Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Serie A hat-trick as Juventus overcame Cagliari and he was pleased to put the pressure on Inter, who topped the league during the mid-season break.

After a goalless first half at Allianz Stadium, Ronaldo showed great anticipation to beat Sebastian Walukiewicz to Ragnar Klavan's loose pass and round Robin Olsen for the opener.

The 34-year-old added a second from the penalty spot following Marko Rog's foul on Paulo Dybala.

Gonzalo Higuain extended Juve's lead further in the 81st minute and five seconds after Cagliari restarted the match Ronaldo slotted in his third.

The victory sent Maurizio Sarri's men three points clear of Inter ahead of the Nerazzurri's trip to Napoli later on Monday.

"The year has started very well. The most important thing despite the hat-trick is that the team wins," Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia.

"We played well and created a lot of chances. I am pleased with the hat-trick, but the most important thing was to win and put pressure on Inter.

"The team is getting better, not just in defence but in all areas. We must improve in all aspects, not just one. We are a complete squad and have to work together in every move."

On whether he will watch Inter's game against Napoli, Ronaldo added: "I don't know, but obviously I hope Inter lose, because that would help us.

"In any case, we've done what we needed to do and can only wait now."

Cristiano Ronaldo got his 2020 up and running with a hat-trick as Ragnar Klavan's error helped gift Juventus a 4-0 win over Cagliari, sending the champions back above Inter at the Serie A summit.

Despite a dominant first-half display, Juve - who were defeated by Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana in their final match of 2019 - were unable to find a way through before Klavan's calamity.

But once presented with a clear chance, Ronaldo made no mistake, keeping his composure to beat Robin Olsen, who was beaten again by the former Real Madrid star from the spot in the 67th minute.

Ronaldo's penalty came after Giovanni Simeone almost snatched an equaliser against the run of play, but a strike from substitute Gonzalo Higuain and a composed third from Ronaldo comfortably ensured Juve made it 30 consecutive home league matches without defeat.

 

Juventus are unlikely to allow either Adrien Rabiot or Emre Can to leave the club in the January transfer window, according to chief executive officer Fabio Paratici.

Both Rabiot - signed on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in the close season - and Can have struggled to cement themselves as regular starters under Maurizio Sarri so far this season.

Rabiot has featured 10 times in total in Serie A, while Can, who was left out of Juve's Champions League squad, has played seven league matches so far, and the pair have both been linked with moves away from Turin.

However, Paratici is adamant neither player will leave this month, though confirmed there has been interest. 

"I can exclude Emre Can leaving, as he will certainly remain with us," Paratici told Sky Italia prior to Juve's encounter with Cagliari on Monday.

"On an international level, he is one of the most wanted players, but I think he can be important for our project.

"Rabiot arrived here after not playing for eight months. It's only natural on a physical level he should take time to adapt. He paid the price for that, but he has done well when used.

"We are confident, he is an important player and a guarantee for Juve, not a question mark or a doubt. We have an important squad, with a lot of competition for places, and that's how it should be at this level."

Juve have already secured their first signing for next season, agreeing a deal to bring in Atalanta midfielder Dejan Kulusevski, who is on loan at Parma this term, and at a reported €35million plus add ons, Paratici believes Juve have got a bargain.

"We would've liked to bring him to Juve straight away, but there was already a clear agreement from the start of the negotiations," Paratici told Sky Sport Italia.

"We are happy and knew full well he'd remain at Parma. He is an important player for the future of Juve and we are very happy with this deal."

Wolves star Adama Traore is reportedly attracting interest from Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City.

Traore, formerly of Barcelona, has continued to impress this season, helping Wolves sit seventh in the Premier League.

Now, the former Spain youth international is reportedly being targeted by three of Europe's biggest clubs.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, BARCELONA & MAN CITY EYE TRAORE

Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City are interested in signing Traore, according to 90min.

Traore has scored four goals and provided four assists in the Premier League this season.

The report says Wolves want at least £70million for Traore.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dani Olmo is expected to leave Dinamo Zagreb and is being eyed by several European giants. Goal reports Barcelona lead Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the 21-year-old Spain international.

- Arturo Vidal is linked with a move to Inter, but he may be going nowhere. The cover of Sport reads 'You stay', with the report saying Barcelona have told the midfielder he will remain with the LaLiga giants due to his importance to the club.

