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.
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.
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
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.