- Zidane, Klopp for coach of the year
Two African players in Liverpool Club, Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egyptian Mohamed Salah on the shortlist of 11 players for the best FIFA men’s player award unveiled Wednesday.
European player of the year Robert Lewandowski is one of players along with 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.
Apart from Sallah and Mane, one other member of Liverpool and English champions, Dutchman Virgil van Dijk, is on the shortlist
Paris Saint-Germain stars, Mbappe and Neymar also make the list.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos complete the list.
Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui headline a list for the men’s coach award, which also feature Bayern’s Hans-Dieter Flick and Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, who led Leeds into the English Premier League.
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) and 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)
Patrice Evra: I’m sick of giving the Ballon D’or to Messi
Patrice Evra has admitted that he is tired of watching Lionel Messi win the Ballon d’Or, and the current Paris Saint-Germain star has done it six times in his career.
This year’s 2021 Ballon d’Or race looks more open than it used to be, with Evra even named Chelsea team N’Golo Kante and Jorginho as winners who should be better than Leo Messi.
“In my opinion, this Ballon d’Or belongs to Kante or Jorginho … I’m sick of giving it to Messi,” Evra said.
“What did you win last year? All right, Copa America and Argentina. What did you do with Barcelona?”
Competing with Leo Messi, Kante, and Jorginho in the Ballon d’Or race are the likes of Karim Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Man U need to change something’ after losing 4-2 at Leicester – Pogba
Leicester ended their opponents’ 29-game unbeaten run away from home to increase the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba suggested that his side lack maturity and experience as they were beaten 4-2 in the Premier League at Leicester.
Pogba has declared something needs to change at Manchester United following their 4-2 Premier League defeat to Leicester City. “We need to find something, we need to change something.”
The Frenchman played the entirety of United’s latest defeat that ended their 29-game unbeaten run away from home.
The defeat leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under further scrutiny as United’s own winless run extends to three games as they continue to look less than the sum of their expensive parts.
“To be honest, we’ve been having this kind of game for a long time and we haven’t found the problem,” Pogba said.
“We need to find what’s the problem, to concede easy goals, stupid goals, when we know those games where we play on this pitch, the fans are going to push, put pressure on us and everything. We need to be more mature, I think. We need to play with more experience, arrogance in a good way. We have to take the ball and play our football.
“But now we have to find what’s the key of these games that we lose. Because I think we deserved to lose today.
“We need to find something, we need to change something. I don’t know if the mindset of all of us, the players, when we start… we really don’t know. It’s frustrating because it’s something we don’t understand and we have to find that very fast because if you want to compete and you want to win the title, those games you have to win, even though they are very hard and we’re playing away.
“You need to fight their game, you need to find the right mentality, the right tactic to win those games. That’s my thought. We have time to think about it and then all together, we have to stick together and find the problem.”
Ole: I made bad decisions
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that he “probably made a couple of bad decisions” with his team selection
Harry Maguire made a surprise return against his former club after recovering from injury, while Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the line-up after being rested against Everton. Yet it was the central midfield area where Manchester United struggled as Pogba and Nemanja Matic were badly overrun at times.
Solskjaer admitted he made errors with the way his team set up.
“The four goals we conceded were very poor,” he told Sky Sports.
“When you concede goals like that in the way we did, we don’t deserve to continue that run. Definitely the performance was very below-par and not good enough. We got a very good goal with Mason and we were knocking on the door to get another one; sloppy play and we concede a goal.
“In the second half, it was end-to-end but they created more chances and conceding at set-pieces was disappointing. Conceding seconds after the equaliser shouldn’t happen. I picked the team; Harry showed no reaction. I hold my hand up if it doesn’t work out and sometimes it doesn’t.
“When you concede four, I probably made a couple of bad decisions.”
Merse: Solskjaer in a spot of bother
Paul Merson speaking on Soccer Saturday, said, “I think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in a spot of bother.
“I said before the game if that he can get through November still in the job, then they would have every chance of winning the league because they have some shocking fixtures – and this was the start of it and they have been beaten. Leicester thoroughly deserved it too.
“Manchester United are struggling. I’ve said that Arsenal could finish above them in the top four and I haven’t changed my mind.
“They are individuals, they are not a team. They haven’t got legs all around the pitch and because Ronaldo can’t go in behind defences, the other teams are all pushing up on them and that means Pogba doesn’t get time on the ball. For me, Solskjaer is under severe pressure.”
Manchester United’s gruelling run
Manchester United face a formidable set of fixtures in October and November as they look to keep pace in the Premier League and ensure Champions League qualification, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and the Manchester derby looming domestically.
Balogun to critics: You can’t criticise me for not trying
Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has defended his commitment to the Nigeria national side after recent criticisms directed at him over his performances.
The Rangers Glasgow’s defender has come under scathing criticisms following the country’s defeat to Central African Republic during their 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos last Thursday.
The centre-back was held responsible for the late goal conceded against the minnows following a mix-up with his defensive partner William Troost-Ekong, allowing CAR forward Karl Namnganda through on goal before slotting past Francis Uzoho, in goal for the Eagles.
However, the 33-year-old redeemed himself by scoring against CAR in the second game of the double-header clash in Douala, Cameroon – his first strike for Nigeria since he made his debut in 2014.
In an interview with ESPN, the centre-back said he had always given 100 per cent for Nigeria.
You’ve seen me play for a few years now. And you know that when I step onto the pitch I always give 100 per cent and I am always passionate,” Balogun said.
“Whether I am having a good performance or a bad performance, you can never actually criticise me for not trying. That is what I always give, that is the least I can do.”
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