Cristiano Ronaldo Celebrates Ballon d’Or with the Bernabéu Fans

RonaldoPortuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, celebrated his third Ballon d’Or with the Santiago Bernabéu fans ahead of the Copa del Rey clash with Atlético on Thursday.

Joined by James, Kroos and Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s other award-winners at the FIFA Gala, Ronaldo offered the trophy, which confirms his status as the best player in the world to the fans who have supported the team to glory.

James paraded his Puskas Award for the best goal in 2014, while Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos exhibited their accolades as members of the FIFA FIFPro World XI alongside Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed his third Ballon d’Or in Zurich on Monday beating the two other finalists Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to win the coveted prize.

Colombian, James Rodriguez, beat Robin van Persie and Ireland’s Stephanie Roche to win Goal of the Year.

The Copa del Rey clash, however, did not have a happy ending on the night.

Ramos and Ronaldo scored for the Whites, who tried everything they could to turn the knockout stage of the Copa del Rey around.

However, two early goals in either halves of the match from rejuvenated Fernando Torres condemned the Bernebeau stars to a 2-2 draw which ensured they bowed out on a 4-2 aggregate loss.

The defending champions had lost the first leg 2-0.

Christiano Ronaldo Wins 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or

RonaldoReal Madrid’s Christiano Ronaldo has been named the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.

He beat the two other finalists Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer on Monday evening to win the coveted prize.

The world player of the year was announced at a ceremony in Zurich.

Colombian, James Rodriguez beat Robin van Persie and Ireland’s Stephanie Roche to win Goal of the Year.

Germany’s Nadine Kessler won the Women’s Player of the Year Award beating Brazil’s Marta and Abby Wambach of the United States.

All three Ballon d’Or finalists were picked in the Team of the Year.

Defenders, Phillip Lahm, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos; midfielders, Andres Iniesta, Toni Kroos and Angel Di Maria and forward Arjen Robben complete the list.

Man United’s Louis Van Gaal Furious After Leicester Humiliation

Man UnitedLouis van Gaal has accused his shell-shocked Manchester United players of “throwing the game away” after their second-half collapse against Leicester City on Sunday.

Van Gaal was left stunned by a shambolic defensive performance from his reconstructed team and admitted it brought back painful memories.

Man United were looking good to achieve back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time under Louis van Gaal when leading 3-1 thanks to goals from Robin van Persie, Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera.

However, the newly-promoted side hit back with devastating effect in the second half of the match.

Goals from David Nugent, Esteban Cambiasso, Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa saw Nigel Pearson’s men fight back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to win 5-3 and pick up their first win at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League.

After two home draws against Everton and Arsenal, the Foxes were looking for a big result against a rejuvenated Man Utd side who started with Falcao, Van Persie and Wayne Rooney in attack.

Reports say Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal, gave his squad the famous Sir Alex Ferguson hairdryer treatment following the humiliating 5-3 loss.

This is according to Sky News anchor, Eamonn Holmes, who said he walked past the United dressing room after full-time and revealed that Van Gaal handed a stern dressing down.

Van Persie Tops Premier League Shirt Sale For 2013/14 Season

Robin-Van-Persie

Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie is the most popular player in the English Premier League as his name appeared most on the back of English Premier League replica shirts for the second consecutive campaign, despite a disappointing season for the Old Trafford side in 2013/14.

According to the Premier League Season Review 2013/14, Van Persie was ahead of Liverpool pair, Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, in having the most fans use his name last season.

Suarez has since moved away from Anfield, after a £75million deal with Spanish side, Barcelona, but Liverpool fans across the world previously flocked to have the Uruguayan on their replica kit.

On signing for Arsenal at the beginning of the 2012/13 season, Mesut Ozil’s reputation was plainly evident with hundreds of people pictured with the strip accompanied with the Germany star’s name ahead of his first game.

Unsurprisingly, Wayne Rooney is consistently in the top 10 and that was no different in the last campaign as the continued sale of ‘Rooney 10’ shirts goes some way to explaining why United have always been so desperate to keep the striker and only heightens the perception that the club’s global brand is as important as results.

