Cristiano Ronaldo equals Leo Messi’s record, clinches record 5th Balon Do’r

Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo clinched his record 5th Balon D’or on Thursday to equal his rival Lionel Messi’s record. The ceremony, held at the Eiffel Tower, awarded Cristiano his second consecutive Balon D’or. Messi was adjudged the second best, while his ex-Barca team-mate and current Paris St. Germain player Neymar stood third.

Ronaldo’s exploits in the previous year included his club Real Madrid’s record 12th Champions League title, as they became the only club in Champions League era to retain the title; a record 33rd La Liga title and their second FIFA Club World Cup.

On a personal front, Cristiano was the top scorer in the Champions League with 12 goals including the match-winning brace against Juventus in the final. He also netted a match-winning hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Kashima Antlers 4-2 in the FIFA Club World Cup final.

With his 9 goals in 6 games, Ronaldo became the only player in history to have scored in every group stage match of a Champions League season this year. The Portuguese also has a record 114 Champions League goals, a feat that’ll continue for as long as the player retires.

Rank will decide fate of FIFA World Cup 2018

 FIFA adopted a simple format of global ranking for the 2018 World Cup draw. ON Thursday, the Organising Committee decided that the four pots will have teams as per their ranking instead of continent-wise.
Pot 1 will have seven topmost teams along with host Russia. Pot 2 will have next 8, and similarly, the remaining 16 countries will be divided. Draw from each pot will decide the teams that will compete in a group. Europe gets an exception in the case that no two teams from the same continent can be a part of a group.
The whole process will be based on the teams’ positions in the October rankings. Till now, Argentina, Germany and Portugal are expected to be in Pot 1 whereas Pot 2 could have France, Spain, England and Italy.
The previous world cup saw complexities with Pot 1 as per ranking, others as per continent, additional Pot X which attracted criticism.
The rankings will be out on October 16, 2017 and the draw will happen on December 1.

Germany on top, and India on 107th position in FIFA world rankings

In the latest FIFA ranking, Germany has replaced Brazil to be the number one team. The German team has risen to the top after defeating Czech Republic (2-1) and beating Norway 6-0 in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil is in the second spot, while Portugal has climbed up three places to third.Argentina and Belgium are the other two teams that have secured their spots in the Top 5 FIFA ranking.

Spain stays at 11th position, England has dropped to 15th and Italy slipped five places to 17th.

However, Indian football team is no more in the top 100 ranking; and has dropped down to 107th position out of 211 countries. In May, this year India was placed at 100th spot, from where it rose to 96 in July, and 97 in August.

Cape Verde is the highest climber, moving up 47 places to 67th position, and Guatemala, on the other hand, are the biggest fallers, falling 31 places to 131st post. Additionally, teams of Peru (12th), Northern Ireland (20th) and war-torn Syria (75th) have reached record-breaking spots this time.

The next FIFA world rankings will be released on October 16, 2017.

Sources: Hindustan Times, Zee News

Image Source: Getty Images

FIFA nods to World Cup with 48 teams from 2016

Zurich, January 10: The footballing fraternity has seen a major change in the pattern of the sport with the decision of FIFA to include 48 teams instead of just 32 in the World Cup on the morning of January 10. The decision came after FIFA decided to brush aside concerns related to lowering the overall standards of the game and the making it long and unwieldy.

The decisions have been approved at a FIFA Council meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

The council unanimously voted in favour of the new format, which will involve 16 groups of three teams that will see the top two qualify for a knockout round of 32 games. The decisions are set to be implemented from 2026.

The plans will see the total number of games increase from 64 to 80, although teams will still play a similar number of matches during the World Cup. The four semi-finalists will play seven games – the same as the current model.

The plan to expand was driven by both political and financial reasons. FIFA’s new president, Gianni Infantino, had suggested the changes even when he ran for the presidency last year, as a way to invigorate the event and to include more countries in the tournament.

The new format is expected to generate around $1bn extra for the international governing body from the World Cup alone.