- Chelsea have identified their top January transfer target. The Daily Express reports the Premier League side want Inter forward Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa this month to ease the pressure on Tammy Abraham.

- Inter are considering reinforcements on the left-hand side. CalcioMercato says Chelsea's Marcos Alonso and Parma's Matteo Darmian are both being considered by the Serie A high-flyers.

- It seems Edinson Cavani's time at Paris Saint-Germain is just about over. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Atletico Madrid and Cavani have an agreement in place and the LaLiga club want the forward to arrive in January.

- Wojciech Szczesny is set to extend his stay at Juventus. The goalkeeper will re-sign with the Serie A giants until 2024, according to CalcioMercato.

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri would not confirm whether he will continue to use Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain as a front three against Cagliari, but he warned of the threat of the opposition midfield.

Sarri bowed to pressure by using Ronaldo, Dybala and Higuain together in attack ahead of the mid-season break.

Although the star trio initially impressed in wins over Udinese and Sampdoria, they then started the 3-1 Supercoppa Italiana defeat to Lazio.

Sarri insisted at the time that loss was not due to his front line, yet speaking ahead of a return to Serie A action against Cagliari, he would not commit to sticking with the system.

A talented Cagliari side boasting the likes of Radja Nainggolan, Nahitan Nandez and Marko Rog could see Sarri select Aaron Ramsey instead.

"We'll see tomorrow," he told a Sunday news conference of his line-up. "Ramsey also seems to be growing, so we will have to decide.

"We will need to take a lot of care. The Cagliari midfielders can start strong attacks, so we will need great balance on our part, especially in midfield.

"When you concede a lot of goals [before Christmas], you often place the blame on the defenders. But that's not always the case.

"In my opinion, the right protection has not been given to the defence. That's why we have been working on the movements of the midfielders."

Douglas Costa is still regaining fitness, but centre-back Matthijs de Ligt could be handed a recall, having not started since a league defeat to Lazio on December 7.

"He had a complicated period, with shoulder and adductor problems," Sarri added of the Dutchman. "He is very young, he rested because he had small problems, and [Merih] Demiral has grown a lot.

"He seems to be recovering, so we'll see for tomorrow."

Juventus this week completed the signing of Dejan Kulusevski from Atalanta for an initial €35million, although he remains on loan at Parma.

Sarri said: "[Kulusevski] is a great prospect and it is important that the club is attentive to these young players and gets there first.

"There were no conditions [possible] where he could be available now."

Raphael Varane recounted the occasion he snapped at Cristiano Ronaldo in Real Madrid training for not calling him by his first name, though he insists he was not disrespectful to the Portugal great.

France international Varane has been at Madrid for almost nine years, having joined from Lens as a highly rated teenager.

As such, the centre-back was a long-time team-mate of Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu, before the former Manchester United forward left for Juventus in 2018.

Ronaldo is known for his often-intense personality and commitment in training, and Varane reminisced about the time he bit back at Los Blancos' then-talisman.

"'Varane, go into the middle,'" Ronaldo is said to have barked, to which Varane claims he replied: "I'm not Varane, I'm Rapha!"

But the 26-year-old says he was not showing Ronaldo a lack of respect, rather showing a bit of character.

"It was not disrespectful," Varane told Onze Mondial. "I am super nice, I am great, even in the dressing room. I am also quite shy.

"But when there are difficult times or when you have to show your character, you can count on me. The players who have known me for a while know this.

"Of course, it's not the aspect of my character that you see the most or that you see first. It was not a matter of respect or disrespect, it was just a matter of, 'If I'm not seen, I'm not considered much.'

"After that it was more like: 'Oh, I am also here, I also have a name.' It was more like that."

Any issues with Ronaldo start and end there, however, with Varane lavishing his former colleague with praise for his achievements.

"He's great, great, on a human level - and on a footballing level, I don't even have words anymore," Varane said.

"He's accomplished something extraordinary: he made his incredible achievements seem banal.

"And to do that… there are no words to explain it, it's huge, it's extraordinary. He taught me a lot and also surprised me. How many times have I said to myself: 'Wow, this is incredible.'"

Juventus have completed the signing of Dejan Kulusevski from Atalanta for an initial €35million and allowed him to remain on loan at Parma.

Sweden international Kulusevski has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract and the fee for his arrival could increase by a further €9m in bonuses.

The 19-year-old midfielder joined Atalanta from Brommapojkarna in 2016 and made three first-team appearances before being sent on loan to Parma for the 2019-20 season.

