 12th in the table.

Ronaldo started upfront for Juventus, having missed last weekend’s league game with a slight knee problem, with Champions League hero Paulo Dybala starting on the bench.

Eighteen-year-old Stefano Turati made an impressive debut in the Sassuolo goal, and pulled off a string of fine saves, denying Ronaldo, Higuain and Dybala late.

But Juventus counterpart Gianluigi Buffon had a difficult game in Turin as the 41-year-old, making just his fifth start this season, had a role in Caputo’s goal just after the break.

Bonucci had gotten Juventus off the mark with a long-range effort on 20 minutes.

But three minutes later Boga pounced on a Caputo cross sending in past an out-rushing Buffon from an angle.

Back after the break Caputo added a second for the visitors following a mix-up between Juan Cuadrado and Matthijs De Ligt in the Juventus defence, with Buffon then fumbling the effort as it slipped into the back of the net.

Turati got down low to deny Higuain after getting his hand to send a Ronaldo free kick over the bar.

Ronaldo’s penalty pulled the hosts level on 68 minutes after Filippo Romagna fouled substitute Dybala.

It was the Portuguese star’s fifth Serie A goal this season.

Later, Inter host SPAL with third-placed Lazio at home against Udinese and city rivals Roma at Verona.

Defending Champions Portugal Qualify For Euro 2020

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates with team members after scoring a goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group B qualification football match between Luxembourg and Portugal at the Josy Barthel Stadium in Luxembourg on November 17, 2019.
JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 99th international goal as reigning champions Portugal secured their place at the Euro 2020 finals on Sunday with a 2-0 victory away to Luxembourg.

Bruno Fernandes struck the opening goal on 39 minutes before Ronaldo tapped in a scrappy second late on to clinch second place in Group B behind winners Ukraine, who drew 2-2 in Serbia.

Portugal became the 17th nation to qualify for next year’s multi-host tournament, which kicks off in Rome on June 12, joining the likes of world champions France, Spain, Italy, and England.

“We can’t give the match-high marks for style,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who admitted the heavy pitch made life challenging for his team.

READ ALSO: AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Nigeria Fight Back To Beat Lesotho

“I’m very happy for my players because the qualifying campaign has been more difficult than we expected.

“We’re through to the finals of a major tournament for an 11th straight time. You’ve got to believe in these players.”

Portugal knew they would book their place at Euro 2020 with a win or by matching Serbia’s result from their game in Belgrade.

But they were made to work hard by a Luxembourg team ranked 96th in the world that notably held France to a 0-0 draw in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Sporting Lisbon midfielder Fernandes broke the deadlock before half-time, controlling Bernardo Silva’s pinpoint pass expertly before lashing in from 20 yards.

Ronaldo, who smacked in a hat-trick in Thursday’s 6-0 thrashing of Lithuania, moved to the brink of his international century four minutes from time.

Silva’s far-post cross was forced towards goal by Diogo Jota, with Luxembourg goalkeeper Anthony Moris getting a hand to the ball before Ronaldo turned in from the goalline.

Iranian striker Ali Daei holds the world record with 109 international goals scored between 1993 and 2006.

AFP

Ronaldo Happy With ‘More Attacking’ Juventus

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during a press conference on October 21, 2019 in Turin. Marco Bertorello / AFP

 

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo gave coach Maurizio Sarri a vote of confidence on Monday when he said he was happy with the “more attacking” approach the club had adopted since Sarri came on board in the summer. 

“I think the team is getting better,” said Ronaldo on the eve of Juve’s Champions League Group D meeting with Lokomotiv Moscow.

“We are getting more and more confident. We are playing a different brand of football, more attacking.

“I like the way he (Sarri) wants the team to play. We are creating more opportunities, we have more confidence in ourselves, I’m happy with these changes.

“Maybe we could score a little more but I’m proud of what we are doing.”

So far this season, Ronaldo has scored five goals in nine games and was on target at the weekend when Juventus beat Bologna 2-1 to consolidate top spot in Serie A.

“My role hasn’t changed, perhaps I have a bit more freedom,” he said.

“I am happy because, bit by bit, we are getting to where Juventus ought to be. We have a difference coach, a different system, new players. We changed in order to improve.”

Last week, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored his 700th career goal while playing for Portugal.

“That’s already in the past. I want to move on, reach new heights to help the team. I want to play and help the team win trophies.

“Of course I am proud of the individual records but the priority is to win games for Juventus and Portugal.”

The Italian champions top Group D in the Champions League having drawn with Atletico Madrid and beaten Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in the last round of games.