Shinji Kagawa has shifted loads of Manchester United shirts since his move from Dortmund, largely because of the Japan midfielder’s vast appeal in Asia and not necessarily because of his on pitch form.

Others included in the top 10 shirts sale; Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who has become the main attraction in Jose Mourinho’s team; Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who missed a chunk of last season but fans still wore his shirt; Juan Mata, whose transfer from Chelsea to Old Trafford in January sparked more sales for Manchester United, and Frank Lampard, who left Chelsea on free last season and is now with Manchester City on a 6 months loan.

The ranking is based on worldwide shirt sale and is compiled by Sporting iD, who since 1993 have developed the technology behind the players and replica products of the Premier League.

THE TOP 10 SHIRT SALE
1. Robin van Persie
2. Steven Gerrard
3. Luis Suarez
4. Eden Hazard
5. Mesut Ozil
6. Wayne Rooney
7. Sergio Aguero
8. Juan Mata
9. Shinji Kagawa
10.Frank Lampard

Manchester United Secures Mega Deal With Adidas

Man unitedEnglish Premier League side, Manchester United, have signed a major kit deal with German Sport Kit giant, Adidas, in what is believed to be worth minimum of £750million over 10 years from the 2015-16 season.

The deal is a welcome boost for the club whose performances on the pitch last season were hugely disappointing and they can now look forward to fresh investment as the staggering figure is more than double the amount they get from American sport kit company and current partner, Nike.

It would be the first time in 23 years that the German Sport Kit organization has made Manchester United strip in 23 years, since the 1991-92 season.

A club statement on Monday read: “Manchester United PLC has reached a 10-year agreement with Adidas for a global technical sponsorship and dual branded licensing deal for a minimum guarantee of £750m, subject to certain adjustments, beginning with the 2015/2016 campaign.

The Group Chief Executive of Adidas, Herbert Hainer, who was excited about the deal, believes the partnership with United would help to strengthen the kit company’s position in the world

“We are excited to team up with Manchester United, one of the most successful and most loved football clubs globally.

“Our new partnership with Manchester United clearly underlines our leadership in football and would help us to further strengthen our position in key markets around the world.

“At the same time, this collaboration marks a milestone for us when it comes to merchandising potential. We expect total sales to reach £1.5billion during the duration of our partnership”, Hainer concluded.

It is believed Adidas would provide training and playing kit to all the club’s teams and would have the exclusive right to distribute dual-branded merchandising products worldwide.

Nike had released a statement, saying that it decided to end its association with the Old Trafford club at the end of the 2014-15 season claiming that eye-watering figures were being demanded.

It brings an end to a 13-year association that United have enjoyed with the sportswear giants after signing a long-term deal with the firm in 2002. Manchester United unveiled their new home kit for the 2014-15 season which would be the last designed by Nike and the first to bear the logo of new sponsor Chevrolet.

 

EPL: Wenger Expects Tough Cardiff Test For Arsenal

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger has admitted that his side will not find it easy to strengthen their grip at the top of the Premier League when they travel to Cardiff on Saturday, November 30.

The London club have enjoyed a strong start to the season, and can extend the gap at the top to 7 points for 24 hours at least, with their main rivals not in action until Sunday.

But Wenger knows that a visit to South Wales won’t be particularly easy, as Cardiff have already beaten Manchester City at home this season, and last weekend produced a late rally to snatch a 2-2 draw against Manchester United.

“They look to have a good solidarity, good togetherness, fantastic support as well, and they are all on the same wavelength in the team, very efficient at home on set pieces especially,” he told reporters at Arsenal’s training ground on Friday.

“Even on Sunday when they were 2-1 down against Man Utd, many teams could have thought ‘Ok, it’s Man Utd, we won’t come back’. You have the feeling that they don’t give up. You could feel that they could come back, so they have that special attitude and belief in the side that makes them dangerous.”

