FIFA Awards 2020: Lewandowski Joins Messi, Ronaldo On Ten Man Shortlist

 

European player of the year Robert Lewandowski is one of 10 players on the shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award unveiled Wednesday, alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe.

Besides Polish striker Lewandowski, one other winner of the Champions League with Bayern Munich made the list, Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who joined Liverpool in September.

The English champions also count Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Dutchman Virgil van Dijk on the shortlist.

Paris Saint-Germain, beaten Champions League finalists, are represented by Mbappe and Neymar.

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos complete the list.

Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, who led Leeds into the English Premier League, headlines a list for the men’s coach award, which also features Bayern’s Hans-Dieter Flick, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.

 

READ ALSO: Ibrahimovic Hints At Possible Sweden National Team Return

 

Three finalists from categories also including men and women’s goalkeepers, and women’s players and coaches will be announced on December 11, with the award handed out on December 17.

Shortlists for Best FIFA awards

Men: Thiago Alcantara (ESP/Bayern Munchen/Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich), Sadio Mane (SEN/Liverpool), Kylian Mbappe (FRA/Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona), Neymar (BRA/Paris Saint-Germain), Sergio Ramos (ESP/Real Madrid), Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (NED/Liverpool)

Women: Lucy Bronze (ENG/Lyon/Manchester City), Delphine Cascarino (FRA/Lyon), Caroline Graham Hansen (NOR/Barcelona), Pernille Harder (DEN/Wolfsburg/Chelsea), Jennifer Hermoso (ESP/Barcelona), Ji So-yun (KOR/Chelsea), Sam Kerr (AUS/Chelsea), Saki Kumagai (JPN/Lyon), Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER/Lyon), Vivianne Miedema (NED/Arsenal), Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon)

-AFP

Ramos Scores 22nd Consecutive Penalty As Madrid Beat Bilbao

ramos
Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Madrid at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on July 5, 2020. ANDER GILLENEA / AFP

 

Sergio Ramos scored his 22nd consecutive penalty on Sunday as Real Madrid held on for another 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao to inch closer to winning La Liga. 

Ramos’ fifth goal in seven games since the restart gives Madrid a seven-point lead over Barcelona, who play later on Sunday at in-form Villarreal.

Anything but a victory for Barca would probably leave them too much to do with four games remaining, especially as Madrid own the superior record head-to-head.

This was Madrid’s toughest fixture left and they might have been content even with a point against a robust, well-organised Bilbao side.

But after edging out Getafe on Thursday, through a Ramos spot-kick, Madrid repeated the trick at San Mames, their captain’s nerve from the spot combining with a gutsy display to grind out a pivotal win.

Ramos was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty himself when, off the ball, he seemed to slip and tread on the foot of Raul Garcia, but Madrid escaped.

Instead, the defender’s 10th goal of the season, the best tally of his career, gave Madrid their third 1-0 win in a row, as well as a fourth consecutive clean sheet.

“It’s a massive win,” said Ramos. “We knew today was going to be one of the biggest games that we have left. It’s always a difficult game away at Bilbao and we saw it like that. We’re happy with another crucial three points that put more pressure on Barcelona.”

Ramos said he is always confident on penalties.

“In those moments of doubt that’s when I feel most comfortable. I wanted to take the responsibility,” he said. “But if I wanted individual recognition I would play tennis.”

Bilbao’s Iker Munain said Madrid had again been lucky with decisions.

“We’re not going to win it thanks to the referees,” said Ramos. “People have to look at themselves and be critical of their own performances. Based on the points, it seems we’re doing well at the moment.”

Madrid were without key players, with Raphael Varane nursing a neck injury and Eden Hazard out with pain in his ankle.

Eder Militao replaced Varane while Marco Asensio made his first start in 14 months up front.

There were chances at both ends in the first half and Bilbao had the best of them. Williams twice went close but was denied by a block by Marcelo and then a superb tackle by Militao while Raul Garcia’s header was pushed out by Thibaut Courtois.

Karim Benzema would have had a tap-in had Dani Carvajal executed a cushioned pass across the box but his touch was too high.

Asensio’s free-kick had created the chance and he swung in two more brilliant crosses before half-time, only for Rodrygo and Benzema to miss with their heads.

The second half was tighter as both teams slowed in the heat and a more cautious contest seemed to suit Madrid, whose moment came in the 73rd minute.

Marcelo was rewarded for a lung-busting run into the box, where he reached the ball just ahead of Dani Garcia, who twisted his body into the left-back and bundled him over.

Referee Jose Gonzalez consulted VAR and awarded the penalty, which Ramos whipped into the bottom corner.

Bilbao looked tired and never really threatened an equaliser but could have been gifted one had Ramos been penalised for the clumsy collision with Raul Garcia. Ramos survived and Madrid held on.

 

 

‘I Want To Retire At Real Madrid’ – Ramos

Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos gives the thumbs up as he leaves after giving a press conference at Real Madrid’s training facilities of Valdebebas in Madrid /AFP

 

Sergio Ramos dismissed on Thursday speculation he could leave Real Madrid this summer by insisting he wants to retire at the club and has made up with president Florentino Perez.

