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Messi beats Ronaldo, Van Dijk to win Best FIFA Men’s Player award

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Argentina and Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi, has been voted as the winner of the 2019 Best FIFA Men’s Player Award.

Messi saw off the challenge from his perennial rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Netherland’s Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk was seen as the favourite by many after he won the Champions League with Liverpool last season.

However, Messi also had a splendid season in which he scored 51 goals in 50 games on the way to winning the La Liga title with Barcelona.

Ronald was conspicuously absent from the awards.

There was something to cheer for Liverpool fans as Jurgen Klopp took home the leading honours for the Men’s Best Coach while Alisson picked up The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper award.

The Reds followed up with spots for Van Dijk and obviously Alisson on the XI.

It was a bumper year for the USA as Megan Rapinoe and Jill Ellis were rewarded for their latest triumph at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 as The Best FIFA Women’s Player and Women’s Coach respectively.

Sari van Veenendaal of Netherland was named the winner of the inaugural The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper.

The Best FIFA Football Awards, with FIFA and FIFPro combined, for the first time to honour the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World11.

The recipients of the inaugural award include the aforementioned Sari van Veenendaal joined by USA stars Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe as well as French duo Wendie Renard and Amandine Henry, Brazilian legend Marta, England’s outstanding performer Lucy Bronze and Swedish rock Nilla Fischer.

Quite surprisingly, Premier League champions Manchester City had no representation on FIFA’s The Best XI, which conversely included four Real Madrid players.

Full list of winners.

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Best Fifa Men’s Player

Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi – WINNER!

Virgil van Dijk

Best Fifa Women’s Player

Lucy Bronze

Alex Morgan

Megan Rapinoe – WINNER!

Best Fifa Men’s Coach

Pep Guardiola

Jurgen Klopp – WINNER!

Mauricio Pochettino

Best Fifa Women’s Coach

Jill Ellis – WINNER!

Phil Neville

Sarina Wiegman

Fifa Puskas Award

Lionel Messi

Juan Fernando Quintero

Daniel Zsori – WINNER!

Best Fifa Men’s Goalkeeper

Alisson Becker – WINNER!

Ederson

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Best Fifa Women’s Goalkeeper

Christiane Endler

Hedwig Lindahl

Sari van Veenendaal – WINNER!

Fifa Fan Award

Silvia Grecco – WINNER!

Justo Sanchez

Netherlands fans

FIFPro Men’s World XI

Alisson Becker (BRA) – Liverpool

Matthijs de Ligt (NED) – Ajax / Juventus

Sergio Ramos (ESP) – Real Madrid

Virgil van Dijk (NED) – Liverpool

Marcelo (BRA) – Real Madrid

Luka Modric (CRO) – Real Madrid

Frenkie de Jong (NED) – Ajax/Barcelona

Eden Hazard (BEL) – Chelsea/ Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) – Juventus

Kylian Mbappe (FRA) – Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi (ARG) – Barcelona

FIFPro Women’s World XI

Sari van Veenendaal (NED) – Arsenal / Atletico Madrid

Lucy Bronze (ENG) – Olympique Lyonnais

Wendie Renard (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais

Nilla Fischer (SWE) – VfL Wolfsburg / Linkopings

Kelley O’Hara (USA) – Utah Royals

Amandine Henry (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais

Julie Ertz (USA) – Chicago Red Stars

Rose Lavelle (USA) – Washington Spirit

Megan Rapinoe (USA) – Reign FC

Marta (BRA) – Orlando Pride

Alex Morgan (USA) – Orlando Pride

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Qualified countries in Euro 2020

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Six countries have already booked their spots at next year’s European Championships.

They are Belgium, Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

Belgium qualified for the finals on Thursday, with a 9-0 victory at home to minnows San Marino and Russia joined them on Sunday with victory in Cyprus.

Spain secured their place in the finals draw with a 1-1 draw in Sweden on Tuesday, while Poland beat North Macedonia 2-0 on Sunday.

With seven wins out of seven, Italy are also through.

The top two teams (20 in total) in each group qualify automatically.

Four more nations will qualify via playoffs, qualification for which is based on UEFA Nations League performance.

The draw will be held on Saturday, November 30 in Bucharest, Romania.

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Chelsea suffer six injury blow ahead of EPL clash with Newcastle

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Chelsea have suffered six injury blow ahead of their English Premier League, EPL, clash with Newcastle United this weekend.

According to Evening Standard, Mateo Kovacic and Ethan Ampadu were the latest Blues players to pick up injuries during the international break on Sunday.

Both players lined up against each other on Sunday evening as Wales played a 1-1 draw with Croatia in a Euro 2020 qualifiers encounter.

Kovacic was replaced by Barcelona midfielder, Ivan Rakitic after a strong challenge from Tottenham’s Ben Davies, while Ampadu was replaced by Bristol City’s Joe Morrell just three minutes into the second half after a hard tackle from Bruno Petkovic.

However, Chelsea defender, Andreas Christensen sustained a groin injury during Denmark’s 1-0 win over Switzerland.

Chelsea youngers, Reece James and Trevor Chalobah withdrew from the England Under-21 squad last week ahead of their matches against Slovenia and Austria due to ‘fitness concerns’.

Midfielder, N’Golo Kante picked up a groin injury in the warm-up before France’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on Friday.

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Why I retired from international football at age 32 – Mikel Obi

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Former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, has revealed why he retired from international football at the age of 32.

TIMELY POST recalls that Mikel Obi announced his retirement from Super Eagles following the conclusion of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Egypt.

Mikel said he retired from international football because he wanted to give chance to the younger players in the Super Eagles squad, adding that he does not have many years of football in front of him.

The former Chelsea star spoke to Trabzonspor’s weekend magazine on why he quit the Super Eagles at the age of 32 years.

Mikel said: “I served the national team for 13 years, a larger part of those years as captain. In this process, we have achieved significant successes as a team. I first wanted to leave in 2013, but as a result of our negotiations with the authorities, I decided to continue.”

“We currently have very talented young players. They’re all bright. I think these players can handle the challenges. I had to make room for them. Besides, I don’ t have many years of football in front of me. I want to focus on my team.”

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