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Messi wins record seventh Ballon d’Or

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Lionel Messi has claimed a record seventh men’s Ballon d’Or award, beating Robert Lewandowski.

The award ceremony was held at the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris, France on Monday evening.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward ended his long wait for a major international trophy when he helped Argentina win the Copa America in the summer.

He also guided Barcelona to Copa del Rey glory before moving to the French capital in August.

Lewandowski, however, won the maiden ‘Striker of the Year’ award – one of the two new awards introduced by France Football in 2021.

In the women’s category, Alexia Putellas, Barcelona’s midfielder, clinched the Ballon d’Or to become the third woman to achieve the feat.

The 27-year-old captained her club to the Champions League title last season, ending Lyon’s five-year reign.

She was recently named ‘UEFA Player of the Year’ and also lifted the Spanish league and cup last season, completing the treble.

Pedri claimed the Kopa Trophy, the award for best performing player under the age of 21.

The 19-year-old Spaniard, who recently won the ‘Golden Boy’ prize, also came 24th in this year’s Ballon d’Or.

 

Gianluigi Donnarumma beat Edouard Mendy, Jan Oblak, Ederson, and Manuel Neuer respectively to clinch the Yashin Trophy, which is the award for best goalkeeper.

The Italian claimed the prize after finishing 10th in the Ballon d’Or.

 

Aside from the regular categories of the men and women’s Ballon d’Or, Kopa Trophy, and Yashin Trophy, France Football also introduced the ‘Best Club’ and ‘Best Striker of the Year’ in the 2021 class.

 

The 2021 Balloon d’Or is the 65th annual award ceremony organised to recognise the best footballers in the world.

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Djokovic wins 89th career title with Tel Aviv final

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Novak Djokovic won his 89th career title on Sunday with an impressive straight-set victory over Marin Cilic in the Tel Aviv final.

It was also the third title of the 35-year-old Serbian tennis star in 2022.
Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli trophy to victories in Rome and Wimbledon this season.
It was Djokovic’s 19th win over Cilic in 21 meetings in a rivalry stretching back to 2008.
Djokovic was playing his first singles tournament since wrapping up a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title in July.
He was banned from the US Open and the entire North American hard court swing over his refusal to be vaccinated before returning for Roger Federer’s farewell in the Laver Cup team event in London last month.
On Sunday, Djokovic broke Cilic in the second game of the final and pocketed the first set with a fourth ace after 47 minutes on court.
Former US Open winner Cilic, chasing a 21st career title but the first of 2022, was broken in the first game of the second set and the 34-year-old never recovered.

The Serb only faced one break point in the final which was clinched in 94 minutes.
Djokovic, who didn’t drop a set all week, now heads to the Astana ATP tournament where world number one Carlos Alcaraz takes the top seeding

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Over 120 fans die in Indonesia football stampede

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At least 129 people have died in a stampede at an Indonesian football match, officials say, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

The stampede happened after police tear-gassed rioting supporters.

About 180 were injured in the crush after Arema FC lost to bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya in East Java.

The country’s chief security minister said that the number of spectators exceeded the stadium’s capacity by around 4,000 people.

President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been concluded.

Videos show fans running on to the pitch after the final whistle.

Police then fired tear gas, leading to a crowd stampede and cases of suffocation, said Nico Afinta, police chief in East Java.

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” he said, adding that two police officers were among the dead.

“We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he said.

Fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, he added.

Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.

FIFA, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.

The Indonesian football association (PSSI) said it had launched an investigation, adding that the incident had “tarnished the face of Indonesian football”.

Violence at football matches is not new in Indonesia, and Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are long-time rivals.

Persebaya Surabaya fans were banned from buying tickets for the game because of fears of clashes.

But Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD posted on Instagram that 42,000 tickets had been sold for the match at the Kanjuruhan stadium, which has a capacity of 38,000.
President Widodo called for this to be the “last soccer tragedy in the nation” after ordering that all Liga 1 games should be paused pending an investigation.

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Arsenal spank Tottenham 3-1 in London derby

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Arsenal secured a vital 3-1 win over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka saw the Gunners triumph in the North London derby.

Mikel Arteta made two changes to the team that defeated Brentford last time out as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Martin Odegaard returned while Thomas Partey started after some injury concerns.

Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges and took the lead with 20 minutes gone through a Partey pearler.

Just nine minutes later, Harry Kane brought Spurs level after Gabriel brought down Richarlison to undo all of Arsenal’s good work. The visitors grew into the game after drawing level and headed into half-time with a share of the spoils.

Arsenal took the lead minutes into the second half. Bukayo Saka weaved his way into the box and hit his shot at Hugo Lloris who parried twice which allowed Jesus to poke home.

With 60 minutes gone, Spurs’ chances of taking something away from the game were dealt a blow when Emerson Royal was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Gabriel Martinelli.

Arsenal made their advantage pay as Granit Xhaka fired his shot low and across Lloris after some good work from Martinelli. The Gunners played out the remaining time without breaking a sweat to secure north London bragging rights.

Harry Kane’s leveller for Tottenham saw him set yet more scoring records, but his side self-destructed after halftime as their 12-year wait for a league win in the fixture continued. Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have now won seven of their opening eight games and lead the standings by four points with second-placed Manchester City facing Manchester United on Sunday.

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