Madrid captain Ramos called a press conference at Madrid’s training ground in Valdebebas to “end as soon as possible any rumours that have arisen”.

He continued: “I want to make my future clear, I’m a Madridista (Real Madrid fan), I want to retire here and what better way than to rebuild this team?

“The day I leave I’d like to say goodbye through the front door, by winning.”

Ramos and Perez had a heated argument in March following Madrid’s defeat by Ajax in the Champions League, and their relationship has been strained ever since.

Perez claimed in an interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero on Monday that Ramos said he had an offer to move to China but the club were unable to afford the transfer. Perez said he replied Madrid would not allow their captain to leave for free.

“I have never wanted to go to China,” said Ramos, who added he and Perez held a meeting for “reconciliation” on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: I Think Its A Goodbye, Says Chelseas Hazard

“I want to stay in the place I feel loved. Yesterday we fixed everything and we want to build the future of Madrid together.”

He added: “The president and I have a father-son relationship, we love each other very much. I do not want to leave, my dream is to retire here, in fact, I would be willing to play for free here.

“Who has not argued with their father? But the best solution is to sit face-to-face talking, with nobody else interfering. It’s been a long time since I spoke about my contract or money with Florentino.”

Real Madrid are expected to complete a deal this summer for Eden Hazard, who said “I think it’s goodbye” after Chelsea beat Arsenal to win the Europa League on Wednesday.

“Hazard seems to me a world-class player,” Ramos said. “It would be very good for Real Madrid. I don’t know, but I hope he can come.”

No Ramos-Ronaldo Rift At Real, Insists Zidane

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane shrugged off reports of a dressing room rift between captain Sergio Ramos and World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of vital derby clash at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Both sides from the capital already trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by eight points with Ronaldo complaining earlier this month that the departures of Alvaro Morata, Pepe and James Rodriguez had left Real’s squad lacking experience compared to the one that claimed a La Liga and Champions League double last season.

Ramos later described those comments as “opportunistic” and Madrid-based sports daily Marca reported this week on the rising tension between Real’s two most decorated players.

“The good thing is I can say truthfully that I have two players that will go down in the history of this club in Sergio and Cristiano. Both of them know what is at stake and they respect each other a lot,” Zidane said on Saturday.

“They are intelligent people. They have done a lot together, won a lot together and if now and again one person thinks one way and someone else another way, there is no problem.

“Everyone has their opinion. The important thing is that things are resolved inside (the club) and it is all resolved. There is no problem between Cristiano and Sergio.”

Barcelona could even stretch their advantage at the top to 11 points before kick-off in the first ever derby at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano (1945GMT) with victory earlier in the day at Leganes (1515GMT).

However, Zidane resisted labelling Saturday’s clash as a must-win for Real’s title ambitions.

“Nothing will change if Barcelona win,” added the Frenchman. “We know what we have to do. We need to perform well and play at full intensity for 90 minutes.”

Ronaldo’s profligacy has been a key factor to Real’s early season troubles. The Portuguese has just one goal in seven La Liga games so far this season.

However, he should be refreshed after skipping international duty over the past fortnight as he became a father for the fourth time.

Zidane will again have to do without the injured Gareth Bale, but was more optimistic on the Welshman’s chances of returning before the end of the year than seemed likely when he was diagnosed with a thigh problem last week.

Bale has been sidelined since September by just the latest in a series of injury setbacks that have stalled his Madrid career.

“I feel sorry for him because he wants to be fit, to help the team, and he is the first one to be annoyed by it,” said Zidane.

“It is just a matter of days and hopefully next week he will be fully recovered and fit for the rest of the season.”

AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo Crowned FIFA Player Of The Year

Cristano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo has been crowned FIFA Men’s Player Of The Year.

Ronaldo was announced winner on Monday in Zurich where the world’s best football players and coaches were recognised at the inaugural edition of “The Best Fifa Football Awards”.

The Ballon Dór winner beat Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi to win the award which was presented by FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.

“Wow. It’s incredible. It’s not the first time but this award is the first time.

“I want first to thank my team-mates, my coach. I want to thank my family, my whole staff.

“I tell you, 2016 was the best year of my career. I had a lot of doubts but the trophy showed that I lived up to that.

“After I won what I did, I had no doubts.

“It was a year that was magnificent on a personal level, on a sports level. I would like to thank very warmly everybody who voted for me.

“To the fans, to the other players, to the media: thank you,” he said.

Other winners on the night:

– The Best FIFA Women’s Player Award: Carli Lloyd.

– The Best FIFA Men’s Coach Award: Claudio Ranieri.

– The Best FIFA Women’s Coach Award: Silvia Neid.

– The FIFA Puskás Award 2016: Mohd Faiz Subri.

The FIFA Fair Play Award: Atletico National.

– The FIFA Fan Award: Dortmund fans and Liverpool fans.

– The FIFA lifetime achievement award: Falcao.

– The FIFA FIFPro World11: Neuer, Dani Alves, Pique, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Kroos, Iniesta, Messi, Suarez, Ronaldo.