Having been criticised for his transfer dealings in the summer, Wenger believes his team are benefitting from a settled squad. In the previous two summers Wenger lost his two players – Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, and Robin van Persie to Manchester United, but there were no big departures this time around, with the added bonus that Arsenal brought in Mesut Ozil.

“We lost a few great players, one was an exceptional striker and one was an exceptional midfielder,” said Wenger.

“It hurt us twice and hit us twice in a very hard way because we struggled every time, especially at the start of the season, it took us time to come back. This was the first season where we didn’t lose a great player and that is why we have an advantage of a better start. And on top of that we bought a great player. That helped even more.”

Rodgers Slams English FA For Suarez’s 10-Match Ban

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers criticised the English Football Association (FA) for punishing the man rather than the incident after striker Luis Suarez was given a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

Rodgers compared the punishment meted out on Suarez to two other biting incidents, including one involving England striker Jermaine Defoe.

He said that Suarez acted impulsively and said the club would help him to make sure there would be no repeat.

Meanwhile, Suarez is yet to lodge an appeal against the 10-match ban as he was given till Friday 1100 GMT to lodge an appeal.

It would be recalled that the 26 year old Liverpool striker  was suspended on Wednesday after he was shown to have bitten Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic on the arm during Chelsea-Liverpool weekend clash.

With the ban placed on the striker, Suarez will be out of action for Liverpool for the rest of the season and the first six games of next season.

Suarez is the second top scorer with 23 goals in the English Premier League behind Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie.

Robin Van Persie scores fastest goal of the season

Manchester United did well on Wednesday to preserve their lead in the Premier League, thanks to Dutchman Robin Van Persie after he scored what will be the quickest goal of the season for now (That is if another goal beats the time) as he latched home the goal against West Ham after just 32 seconds in a game that ended 1-0 in favour of the Red Devils.

Defending champion Manchester City remained a point behind its neighbour thanks to a 2-0 victory at Wigan, courtesy of goals by Mario Balotelli and James Milner, but Rafa Benitez’s tough start to life as interim Chelsea manager continued with a lacklustre 0-0 home draw against Fulham.

The point at least lifted Chelsea into third place above West Bromwich Albion, which lost 3-1 at Swansea to end a four-match winning run in the league and bring the team back down to earth after its surprise start to the season.

Tottenham climbed to fifth place by beating Liverpool 2-1, with Spurs winger Gareth Bale scoring at both ends, while Arsenal was held 1-1 at Everton after also taking the lead after less than a minute through Theo Walcott.

Stoke came from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1, a fourth straight loss for the visitors, while Mark Clattenburg — the referee at the center of recent racism accusations — made his return to the middle in Southampton’s 1-1 draw at home to Norwich.

Benitez was greeted with roars of disapproval prior to his first match in charge — a 0-0 home draw with Man City on Sunday — but fans gave him a less hostile reception three days on.

Instead, there was a general feeling of apathy that lingered throughout a listless encounter at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea has clearly improved defensively under the pragmatic Benitez but the attacking spark that marked the bright start to its season has disappeared. Boos rang out at the final whistle, with Chelsea having created few clear-cut chances in front of watching owner Roman Abramovich.

“It’s still a long way to go. We have to keep going. We’ll have chances,” Benitez said.

The Spaniard needs a slice of luck that Van Persie was granted at Old Trafford, with the Netherlands striker’s shot looping up off James Collins and over stranded goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

van Persie scores against old club as Man U defeats Arsenal

Manchester United went top of the Premier League, temporarily at least, as they beat Arsenal 2-1 on Saturday.

Robin van Persie, playing against his former club for the first time, put United ahead after three minutes and Wayne Rooney missed a penalty before a Patrice Evra header midway through the second-half doubled their advantage.

Jack Wilshere was then sent off for a second yellow card as United squandered a number of opportunities to increase their advantage.

Santi Cazorla bent in superb goal in the final seconds to reduce the deficit for the visitors

Robin van Persie’s goal meant he has scored in the past three meetings between the age-long foes.

