Messi in contention to end Ronaldo's Globe Soccer Awards dominance

By Sports Desk October 30, 2019

Lionel Messi will be hoping to dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo at the Globe Soccer Awards after both were named among the nominees for the Best Men's Player for 2019.

Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool team-mates Alisson, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are also up for the annual honour, which is to be presented in Dubai on December 29.

Bernardo Silva, part of the Manchester City side largely snubbed at the FIFA Best awards, rounds out the seven-man field.

Juventus forward and five-time winner Ronaldo claimed the main prize for the third consecutive year in 2018.

Barcelona superstar Messi has won it once, in 2015.

United States stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan headline the contenders for the Best Women's Player title.

Lyon trio Amandine Henry, Lucy Bronze and Ada Hegerberg are all shortlisted and the French outfit have been nominated for Best Club, alongside Liverpool and Ajax.

Jurgen Klopp, Erik ten Hag, Fernando Santos and Djamel Belmadi, who guided Algeria to victory at the Africa Cup of Nations, are in contention to succeed Didier Deschamps as Best Coach, as is former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Other award categories include Best Agent, Best Sporting Director and Best Revelation, designed to recognise emerging players.

Inter's Antonio Conte, ex-England manager Fabio Capello and Portugal legend Luis Figo form part of the judging panel.

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    The England midfielder climbed into the stands after Spurs' penalty shoot-out loss having been angered by the actions of a supporter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    Stewards intervened to separate Dier from the individual, with manager Jose Mourinho saying afterwards that his player had reacted to insults towards his younger brother.

    Dier was charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA) in April.

    He denied his actions had been threatening, but an independent regulatory commission found otherwise, with the FA confirming his sanction on Wednesday.

    "Eric Dier has been suspended for four matches with immediate effect, fined £40,000 and warned as to his future conduct following a breach of FA Rule E3," read an FA statement.

    "The Tottenham Hotspur FC player admitted that his actions at the conclusion of a fixture against Norwich City FC in the FA Cup on March 4, 2020 were improper but denied that they were also threatening.

    "An independent regulatory commission subsequently found Eric Dier's actions to be threatening."

    The suspension comes into immediate effect, meaning Dier will miss all but one of Spurs' remaining five Premier League games, which includes the derby against Arsenal on Sunday.

     

  • Rumour Has It: Mbappe, Havertz and Camavinga waiting on Madrid before contract talks Rumour Has It: Mbappe, Havertz and Camavinga waiting on Madrid before contract talks

    Real Madrid are planning to make a splash in the transfer market.

    Reports claim three of Europe's finest – Kylian Mbappe, Kai Havertz and Eduardo Camavinga – are waiting to make the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

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    TOP STORY – TRIO WAITING ON LOS BLANCOS

    Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga are holding off contract talks as they wait for Real Madrid, according to the frontpage of Wednesday's edition of Marca.

    Mbappe is highly coveted by Zinedine Zidane and Madrid, Havertz has been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, while Camavinga is reportedly a Madrid target.

    However, the trio may have to wait beyond this year to make the move to the Spanish capital, though Sport Bild claims Havertz has asked to leave Leverkusen before 2020-21.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Sport reports Barcelona still want to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, despite his release clause expiring.

    Borussia Dortmund have issued an ultimatum to United. Sport Bild claims United have been told if they want to bid for Jadon Sancho, the deal must be done by August 10. Sancho has been heavily tipped to move to Old Trafford.

    Arsenal want to sign Lyon's Moussa Dembele if they lose Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, reports Foot Mercato. Lacazette has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter, while Barca, PSG and other clubs are reportedly interested in Aubameyang.

    Inter are not David Alaba's first choice should he leave Bayern, says Sport Bild. Alaba has been linked to Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City.

    Sevilla are leading Juventus and Inter in the pursuit of Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, says the Express.

    - According to the Express, Tottenham are confident of signing Kurt Zouma from London rivals Chelsea at the end of the season.

    - Could Inter be about to hijack Napoli's bid for Lille forward Victor Osimhen? The Nigeria international has been tipped to join Napoli in a €80million deal, however, Le10Sport says Inter are making a last-ditch attempt to sign Osimhen.

    - Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri has handed in a transfer request as he looks to reunite with Antonio Conte at Inter, reports Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira.

    Milan are trying to hijack Inter's move for Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Inter have been favourites to land Tonali but Ralf Rangnick – who is tipped to become Milan's head coach in 2020-21 – has reportedly made the Italy international his top target.

  • Jesus woes, missing Aguero - An Opta look at Man City's misfiring attack Jesus woes, missing Aguero - An Opta look at Man City's misfiring attack

    A couple of days on, Manchester City's 1-0 defeat at Southampton – their ninth loss of a limp and unsuccessful Premier League title defence – still appeared to be irritating Pep Guardiola.

    How had it happened again? Such wastefulness.

    Guardiola warned his players their FA Cup and Champions League hopes will go up in smoke if they remain so profligate, with his suggested remedy sounding more like exasperation than a practical solution.

    "The only solution when you create 26 chances [and don't win] is to do 35," he said, recalling the precise number of attempts City had without scoring on England's south coast last weekend.

    "And if 35 is not enough, 40. And if 40 is not enough, 45."

    The City manager stopped before his chances to minutes ratio ran away from him entirely, but his team do create a phenomenal amount of opportunities.

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    Put simply, if fairly absurdly, the division's top scorers have a goalscoring problem.

    NO SALVATION FOR JESUS

    Sergio Aguero's knee-injury absence means Gabriel Jesus is City's only fit senior striker. This is certainly not the best time for the Brazil international to be enduring a nine-match goal drought.

    Speaking ahead of Wednesday's home game against Newcastle United, Guardiola made a point of praising Jesus' performance at Southampton, but his numbers make for grim reading.

    Of the five opportunities Opta classified as big chances to pass the visitors by at St Mary's, Jesus spurned three of them. His xG figure for that barren showing was 1.36.

    In 29 Premier League appearances, the 23-year-old has scored 10 times in 2019-20. This is a significant under-performance of his 14.7 xG.

    Jesus' big-chance conversion rate is 25 per cent. No City player has enjoyed more than his 28 opportunities of that sort, yet just seven have ended up in the net.

    However, as noted above, this is a team-wide problem for which Jesus is currently – albeit somewhat understandably – the main scapegoat.

    THREE AND NOT SO EASY

    As of Monday, there had been 24 occasions this Premier League season when a team registered an xG in excess of three during a single match.

    City have done so six times, more than any other club. However, their xG of 3.25 against Southampton means they are also the only team to have lost when racking up such a dominant statistic.

    Burnley's 3.15 xG only amounted to a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham, but in the other 22 instances, the team creating such a high volume of quality chances prevailed.

    City also had an xG of exactly three during their 2-2 draw at home to Spurs last August - an outcome Guardiola still frequently references when assessing where the campaign went awry.

    AGUERO LEADS THE WAY

    City's all-time leading goalscorer, Aguero turned 32 last month and is out of contract at the end of next season.

    The team's recent struggles arguably give an uncomfortable insight into the not-too-distant future. None of Guardiola's other main forward options are as reliably clinical or prolific.

    Aguero' 16 Premier League goals this season arrived at a frequency of one every 91 minutes. In contrast to Jesus, he out-performed his xG of 14.6. The Argentina international converted 13 of 25 big chances (52 per cent).

    Raheem Sterling was on target during the recent comprehensive wins over Arsenal and Liverpool, but his haul of 13 dips below an xG mark of 14.8, in part due to 10 of 26 big chances being finished off (38 per cent).

    MAHREZ AND FODEN OFFER HOPE

    Elsewhere, Opta's numbers show not all City players should despair when confronted with a sight of goal.

    Riyad Mahrez has an xG projection of six Premier League goals this term, but is up to nine in reality.  The former Leicester City winger isn't entirely immune to the jitters, however, with four of his six big chances missed.

    Perhaps the situation calls for bold belief of a special young talent.

    Phil Foden's provides a smaller sample size in terms of minutes played, yet the England Under-21 star has four goals despite an xG figure of 1.3.

    All of those goals – a brace against Burnley in between strikes versus Arsenal and Liverpool – have come since lockdown and Foden is two from two when it comes to big chances.

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