Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or award for world’s best player for fifth time

Barcelona’s Argentinian
superstar, Lionel Messi, has beaten Cristiano Ronaldo and
Neymar to win FIFA’s Ballon d’Or award for the fifth time.

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Lionel Messi described his
record fifth Ballon d’Or as a “very special moment” after
receiving the iconic trophy at FIFA’s annual Gala in Zurich,
Switzerland.With 41% of the vote from national team captains, coaches and selected journalists, to finish ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, to claim his first going in since the 2012 ceremony.

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Messi helped Barcelona to a Spanish league, domestic cup and
Champions League treble plus the Club World Cup and also led
Argentina to the Copa America final, where they lost to
Germany.

“It’s incredible, much more than anything I dreamed of as a kid,
I want to thank my team-mates, without them none of this
would have been possible,” said Messi after receiving the award.

Jill Ellis, coach of the U.S. women’s team, and Luis Enrique,
coach of FC Barcelona, won the top coaching awards.United States World Cup winner Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the final against Japan, was named women’s player of the year.

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Wendell Lira upsets Lionel
Messi for FIFA Puskas Award
for goal of the year.Despite scoring goal of the year he’s fighting for a job in Brazilian Serie C.

Messi’s 2015 in numbers-

1) 61 games, 52 goals and 26 assists.
2) A goal every 101 minutes and an assist every 202 minutes.
3) Directly involved in 49 goals in La Liga – 34 scored and 15
assists – which was the joint-most with Ronaldo in 2015
across the top five European leagues.
4) Scored in all six club tournaments in 2015, as Barcelona
won five of them.

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17 players not even born when Totti made his Serie A debut!

A debutant under Vujadin Boškov in 1993, Francesco Totti has spent his
entire playing career at Roma. “Roma is everything to me,
everything a person can want: passion, love, joy – the team I
have always supported and always will,” he once told
UEFA.com.

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“I am 38 but I don’t feel it,” Totti told UEFA.com upon becoming the oldest goalscorer in UEFA Champions League history last term. He turned 39 on 27 September 2015 and is still going strong.

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Francesco Totti greets a derby victory against Lazio last season

These 17 players not even born when Totti made his Serie A debut-
1)Romelu Lukaku( Everton)
2)Emre Can (Liverpool)
3) Memphis Depay (Man United)
4) Eric Dier (Tottenham)
5) Lucas Digne (Roma)
6) Gerard Deulofeu (Everton)
7) Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg)
8) Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen)
9) Harry Kane (Tottenham)
10) Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid)
11) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)
12) Ross Barkley (Everton)
13) Luke Shaw (Man United)
14) Raheem Sterling (Man City)
15) Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
16) John Stones (Everton)
17) Marquinhos (PSG)

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Not every footballer gets referred to as ‘ Il Bimbo d’Oro’ (The Golden Boy), ‘ Il Re di Roma’ (The King of Rome),’ Er Pupone ‘(The Big Baby), or ‘ Il Gladiatore’ (The Gladiator). With numerous records to his name, he is an household name in the Serie A record books. No prizes for guessing who this living legend is as the AS Roma club captain and living legend Francesco Totti is one of the most respected players ever in Italian football.

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European and Italian football will not be the same without this magician, or to use the famous catch phrase ”No Totti, No Party”

SAFF cup helped India to move up 3 spots in FIFA rankings

Sunil Chhetri’s sharp header and Jeje Lalpekhlua’s decent finishes helped India to win SAFF cup final against Afghanistan on Thursday for the record seventh time.

 

Out of the 11 SAFF cup finals India were playing 10th time in final. The home side under Stephen Constantine could have won by a bigger margin had the woodwork not denied them twice in the match. India moved up three places to the 163rd spot
in the FIFA football rankings, released on Thursday, after its
SAFF Cup triumph.

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Jeje Lalpekhlua (72nd minute) and Sunil Chhettri (101th)
scored for India after Zubayr Amiri had given Afghanistan
the lead in the 69th minute at the Greenfield Stadium
here. The victory for India over higher ranked
Afghanistan (150th) gave Constantine his first win of
an international tournament after taking charge early last
year for his second stint at the helm of affairs in India.

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India went unbeaten in the regional tournament, beating Sri
Lanka 2-0, Nepal 4-1 in the group stages before overcoming
the Maldives 3-2 in the semi-finals.
For Afghanistan, who have come in the tournament with 15
foreign-based players in their squad of 20, it was a sort of
disappointment as they had targeted a title win in their final
SAFF Cup participation.

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SAFF Cup title triumph would also ease pressure on the
English coach under whom India lost five and won just one
match in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers while going into the
tournament.

Indian skipper(Cricket) Virat Kohli has congratulated the Indian
football team for lifting the SAFF Cup for the seventh time.

Cold war about to come between Enrique and Zizou?

Well, right ahead of the few clashes football fans across the world got a surprise clash between two big names in International football.This time El-Classico is not just a rivalry between two great football clubs , this time there will be an added spice to it.
The new man in Real Madrid dugout Zinedine Zidane is well known for his superb talent on the field but few might know him for his explosive side as well.

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Who can forget the famous incident in 2006 world cup final when Zinade head-butted Marco Materazzi to end his career in the most aggressive manner ever seen at the highest stage of football.

