Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world for a record-stretching seventh time on Monday, beating Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to lift soccer’s most prestigious trophy yet again, Reuters reported.
The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.
“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,” Messi said at Paris’s Theatre du Chatelet.
“It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.
“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”
Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season after finishing as La Liga’s top scorer with the Spanish club, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.
Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Chelsea, named club of the year, also had keeper Edouard Mendy finishing second in the Yashin trophy behind Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, read the report.
According to the women’s Ballon d’Or went to Alexia Putellas after the Spain midfielder guided Barcelona to Champions League glory.
“The key moment was the Champions League final against Olympique Lyonnais,” she said.
Putellas is the third winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin after Ada Hegerberg in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019. There was no ceremony last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On a good night for Barcelona, the 19-year-old Pedri was awarded the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 player, Reuters reported.
“The best way to celebrate turning 19 is receiving this award. I’d like to thank everyone at Barcelona for helping me here,” he said.
FIFA brings opening match of World Cup in Qatar forward by one day
FIFA has officially brought forward the opening match of this year’s World Cup by one day to 20 November in a rare change so that hosts Qatar feature in the gala game.
FIFA said in a statement this week that football’s top officials universally approved the decision, while Qatar said it would give unspecified help to fans affected by the change.
On the old schedule, Qatar against Ecuador was to be the official inauguration match on 21 November but Senegal against Netherlands would be the first match of the day. England against Iran would have been the second.
Qatar had also been frustrated as it has invested in a huge opening ceremony show.
“Host country Qatar will now play Ecuador on Sunday 20 November as part of a stand-alone event,” said FIFA.
“The opening match and ceremony of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been brought forward one day following a unanimous decision taken by the bureau of the FIFA Council today (Thursday).”
The bureau is made up of FIFA leader Gianni Infantino and the six heads of the continental confederations.
“The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions,” added FIFA.
Under the new plan, the Group A game between Senegal and the Netherlands has been shifted from 13:00 (14:30 Kabul time) on 21 November to a 19:00 start. There is no change to England’s opening Group B clash against Iran.
Qatari organizers, who have spent billions of dollars preparing for the event, immediately welcomed FIFA’s gesture.
“Opening the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Qatar,” said the organizing committee in a statement.
“The impact of this decision on fans was assessed by FIFA. We will work together to ensure a smooth tournament for the supporters affected by the change,” they added without giving details.
Ariana Television Network (ATN) meanwhile announced in July it had secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in Afghanistan.
According to company officials, the broadcasting schedule will be revised to include the events of November 20.
Ariana Television Network, the Official and Exclusive broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in Afghanistan, has worked closely with FIFA to bring what is undoubtedly the world’s most prestigious event into as many homes in Afghanistan as possible.
While not much has been revealed about the opening ceremony, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is reported to have special plans for the event, with some reports indicating he has a big fireworks display planned.
For the revised match schedule CLICK HERE
Benzema, Ronaldo and Haaland nominated for Ballon d’Or, Messi misses out
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is among the 30 nominees on the shortlist for the prestigious men’s Ballon d’Or trophy, organizers France Football magazine announced on Friday.
The French international has had an incredible season for Real Madrid, scoring 44 goals in 46 games and helping them win the Champions League and LaLiga, Reuters reported.
Seven times reigning winner Lionel Messi was not nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or for the first time since 2005 and nor was his Paris Saint-Germain team mate Neymar.
Other nominees are Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester City striker Erling Haaland – who has just joined the club from Borussia Dortmund – and last season’s joint Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah of Liverpool.
Among the 20 players on the shortlist for the women’s Ballon d’Or is Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural award in 2018, and Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas.
Arsenal striker Beth Mead, who won the European Championship with hosts England last month and was named the Player of the tournament, is also nominated.
The honour for the best player in the world will be presented on Oct. 17. The trophy will now be awarded based on a regular season from August to July rather than a calendar year.
Afghanistan beat Ireland by 22 runs in 3rd T20I
Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 22 runs in the third T20I in Belfast on Friday.
Sent to bat first by the hosts who won the toss, Afghanistan posted 189-5 in the 20 overs.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz top scored with 53 off 35 balls, followed by Najibullah Zadran who struck 42 off 18. Hazratullah Zazai and Ibrahim Zadran contributed with 39 and 36 each respectively.
Chasing 190-run target, Ireland lost Paul Stirling in the very first over and ended their innings with 167-9.
George Dockrell was their highest scorer with 58 (not out).
Naveen-ul-Haq claimed three wickets while Mujib-ur-Rahman and Fazalhaq Farooqi each picked up two wickets.
Ireland lead the five-match series 2-1. The next match will be on Monday.
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