Kulusevski has impressed at the Ennio Tardini, scoring four goals and supplying seven assists in 17 league appearances, and he will remain there until the end of the campaign, as per a fresh agreement with Juve.

The arrival of Kulusevski may pave the way for Emre Can to leave the Bianconeri at the end of the season, should he not depart in January.

Germany international Can has only featured seven times for Juve this season and has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.

Mattia Perin has left Juventus for former club Genoa on loan and will be joined at the Rossoblu by Valon Behrami, who signed on a free transfer.

Perin, 27, came through Genoa's academy and spent five years as their first-choice goalkeeper before joining Juve in 2018, but he is back on a loan deal reportedly until the end of the season.

Juve are said to have spent approximately €15million on his transfer in June 2018 and he made nine appearances during his first campaign, playing back-up to Wojciech Szczesny.

But Gianluigi Buffon returned to Juve ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, resulting in Perin becoming third-choice at the Bianconeri. As such, he has failed to make an appearance in any competition this term.

Serie A confirmed the deal has gone through as a loan, though neither club has revealed any further details about the move.

Behrami – who had been training with Genoa – has also joined the club, arriving on a free after his contract with Swiss club Sion was terminated by mutual consent in October.

The former Switzerland international, 34, has spent much of his professional career in Italy, representing Lazio, Hellas Verona, Fiorentina, Napoli, Udinese and Genoa, whom he first joined in 2003 from swiss side Lugano.

With the January transfer window open across Europe, clubs will be checking their budgets to see if they can make additions for the second half of the campaign.

January is traditionally a tough time to do business with teams generally unwilling to allow stars to leave but Erling Haaland's switch from Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund shows major deals are possible.

Unsettled players around the continent may push for a chance at a new club as squads get shuffled, but who are some of the big-name stars who could be on the move this month?

We have picked out 10 players who have been strongly linked with switching teams during the January transfer window.


PAUL POGBA (Manchester United)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's recent insistence that Pogba would not leave United this month has been undermined by the latest twist in the midfielder's ongoing saga. After he was surprisingly left out of the squad for a New Year's Day loss at Arsenal, Solskjaer indicated Pogba would be undergoing surgery in a bid to solve his injury issues. An operation could make it less likely Pogba leaves Old Trafford in January, but the links to Real Madrid will not go away. For what it is worth, Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has said his client is staying at United - for now at least.


EMRE CAN (Juventus) 

Pogba's continued absence has left a hole in United's midfield, especially with Scott McTominay also out of action. Can is among the players being linked with a switch to Old Trafford after failing to make an impact at Juventus. The Serie A champions, who are reportedly interested in bringing Pogba back, are also said to be ready to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Daniele Rugani with both players not regular starters under Maurizio Sarri this season.


JADON SANCHO (Borussia Dortmund) 

The biggest move of the January transfer window could involve Sancho leaving Dortmund with the England international having struggled with off-the-field issues despite fine form on the pitch during the first half of the season. Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea, who signed Christian Pulisic from BVB last year, are reportedly leading the race for Sancho, but he would likely cost in excess of £100million. Dortmund, having beaten off competition from various top clubs to land Haaland, are said to be willing to listen to offers for Paco Alcacer too.


EDINSON CAVANI (Paris Saint-Germain)

Another elite forward potentially on the move this month is Cavani, with PSG's all-time leading goalscorer struggling to get into the team after the successful signing of Mauro Icardi on loan from Inter. At 32, Cavani likely has one more big deal left in him with Atletico Madrid said to be keen - a swap deal involving France winger Thomas Lemar has been mooted. PSG are also reportedly ready to cut their losses on Leandro Paredes, who has made little impact since joining from Zenit.


JAMES RODRIGUEZ (Real Madrid)

Colombia star James has been on the fringes at Madrid since returning from a loan spell with Bayern Munich, making only four starts in LaLiga this season. Arsenal, Inter and PSG have all been linked with James, who has also emerged as a shock target for Everton. New Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti coached the 28-year-old playmaker at both Madrid and Bayern.


ARTURO VIDAL (Barcelona)

Another South American midfielder who could leave LaLiga this month is Vidal, who has complained about allegedly unpaid bonuses at Barca and hinted he might be open to a return to Serie A. League leaders Inter are said to be keen with Antonio Conte having worked with Vidal at Juve, where the Chile international previously won four successive Serie A titles.


JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City)

Right-back Cancelo only joined City last August but, after failing to usurp Kyle Walker as first choice in his position, the 25-year-old could be on the move again with former club Valencia and Bayern Munich both linked. Cancelo's departure would leave City even shorter of defensive options but if they can sell the Portugal international it could allow the defending Premier League champions to bring in another body elsewhere, though Pep Guardiola has ruled out signings.


CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Tottenham)

Denmark midfielder Eriksen is out of contract at the end of the season and has previously made it clear he is ready for a new challenge. Eriksen has found himself on the fringes under new boss Jose Mourinho and the club's notorious negotiator Daniel Levy may opt to cash in on the 27-year-old rather than watch him leave for nothing. Spurs, though, surprisingly persuaded Toby Alderweireld to commit to a new deal and it is not impossible Eriksen follows suit if the right club does not make an offer. Inter, PSG, Juve and United have all been linked and it has even been suggested Eriksen could be included in a deal to take Gareth Bale back to Spurs from Madrid.


DANI OLMO (Dinamo Zagreb)

One of Europe's most in-demand young players, Olmo will surely leave Dinamo sooner rather than later. The 21-year-old midfielder, who has already been capped by Spain, says he has an offer from Barca but the LaLiga champions face strong competition for his signature. Olmo is one of a raft of players being linked to Chelsea after their transfer ban was reduced on appeal, while Manchester United and Manchester City are among the other clubs reportedly interested.


WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Another potential Chelsea target is Zaha, who was said to be close to leaving Palace during the last transfer window only for an £80million price tag to seemingly scare off suitors. Arsenal and Everton were reportedly interested in the Ivory Coast forward, with Roy Hodgson accepting Palace would have to consider "serious" offers for the 27-year-old this month. Blues boss Frank Lampard has denied Zaha is on his radar, however.

Dejan Kulusevski is closing in on a move to Juventus reportedly worth an initial €35million after arriving at the club's facility to undergo a medical.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the deal for Kulusevski could rise by a further €9m and he will sign a contract until June 2024.

The 19-year-old joined Atalanta from Brommapojkarna in 2016 but only featured for the first team three times before being sent on loan to Parma for the 2019-20 campaign.

Kulusevski has shone at the Ennio Tardini, scoring four goals and supplying seven assists in 17 Serie A appearances, and his form has not gone unnoticed by the eight-time defending champions.

While it remains unclear if Kulusevski will remain at Parma for the rest of the season, the Swede's impending arrival could pave the way for Emre Can to leave Juve in the January transfer window.

Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund have been linked with a move for Germany international Can, who has played seven times for the Bianconeri this term.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been rewriting the football history books for over a decade, and as the pair head into 2020, they are on the verge of racking up a stack of new milestones.

The iconic duo are hoping to propel their respective teams to Champions League glory this season while contesting for domestic honours in Italy and Spain, and there are new records to be set at club and international level for both players too.

Messi's Barcelona are top of LaLiga by two points and he has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games to step into the new year in optimistic mood, while Ronaldo is in a similar hot streak for Juventus after netting five in his last four Serie A outings.

At 32, Messi is two years Ronaldo's junior, but try telling the Juventus talisman that his career is nearing its end and he'll answer you with performances with all the pace, power and intensity of a player in his prime.

As two of the game's greatest embark upon what will doubtless be another year filled with glorious moments, here are the records they stand to smash along the way.

RONALDO: Most European Cup wins

Ronaldo won his fifth Champions League when Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 final and if he can inspire Juventus to glory in 2020 he will have won Europe's top competition as many times as current record holder Francisco Gento, who won six between 1956 and 1966 for Real Madrid.

MESSI: Top goal-scorer for a single team

Messi is 26 goals away from eclipsing Pele's club goals record of 643, which the Brazil legend is said to have scored for Santos. Record-keeping has become more accurate since Pele's day, and Messi is set to hit a new high that will take some beating.

RONALDO: All-time top European Championship goal-scorer

Ronaldo has scored nine goals for Portugal at the four European Championships where he has represented his country, putting him level with Michel Platini as the competition's leading scorer. If he can find the net in 2020's tournament, he will become the leading Euros marksman of all time.

MESSI AND RONALDO: Most Champions League hat-tricks

Messi and Ronaldo have scored eight hat-tricks each in the Champions League - more than any other player to have graced the competition - and if either can notch another in 2020 they could claim bragging rights for some time to come.