 

Van Persie’s spot-kick sinks unlucky Liverpool

Manchester United earned a much desired victory against a 10-man Reds of Liverpool at Anfield this afternoon as a Robin Van Persie late penalty did the magic for the Red Devils.

Jonjo Shelvey’s sending-off brought down the host’s team to 10 men but still managed to take the lead through Steven Gerrard’s volley seconds after the interval.

Shelvey robbed Ryan Giggs in midfield but as the ball broke free he launched himself at Jonny Evans and the inevitable outcome was a red card.

However, Rafael equalised soon after and Van Persie, one of three United players to miss from the spot this term, scored his fourth goal in as many games against the Reds – although three of those had come for former side Arsenal – nine minutes from time.

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shook hands in a show of unity before the game – the Liverpool forward had refused to shake the United defender’s hand in the league meeting between the sides at Old Trafford in February, having previously been found guilty of racially abusing Evra in the corresponding fixture at Anfield last season.

Second-half substitute Suso, making his Premier League debut three days after his first-team bow in Switzerland, saw his cross half-cleared to Glen Johnson. A tackle from Paul Scholes, on for Nani at half-time, succeeded only in diverting the ball towards Gerrard who volleyed home left-footed in front of the Kop.

It was short-lived, however, as within five minutes United were level when Shinji Kagawa laid the ball off for Rafael to brilliantly curl left-footed over Jose Reina and in off the far post.

Daniel Agger and Johnson collided to allow Antonio Valencia to race 50 yards into the area and although Johnson got back he could only bring down the Ecuador international. Van Persie drilled home – although Reina went the right way and almost made the stop.

Dimitar Berbatov completes £5m move to Fulham

Manchester United and Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov has left his Manchester United club, signing a two-year contract with the Cottagers;  Fulham.

The 31 year old joined Manchester United in 2008 for a fee of £30m from Tottenham Hotspur but he figured himself to be out of favour in terms playing time with the arrival of new signings Javier Hernandez and Robin Van Persie and the last option was to move out of Old Trafford.

The former Bulgaria international was almost signing for Serie A side Juventus, but changed his mind saying he wanted to remain in the Premier League, Fulham came in as a his English Premier League option.

Berbatov said he is delighted to have signed for Fulham and he is looking forward to playing under Martin Jol once again.

Berbatov was eager to find first-team football elsewhere as he fell down the pecking order at Manchester United, often finding himself not even included on the bench.

But the West London club have offered him a new route out of Old Trafford and the opportunity to show his talent which saw him land the Premier League’s Golden Boot in 2010-11.

Cottagers boss Martin Jol has previously worked with Berbatov during his time in charge at Tottenham Hotspur, and he told the club’s official website that Dimitar is a player he has always admired because he did so well while at Spurs with him and he hopes that history will repeat itself at Fulham.

Van Persie was underused against Everton – Ferguson

Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager on Tuesday said enough was not done to create clear-cut chances to sink Everton and that van Persie who is a new signing for the Old Trafford club was underused.

Ferguson said that his team did not use new signing Robin van Persie enough in the 1-0 defeat in their opening game of the Premier League campaign.

van Persie made a late substitute appearance in his debut for the club, but failed to register a shot on target, as the visitors found it difficult to break down a hardworking and resolute Everton side.

Ferguson had to deploy a makeshift defence with Michael Carrick at centre-back and Antonio Valencia at right-back, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans all injured, but refuses to criticise the backline despite struggling to cope with Fellaini.

Ferguson said Fellaini was handful for his team and he is a big, tall, gangly lad and his team used the height advantage to lob balls to him and the game plan paid off for Everton.

Ferguson also admitted that his Centre-back was a problem but even though they coped quite well and he doesn’t think their performance can be criticised in that respect.

Ferguson also praises goalkeeper David de Gea, who was in superb form in the first half and had made several key saves which kept the Red Devils in the game going into the break, and also stated that his team were the better side.

Manchester United had the possession and made some great openings without actually finishing it. That was the only difference. These shots on targets the goalkeeper did really well, Ferguson said.