EPL

Newcastle United part ways with Bruce

By Sports Desk October 20, 2021

Steve Bruce has left Newcastle United by mutual consent following the club's Saudi Arabian-backed takeover.

Bruce was appointed in July 2019 by Newcastle and celebrated his 1,000th match as a manager with a 3-2 defeat against Tottenham on Sunday.

The Magpies sit in 19th, one point ahead of Norwich City, as Bruce becomes the second Premier League manager to leave his post this season following Xisco Munoz's dismissal by Watford.

Graeme Jones will lead Newcastle on interim basis, starting with Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, and will be supported by the coaching team of Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence, Ben Dawson and Simon Smith.

Newcastle revealed that the process of recruiting a new head coach has started and an appointment will be announced in due course.

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    Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi clinched a seventh Ballon d'Or, extending his record as the player to have won the individual accolade on the most occasions.

    The 34-year-old enjoyed a fruitful year at club level, scoring 32 times in 40 appearances across all competitions for PSG and Barcelona, but it was his exploits with Argentina that were most impressive, claiming the first major international trophy of his career by winning the Copa America. 

    Bayern Munich's prolific striker Robert Lewandowski came second to Messi, but became the first winner of the Striker of the Year award after outscoring every player in Europe's top five leagues, netting 53 times in 42 appearances across all competitions so far in 2021, averaging a goal every 67 minutes.

    Messi's PSG team-mate Gianluigi Donnarumma claimed the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the best goalkeeper, and was named 10th in the Ballon d'Or voting.

    Donnarumma starred for Italy as they won Euro 2020, making a number of crucial saves in the shoot-out victory over England in the final.

    Barcelona and Spain youngster Pedri won the Kopa Trophy after featuring heavily for club and country despite only turning 19 on November 25, also being shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or and finishing 24th.

    Another Barca midfielder, Alexia Putellas, picked up the women's top prize, having helped the Catalan giants' women's team to Champions League and domestic glory in 2020-21.

    Finally, Chelsea had 11 players nominated across all categories, making them the inaugural Club of the Year winners.

    Award winners in full:

    Men's Ballon d'Or – Lionel Messi (PSG and Argentina)
    Kopa Trophy – Pedri (Barcelona and Spain)
    Yashin Trophy – Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG and Italy)
    Club of the Year – Chelsea (England)
    Striker of the Year – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)
    Women's Ballon d'Or – Alexia Putellas (Barcelona and Spain)

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  • Ballon d'Or: Messi wants to see Lewandowski rewarded for 2020 exploits Ballon d'Or: Messi wants to see Lewandowski rewarded for 2020 exploits

    Ballon d'Or 2021 winner Lionel Messi has said that runner-up Robert Lewandowski deserved a Ballon d'Or of his own for his exploits last year.

    Messi claimed the coveted award for a record-extending seventh time on Monday, while Bayern Munich forward Lewandowski won the inaugural Striker of the Year award and finished second in the Ballon d'Or voting.

    The Paris Saint-Germain superstar has enjoyed a superb but bittersweet calendar year, highlighted by finally leading Argentina to success on the international stage with a Copa America victory in which he was both the tournament's top scorer and top assister.

    He then returned to Barcelona expecting to sign a new deal, but the club's financial situation made it impossible.

    In 40 club appearances this year between both Barca and PSG, Messi has managed an impressive 32 goals and 12 assists and was handed the gong by former team-mate Luis Suarez.

    Lewandowski, meanwhile, continued the magnificent form he had displayed across 2020, when he led Bayern to a treble only for last year's edition of the award to be cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The 33-year-old scored 41 Bundesliga goals to break Gerd Muller's 49-year-old record while, so far in 2021, Lewandowski has netted 53 times in 42 appearances, the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions. 

    Erling Haaland, his nearest challenger, is 15 back on 38. Lewandowski has averaged a goal every 67 minutes. Among those with 10 goals or more, club-mate Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is the next most regular scorer, netting every 84 minutes.

    "[Lewandowski], you deserve your Ballon d'Or," Messi said upon receiving the award. "Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner.

    "Hopefully [France Football] give you the Ballon d’Or 2020."

    Lewandowski sent his congratulations to the Ballon d'Or winners and nominees on social media, while thanking his teammates and fans for their support in helping him claim the Striker of the Year award.

    "Congratulations Leo Messi and [Women's Ballon d'Or winner] Alexia Putellas, winners of the Ballon d'Or 2021, congratulations also to all nominated players," Lewandowski wrote on social media.

    "I won [the] Striker of the Year Award and no player can win an individual award without [the] strongest team and loyal fans behind him. Thank you for your support."

    Messi indicated in his acceptance speech a desire to keep playing, with retirement not on the 34-year-old's agenda in the near future.

    "I don't know how many years I have left, but I hope there will still be many because I am having enormous fun," Messi added.

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