RONALDO: First player to be top scorer in English, Spanish and Italian top flights

Ronaldo is currently joint-fourth in the Serie A scoring charts with 10 goals, behind Joao Pedro (11), Romelu Lukaku (12) and Ciro Immobile (17), but if he can storm his way to the top in 2020 he will become the first player in history to have been top goal-scorer in the English, Spanish and Italian top flights.

MESSI: Seven Ballon d'Or wins

Ronaldo did not attend the Ballon d'Or awards ceremony in 2019 to see Messi claim a record sixth gong, and if the Barca star wins again in 2020 it is hard to see Ronaldo, who has won the award five times, ever catching him.

RONALDO: All-time international top-scorer

Ronaldo will be going all guns blazing for Portugal this year as he attempts to add to his 99 international goals and succeed Ali Daei, who scored 109 for Iran, as the top international marksman of all time.

MESSI: Four consecutive Golden Shoe awards

Messi has been the top goal-scorer in Europe for the last three consecutive seasons and he currently leads the LaLiga scoring charts with 13 goals. He was the first player to win the Golden Shoe, awarded to Europe's leading goal-scorer in league matches, three times in a row and could set another new record by doing it four times on the bounce.

Some of Europe's top clubs are already making signings ahead of the January transfer window, but Real Madrid's focus, at least for now, looks to be on securing the services of a current player.

Karim Benzema remains one of Madrid's key men, with 12 goals in 17 LaLiga matches this term.

Los Blancos will reportedly reward the striker's fine form with a contract renewal in the coming months, keeping him at the Santiago Bernabeu for another two seasons.

 

TOP STORY – BENZEMA TO STAY UNTIL 2022

Karim Benzema has agreed to sign a new contract with LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Marca.

Benzema's current deal had been set to expire in 2021, but an extension is imminent. The newspaper reports the Frenchman will be rewarded improved terms on a new contract to run until 2022 due to his outstanding form.

With Madrid enjoying a midseason break, they are said to have agreed a deal with Benzema that will be made formal at the end of the campaign.

Benzema's future is apparently a priority for Madrid, with the report suggesting the deal was only capped at an additional year as the player is determined not to outstay his welcome, leaving before his outstanding career wanes.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United reportedly have an interest in Benfica star Gedson Fernandes. Sky Sports say the 20-year-old midfielder, who has fallen out of favour with his club, could be available for £34million (€39.8m) following a loan, rather than for a loftier release clause of £102m. United are desperate to bolster their midfield, with Nemanja Matic tipped to join Inter, Milan or Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Suns says United are eyeing £50m-rated Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin after Erling Haaland signed for Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.

- The Mirror claims Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will leave Emirates Stadium at the end of the season in pursuit of silverware. Aubameyang has 18 months remaining on his contract.

Chelsea have made enquiries about the release clause in RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner's contract, says The Telegraph. Werner has been linked to Liverpool, United and Bayern Munich.

- El Desmarque says Everton are leading the race to sign James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti worked with James during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Serie A champions Juventus lead the race to sign Dejan Kulusevski, according to Sky Sport Italia and La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 19-year-old, on loan at Parma from Atalanta, has been linked to United, Arsenal, Napoli, Inter and Liverpool. But Juve are reportedly poised to pay Atalanta €40-50m, while allowing Kulusevski to remain on loan at Parma until the end of the season.

- Calciomercato.com reports Jean-Clair Todibo has an offer from Milan. A deal is said to be done for the Barcelona defender - an initial loan, followed by a €20m fee with no buyback option - but he has not yet agreed to the transfer.

- Having already signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan must move on others in the next month. However, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Rossoneri are only interested in selling Ricardo Rodriguez and Suso, rather than accommodating loan deals that would suit Watford and Sevilla, respectively.

Napoli are set to announce the signing of Stanislav Lobotka for an initial €16m, according to Calciomercato.com. The midfielder will leave Celta Vigo and sign a contract with the Partenopei until 2024.

Erling Haaland's decision to join Borussia Dortmund brought an end to one of Europe's most fascinating transfer stories.

Manchester United had been in the frame for his signature but were reportedly put off by a key demand from the striker's representatives.

As often seems to be the case for the Red Devils, Mino Raiola's involvement led to complications.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PULLED PLUG ON HAALAND BID

According to The Guardian, United abandoned their bid for the highly sought-after Haaland after learning of a request from his agent, Raiola, and father Alf-Inge Haaland.

