Ramos: Let's have two Ballon d'Or awards - one for Messi and Ronaldo and one for everyone else

By Sports Desk December 10, 2019

Sergio Ramos has joked there should be one Ballon d'Or award for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - and an alternative trophy for the rest of the world's footballers to fight over.

Real Madrid captain Ramos has a stack of individual accolades alongside the host of trophies he has won in his Santiago Bernabeu career.

But like so many great players of the last 12 years, he has been put in the shade by Messi and Ronaldo when it comes to the biggest awards.

From 2008, when Ronaldo first landed the Ballon d'Or, through to Messi scooping the honour earlier this month, the pair have had a near total duopoly, interrupted only in 2018 by Luka Modric's success.

Ronaldo has taken the prize five times and Messi six, prompting Ramos to jest that the pair should be left alone to slug it out for one trophy, while giving everyone else a chance of taking another.

"They could make a Ballon d'Or only for Cristiano and Messi depending on results...and another for the rest," Ramos told Mexican broadcaster TUDN. "In the end it would be better for football."

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk split Barcelona star Messi and Juventus forward Ronaldo this year, taking second place in the vote conducted by France Football magazine.

But the star goal-getters have been the dominant figures in the world game for over a decade, establishing a rivalry for who will be remembered as the greatest of their generation.

Ramos played alongside Ronaldo for many years at Madrid, before the Portuguese moved to Italy in July 2018.

At the age of 33, and as he approaches 15 years as a Madrid player, the captain of Spain is targeting next year's Olympic Games football tournament and sees himself playing on for several seasons yet.

"I will play until the excitement goes, but my excitement is very great," Ramos said, according to Marca. "I will make the most of everything football has to offer for as long as I feel good. I look after myself well and I hope to continue for many years."

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    The Bundesliga giants sealed a remarkable 8-2 win in Lisbon, with Muller on target twice to send Bayern into the semi-finals.

    A delighted Muller received the man of the match award following another exceptional display from the forward, who suggested Bayern's style of play rendered the opposition practically irrelevant.

    "I think in this moment our team is in incredible shape," the Germany international told BT Sport.

    "Thanks for the man of the match trophy – maybe we have 12 to 15 players who deserve it. We worked so hard and have this intensity. It's tough to beat us. It was so much fun.

    "For our style of play it doesn't matter about the names of players we are facing. When someone presses and dribbles, it's not a problem. Then we catch the ball and have so much talent in the offensive line.

    "We feel good, but now we have to be quiet and regenerate."

    Muller described the result as a major statement of intent, but he quickly pointed out that Hansi Flick's side would be starting from scratch in the next round, when they will face either Manchester City or Lyon.

    "This is a big statement but the next game we start at 0-0. The statement doesn't matter," said the 30-year-old.

    "The other teams will watch our game and they can be impressed or not. We start at 0-0 and have to win the next game.

    "Today we have to be very happy. After we wake up and answer the messages on the phone then we have to focus.

    "I know about these tournament situations. Most of the time after the big wins [Muller featured in Germany's 7-1 win over Brazil at the 2014 World Cup] it's difficult."

  • It's shameful – Pique calls for big changes at Barcelona following Bayern capitulation It's shameful – Pique calls for big changes at Barcelona following Bayern capitulation

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    After finishing second to Real Madrid in LaLiga and failing in the Copa del Rey this season, Barca's final hopes of silverware were dashed in remarkable fashion in Lisbon on Friday.

    Thomas Muller, Ivan Perisic, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho – who came on to score twice in the space of four minutes against his parent club – handed Bayern an emphatic victory at Estadio da Luz.

    While Bayern can look forward to a semi-final against either Manchester City or Lyon, Barca must now contemplate a rebuild ahead of the new season.

    It is a project which centre-back Pique insists has to be carried out, and he believes any changes made must not just be limited to the coaching or playing staff.

    "I'm in pain. We all are. We can't compete like that," Pique told Movistar. "It's very, very tough to take. Nothing more is worth saying.

    "The club needs changes. Not just the players, I don't want to point out anyone.

    "It's shameful. Shame is the word. Structurally we need changes at all levels."

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    "Football is a sport where change is constantly required. We must change the dynamic we are on because I believe we have just hit bottom.

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    Philippe Coutinho, on loan to Bayern from Barcelona, provided the final humiliation with an assist and two goals after coming off the bench in the second half.

    The game for Quique Setien's men went from bad to worse as they tumbled out at the quarter-final stage.

    Not even Lionel Messi could keep the Camp Nou giants in the game, with Barcelona a defensive shambles.

    Here is a look at the game, using Opta data to show how Barcelona imploded as Bayern demonstrated why so many fancy them for the title.

    1 - Barcelona became the first team to ship four goals in the first half of a Champions League knockout game since Porto conceded five to Bayern in April 2015, in the second leg of a quarter-final.

    3 - Three of the coaches in the semi-finals will be German, with Bayern's Hansi Flick joining RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann and Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Tuchel. The Champions League has never before seen three head coaches from a single nation represented in the semi-finals.

    5 - Robert Lewandowski became the fifth player in European Cup or Champions League history to score in eight consecutive games, and the first from Bayern to achieve the feat.

    6 - Thomas Muller has now scored more goals in the Champions League against Barcelona than any other player. His fifth and sixth came before the break, meaning Muller has overtaken Andriy Shevchenko, who netted five in his career against Barca. This is just Muller's fifth appearance against Barcelona in the competition.

    7 - Barcelona had just seven shots in the entire match.

    8 - Bayern became the first team to score eight times in a Champions League knockout game, while Barcelona conceded eight for the first time since losing 8-0 to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey in 1946.

    23 - Muller's double took him to 23 career goals in the Champions League knockout stages, and he stands third on that list behind Cristiano Ronaldo (67) and Messi (47).

    29 - Barcelona's oldest XI for a Champions League match was picked apart. Their average age was 29 years and 329 days, and Barca looked like veterans as they were repeatedly carved open.

    31 - Bayern's fourth goal arrived in the 31st minute, making it the earliest point of a Champions League knockout game by which a team has scored four.

    50 - Lewandowski reached 50 Champions League goals for Bayern in what was his 60th game for the German giants in the competition. That is a record only ever bettered in the competition by Ronaldo, who reached the landmark in 50 games for Real Madrid.

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