Apart from this in 2003 Zidane put his hand into Enrique’s face during a classico match.Now exactly after 13 years probably in april 2016 people will get a fresh look of their old rivalry in a different manner.

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Both the coaches are legends at their respective clubs, before taking up the responsibilities from the sidelines.
Perhaps there will be a moment of good gesture and handshake at the start of classico but who know’s what will happen next after refree will blow his first whistle.

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However once Enrique said “I respect him as a colleague.”Lets see what will happen next when Barcelona will clash Madrid at on April 3.

-by Raviraj Sinh Jethwa

Indian Super League-2 : A Season In Review

Well, it’s FC Barcelona trending on twitter after winning FIFA club world cup 2015 but just after few hours something else accompanied them to make it a perfect day for football fans. What is it? It’s Indian super league finale on the same day just after few hours of FIFA Club WC Final. Two finals on the same day is a treat to watch for hardcore football fans. After a thrilling and energetic 90 minutes of action Chennaiyin FC won the season-2 of ISL on Sunday evening. Well that’s obvious that this finale was far more exciting ,unlike FIFA club WC where only Barca were the clear favourites.

So, how did the Indian Super League performed this season? Not at all ordinary, it was extra ordinary season. They just out classed every single match and concluded with an astonishing finale .Never we seen people filling up the stadiums to watch a football match like this throughout the season. It’s not surprising to say that it is the fourth most popular league in the world after Premier league, La-Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga. The people following the ISL were people who had no affinity for football before.

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Now let’s see how did the ISL teams and players performed this season. Starting from the first match where Atletico De Kolkata defeated Chennaiyin FC in the inaugural match, Koltaka side was more confident throughout the season and remained in the four spots most of the season. Iain Hume was the player to watch from Kolkata scoring screamers and remained at second position for golden ball race behind Steven Mendoza of Chennaiyin .The up’s and down’s  in table occurred throughout the season but Zico’s FC Goa and Atletico Kolkata remained in top four most of the time .Other teams remained in fight for occupying position for semis till the end of the campaign and Delhi Dynamos and Chennaiyin FC finally landed in top four after a roller coaster season with lots of up’s and down’s.

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Few teams like Mumbai, Kerala, Pune and North East kept their hopes alive and fought till the end, though it was not enough to be among the top four in this highly competitive league. Few players performed well from these teams are Sunil Chhetri (Mumbai FC), Nicolas Velez (North East United), Chris Dagnall (Kerala Blasters) and Kalu Uche (Pune City).

Now let’s have a look at the top four teams of the season. Atletico De Kolkata lost 2-4 on aggregate with Chennaiyin FC, but Iain Hume’s goal in the dyeing minutes was the goal of the season. On the other side FC Goa beat Delhi Dynamos 3-1 (agg) to book their birth to final. For majority of the season of this ISL season, Chennaiyin FC struggled to get going and from rock bottom , how Chennayin reached the final won’t be possible without Marco Materazzi who managed the team and helped them in a journey from bottom to top.

The Hero ISL finale on Sunday evening was one of the best match of the season. At the start of the match Chennai pressed hard on Goa but after first 15 minutes Joffrey showed his classic moves and also won few free kicks which helped Goa in boosting themselves. Though Dudu injured in the first half but the Joffrey and Moura paired up exceptionally well and made few good moves near the penalty box. After the goal less first half, second half was breathtaking. Mendoza was brought down in the box and Chennaiyin got the first penalty of the match which was coolly slotted by Bruna into the net. After 59 minutes on the clock the second half sub Haokip scored after a diving low cross from Romeo from the right flank. The match came alive with 1-1 score on the board. After few minutes Chennaiyin got another penalty after Mendoza was one on one battled for the ball, but Kattimani saved the penalty from Mendoza. In 87th minute Joffre scored the free-kick from outside the box at the death. Goa’s celebration wasn’t even finished and Chennaiyin have scored twice in two next minutes and the stadium erupted and went absolute mad. First a long ball into his own net by Kattimani under pressure from Mendoza and then in the next minute Mendoza runs behind the defence and squeezes a finish past Kattimani. Now at full time the final score was Goa 2-3 Chennai and Chennaiyin FC are the 2015 champions.

From the bottom of the league to Champions, what a story it has been for Chennaiyin FC. At once, Goa fought well and thought they won it with 2 mins to go but Steven Mendoza the golden boot of the season scored the beauty in the dyeing minutes. Jofrey was awarded the player of the match who fought hard for his Goa side. So, the Golden Boot and the Hero of the season won by John Steven Mendoza. Golden Glove award goes to Chennayin FC goalkeeper Edima Edel Bete and the emerging player of the tournament goes to Jeje of Chennaiyin FC. Fairplay award goes to Mumbai City FC and the most awaited Player of the ISL 2015 goes to Iain Hume of Kolkata.

This season of ISL was even more successful and thus it is getting better & better by every season. Indian football is rising and the Blue tigers are coming out of their den which is a good sign of development in Indian football. Well, after this successful season of ISL fans are eager to watch next season in 2016, but for now it’s Chennaiyin FC who got the ultimate Christmas gift.

-Raviraj Sinh Jethwa(its me, crazy about soccer and writing)