The pair reportedly asked for a share of any future transfer fee for the 19-year-old, a stipulation the Old Trafford outfit were unwilling to meet despite their firm interest.

Haaland settled on Dortmund after the Bundesliga side activated his Salzburg buyout clause.

He had been linked to RB Leipzig, Juventus and several more top European clubs after emerging as a Champions League star.

 

ROUND-UP

- Haaland's arrival at Dortmund could lead LaLiga side  Atletico Madrid to narrow the transfer focus on Spanish striker Paco Alcacer, according to Marca. The former Barcelona player has struggled to cement a place in BVB's starting XI and represents a cheaper option in terms of wages than Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, an apparent favourite of Diego Simeone.

- AS, meanwhile, reports on potential movements elsewhere in the Spanish capital. The newspaper claims Real Madrid are preparing to recall Jesus Vallejo from his loan spell at Wolves, with a view to finding him more playing time. That could lead to a short-term switch to Leganes or Eintracht Frankfurt.

- Juventus are close to extending Wojciech Szczesny's contract yet the Serie A champions remain admirers of Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to CalcioMercato.

- Tammy Abraham wants a better deal at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea are not yet prepared to accept his demand for parity with Callum Hudson-Odoi's £180,000 per week salary, reports The Athletic.

- Manchester City are set to beat Premier League rivals United, Arsenal and Liverpool to the January signing of Barcelona's teenage left-back Juan Larios, says the Daily Star.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the 2010s in terms of individual awards and moments of pure inspiration.

Future generations will look back on this past decade as a period obsessed with the two generational talents - their often-exaggerated rivalry exacerbated by spending such a long time on opposite sides of the Clasico divide.

But, while Ronaldo and Messi have filled more column inches than any other player on the planet, there are plenty of others who have been world leaders in their respective positions.

Having looked back over the last 10 years, using Opta data for inspiration, we have selected a Team of the Decade. But who makes the cut?

Is David de Gea selected in goal? Does Luis Suarez join Messi in attack? Has Virgil van Dijk done enough for inclusion? Find out below...

OMNISPORT TEAM OF THE DECADE

Manuel Neuer

There is not much more Manuel Neuer could have achieved over the past 10 years. For much of that time he has been one of the globe's most dependable goalkeepers, even if he has shown signs of decline since a spate of foot injuries. A veteran of seven Bundesliga title triumphs and a World Cup winner with Germany, Neuer boasts a save percentage of 74.2 per cent and has comfortably the most clean sheets (139) this decade in the German top flight.

Dani Alves

Has there ever been a better right-back than Dani Alves? The Brazilian stands to leave an impressive legacy, not just through his thrilling style of play, but with his record-breaking trophy haul of 43 after captaining Brazil to Copa America success this year. Despite being a right-back, he claimed 67 assists in league action through the 2010s, though his greatest contribution came in LaLiga with Barcelona, for whom he set up 51 goals. Marcelo (48) is the closest to him, but he has played 77 times more than the current Sao Paulo star.

Vincent Kompany

Although a brilliant player at his best, it is understandable to suggest Vincent Kompany never reached his ceiling due to injuries. Nevertheless, the Belgian will go down as a Premier League great such has been his impact with Manchester City, with whom he enjoyed four title wins. Kompany recorded 83 Premier League clean sheets in the 2010s, just 10 fewer than record-setter Kyle Walker, who has played 57 more matches. His leadership qualities have been missed by City this season.

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is a player who often polarises opinion, but he's one of only three players to have been at Madrid for the entire decade, so he must be doing something right. An undisputed leader and fierce competitor, Ramos is a big-game player like few others and boasts a goal-scoring record even many midfielders would be happy with, having netted 43 times in LaLiga since the start of 2010, more than any other defender. Over the past 10 years, he's helped Los Blancos to a remarkable four Champions League titles, while he won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with Spain.

Jordi Alba

At his best, Jordi Alba was almost unstoppable. The flying left-back became a staple and key outlet for one of the great Barcelona teams, with his driving runs – on or off the ball – often creating havoc. A master at making a darting run into the box before cutting a pass back to create a chance, Alba has 38 LaLiga assists to his name for Barca, a record bettered by only Dani Alves and Marcelo among defenders. He gets the nod ahead of his Madrid counterpart as his assist haul is from 72 fewer matches.