Sources: 1] Indian Express

2] New York Times

Ronaldo crowned his fourth Ballon d’Or award

At the Bernabéu Stadium in France, Cristiano Ronaldo was crowned the Ballon d’Or award for the fourth time as he topped the list defeating rival, Lionel Messi.

Unusually enough, the award was announced in the middle of the ceremony and upon receiving the award Ronaldo spoke, “A great honor to receive my fourth golden ball. I have the opportunity to thank all my team-mates, the national team, Real Madrid, all the people and players who helped me to win this individual award. So as you can imagine, I feel so proud and happy to receive this amazing and beautiful ball.”

Ronaldo beat rival Barcelona’s Lionel Messi who has won the award five times and also left behind rising stars such as Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and Neymar.

The award leaves a celebratory finish for Ronaldo as he won the Champions League with Real Madrid and the European Championship with Portugal and is the second top scorer in La Liga. For 2016, according to statistics, Ronaldo has scored 51 goals in 54 games for country and club.

Ronaldo has previously won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013 and 2014. Ronaldo’s win brings Real Madrid’s total wins to nine breaking a tie with AC Milan and Juventus. Portugal leveled up to third position country wise.

All around 30 players made it to the Ballon d’Or final list including several players from the English Premier League.

It is Ronaldo’s second win under France Football’s exclusive control of Ballon d’Or post its split with FIFA.

SOURCES : ESPN ,The Guardian

Image Source : Sky Sports

FIFA World Cup tickets break $1000 barrier

FIFA announced the ticket prices for two major tournaments namely the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and the Russia 2018 World Cup, in Moscow after a meeting with the Local Organising Committee. Much to the dismay of football fans, the ticket prices have seen a hike of 16% compared to that of the previous Brazil World Cup, while the group stage matches have the cheapest pricing starting from $105.

Russian fans will continue to get tickets at discounted rates, just as it was the case for Brazilian and South African residents in 2014 and 2010 respectively. Their tickets will be put on sale from 1,280 Rouble ($19.81), which is although a tad bit higher on equivalent tickets in Brazil, but falls in the same vein with the 2010 ticket pricing scheme.

The final of the showpiece tournament which will be played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow has the highest pricing with a tag of $1100 for the best seats in the stadium. “We wanted to make sure that we priced tickets fairly to make the events accessible to as many people as possible,” said FIFA  Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “We therefore conducted thorough market research and have priced the tickets accordingly.”

Tickets for the Confederations Cup will be sold with a VISA exclusive pre-sales period from 8 to17 November with final sales starting from 1 December. Ticket Sales for the for the World Cup will begin after this tournament.

Sepp Blatter to publish his book on life at FIFA

ZURICH: Sepp Blatter’s much awaited book on life at FIFA is about to be published in a few days.

As per the reports gathered from the website of a Swiss publisher , Werd & Weber , “Sepp Blatter: Mission Football” will be costing around 49 Swiss francs, and would be out in February itself.

Earlier, Sepp had commented that it would be more like a photograph-led book filled with anecdotes about his 40 years of life as a part of FIFA. It would also include the part of him being the president since 1998.
The website claims it to be a ‘richly illustrated book’, which also explores Sepp’s insights as to how he dealt with hostility. The website reports that, “Despite the success, Blatter repeatedly had to put up with harsh reviews and prejudices.”

Thomas Renggli, his spokesperson has been credited for writing the 300-page harcover book.

Blatter, on Tuesday will be receiving a verdict owing to the appeal to FIFA against the eight year ban over conflicts of interest. He hopes that he would be cleared off the charges so that he can host FIFA presidential meeting on Friday to choose his successor.
The FIFA ethics committee, in December, banned Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, over “disloyal payment” of approximately $2 million to the French great in 2011. It was commented by both the men that they had had a verbal agreement that FIFA would pay Platini additional salary for his contribution as Blatter’s presidential adviser from 1999-2002.

Source: The HinduTOI