Luka Modric

The only player to break the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or duopoly, Luka Modric has enjoyed a wonderful decade. A vital part of the Croatia team that enjoyed an historic run to the 2018 World Cup final, Modric also played a big role in Madrid's incredible Champions League domination. Toni Kroos (11,260) is the only midfielder to have completed more passes in LaLiga than Modric (10,759), while he laid on 42 assists and created 522 chances.

N'Golo Kante

If there was an award for the most likeable player of the decade, N'Golo Kante would surely be a frontrunner. Sadly there is no such thing, so he'll have to contend with inclusion in this team. Arguably the key cog in Leicester City's remarkable Premier League title win, Kante followed that up with similarly impressive form at Chelsea and with France, winning the World Cup with Les Bleus last year. He has made 912 tackles and interceptions in the Premier League, putting him fifth among players with 200 appearances or fewer this decade, and each of those who rank higher have played at least 20 matches more.

David Silva

When David Silva leaves Man City at the end of the season, there will inevitably be a debate as to whether he can be regarded the Premier League's greatest 'import'. That this will even be suggested tells you the impact he has had. No one gets close to Silva's record of 89 Premier League assists in the 2010s, with the Spaniard almost certainly the most consistent creator the division has seen in the past 10 years. He was similarly important for Spain until his post-World Cup retirement last year, having previously lifted the trophy in South Africa in 2010 and at Euro 2012, eventually accumulating 125 caps.

Lionel Messi

Where does one even begin with Lionel Messi? If any single player has defined the 2010s – from an individual perspective – in world football, it is surely the Barcelona talisman. In LaLiga, Messi has amassed 505 goal involvements (369 goals, 136 assist) in 343 matches since the start of the decade, routinely carrying Barca to victory. He has won every trophy possible with the Blaugrana over the past 10 years and claimed five Ballons d'Or, with his 2019 victory giving him a record-breaking sixth. Although now 32, he remains frighteningly decisive – all that eludes him is international success with Argentina.

Robert Lewandowski

A long list of immense strikers have starred throughout the 2010s, but arguably chief among them – Ronaldo aside – is Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski. Having moved from Borussia Dortmund, whom he helped turn into Champions League contenders, the Poland international has developed into a remarkable all-round striker. In 307 Bundesliga games he has 221 goals from 1,163 attempts, meaning he scores every 5.2 shots – by contrast, Ronaldo needs 6.4 efforts per goal. Although he is yet to win Europe's elite club competition, there is little doubt the Pole appears to be getting better with age having already notched 19 league goals this term, just three short of his total for 2018-19.

Cristiano Ronaldo

In the somewhat tiresome 'Ronaldo or Messi' debate about which superstar is "better", the former can at least point to his international successes with Portugal as something that sets him apart, having lifted Euro 2016 and the 2018-19 Nations League. That is just the tip of the iceberg for his brilliance in the 2010s, however. Across spells with Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo has scored 335 league goals and laid on 95 assists. With Los Blancos he helped inspire four Champions League successes, also winning a couple of LaLiga titles. What a privilege it has been to see Ronaldo and Messi in the same era.

Cristiano Ronaldo rounded off 2019 by winning the prize for best men's player at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards.

Ronaldo, who came third in the 2019 Ballon d'Or rankings behind Virgil van Dijk and winner Lionel Messi, has now won the award six times out of its nine years of existence.

It also marked a fourth successive triumph at the awards for the 34-year-old, who helped Juventus claim the 2018-19 Serie A title in his first season in Italy while also playing a key role in Portugal winning the Nations League. 

"I have to thank my family, my girlfriend, my boy there, Cristiano, my three kids who are waiting for me in the hotel, my friends, my team-mates of Juventus and the national team, my agent, all the people here tonight who support this gala," Ronaldo said, as reported by ​thenational.ae. 

"I have to say thank you to the Arabic community, which is always great with me. I have to thank Dubai as well – it's a marvellous place to be, I'm coming every year and I love this place.

"And finally to thank [everyone] who voted for me. It's a great honour to be here and receive this amazing award. I hope to be here next year to receive this award, of course. Thanks to everyone, and a happy New Year."

Ronaldo was not the only big-name winner at the event, with Atletico Madrid youngster Joao Felix named as the "best revelation player" while Miralem Pjanic was given the "player career" award.

England international Lucy Bronze was crowned best women's player of the year, while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was named as the best manager.

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