Posts Tagged ‘FC Barcelona’

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ludovic Péron

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ludovic Péron

The Ballon d’Or, club football’s most prestigious award will be handled out in Zurich, Switzerland on January 13th. If momentum and personal endorsements mean anything at all, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo should collect the prize for the second time in his career.

He faces competition from media-designated rival Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery. Barcelona striker Lionel Messi had another excellent year individually on the way to another La Liga title. French international Ribery was probably the best player in an all-conquering Bayern side that won five trophies in 2013.

The award is given to the best individual performer in football, and on that basis it is very difficult to argue against Cristiano Ronaldo winning this award for a second time. Lionel Messi, again put up outstanding numbers, but he has been sidelined for most of the second half of the year. Ribery had a terrific year but some argue that he was the beneficiary of an excellent Bayern team.

Cristiano Ronaldo was again, outstanding for Real Madrid, despite the club not winning any silverware. He was the leading scorer in the Champions League and finished second to Messi in La Liga scoring. However, it was his performance in Portugal’s World Cup qualifying play-off against Sweden that probably tipped the balance in his favour.

It would still be unfair to say that the Real Madrid winger will win this award for his performance in one game, out of many. Instead, Cristiano Ronaldo will win the 2013 Ballon d’Or because he is the most deserving overall. His three-goal performance against Sweden to seal Portugal’s place in Brazil was the defining moment of an exceptional year for an exceptional player.

Here are the 5 reasons Cristiano Ronaldo should, and will win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

Cristiano Ronaldo Had The Best Year Individually

As personal statistics are concerned, it was probably the best year of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career. He scored 69 goals in total for Real Madrid and Portugal. He also broke several records, including the most Champions League goals in a calendar year with 15. Ronaldo also broke the record for most goals in the Champions League group stage with nine. And, if that is not enough, he scored in six consecutive Champions League games in 2013.

In comparison, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 69 goals were more than Lionel Messi (45) and Franck Ribery (23) combined. All things considered, could the Argentine captain have outscored the Portuguese if he had remained healthy. Yes, absolutely, especially if you consider the fact that Messi has outscored Ronaldo over the last five seasons, 272 to 253. But, of course, that did not happen. An award like this should only take into account concrete facts.

Cristiano Ronaldo Cannot Be Blamed For Real Madrid’s Problems

The best argument against Ronaldo winning this award is that his club, Real Madrid did not win a single title in 2013. In comparison, his great rival Lionel Messi won another La Liga title. Not to mention, Franck Ribery’s Bayern Munich side which won the Bundesliga title and the Champions League.

But the Ballon d’Or is designed to be awarded to the best individual player in a calendar year. And based on that, the award should still go to Ronaldo. Also, team success has not always been a major factor in awarding the Ballon d’Or. In 2012, Lionel Messi scored an amazing 92 goals in all competitions but Barcelona only won the Copa del Rey that year. Cristiano Ronaldo in comparison, won the La Liga title with Real Madrid and led Portugal to the semi-finals of the European Championships.

Cristiano Ronaldo Is, At The Very Least, A Worthy Rival To Lionel Messi

Over the last decade, the Messi Vs. Ronaldo debate has dominated the public discourse in the football world. In fairness, the Argentine has bested the Portuguese in terms of individual awards and team success. However, many people still think the Portuguese is still an equal, if not more.

The fact is that most people do not blame the Portuguese for the lack of trophies at Real Madrid in his four seasons. It is not like he has not played his part. Ronaldo has scored an amazing 228 goals in 220 matches as of January 3rd for the club. Plus, it has always been dubious to compare a player with another player, especially if they are different types. The fact is that so much comes down to subjectivity. In terms of the all-time greats, Messi and Ronaldo will surely be on any shortlist and let us leave it at that.

Cristiano Ronaldo Is The Most Complete Player Today And One Of The Best All-Time

The Portuguese captain is perhaps the closest player to the definition of an ideal modern footballer. Ronaldo has virtually every tool at his disposal that any manager or pundit could ask for. Judge for yourself: speed, football IQ, dribbling, physique, muscle mass, height, powerful shot, heading ability, kicks with both feet, scores on free-kicks, goals from distance, and plenty more.

His two rivals are exceptional individuals as well. Lionel Messi’s main attribute is his dribbling, which must rank among the best of all-time. Franck Ribery, is a more orthodox winger than the Portuguese. The Frenchmen is a great dribbler, excellent one-on-one, provides accurate crosses and also scores plenty of goals. But in terms of individual ability, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most complete in the game today.

Cristiano Ronaldo Is The Most Valuable Player For Club And Country

Among Madridistas and Portugal supporters, Cristiano Ronaldo is without a doubt the most valuable player on the squad. For Real Madrid, the Portuguese has scored many timely goals for the club and has even pitched in when the club has not always succeeded. For example, he has scored 11 goals in the last 12 matches against Barcelona.

As an international player, Cristiano Ronaldo has had his ups and downs but few argue that he is to blame for Portugal’s inability to win a major tournament. He is currently tied as the country’s all-time leading goal scorer with former PSG striker Pauleta. And he has had success, which has just fallen short. As a youngster he made the finals of Euro 2004. Plus, he made the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Franck Ribery was on the French team that lost to Italy at the 2006 World Cup. But since then, the Bayern Munich winger has not led France past the quarter finals of any tournament. Lionel Messi won an Olympic Gold medal and U20 World Cup, but in major tournaments at the senior level he has been disappointing. But of course, this year’s World Cup is an opportunity for one of these great players to prove all their doubters wrong. At least for now, advantage Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Portuguese sports website Maisfutebol is reporting that Ricardo Quaresma will sign a two and a half-year deal with FC Porto. The contract could be finalized as early as this week.

The Portuguese winger rescinded his contract with Dubai-based club Al Ahli and is expected to return to the club where he had the best moments of his career. Quaresma would arrive as a free agent which means the club will not pay a transfer fee.

Maisfutebol is reporting that the 30-year-old was in Porto last week and has now settled into a house north of the city. Porto manager Paulo Fonseca is currently planning to integrate Quaresma into training, according to the same reports.

Supremely talented, but with a volatile personality, Ricardo Quaresma never really fulfilled the potential many people had of him when he burst onto the scene.

He is best known for his exceptional ability, in particular the famous ‘trivela,’ which consists of striking the ball with the outside of the foot with great voracity. Goalkeepers were unable to read which direction the ball would be going until it was often too late.

A product of Sporting Lisbon’s famed academy, Ricardo Quaresma dazzled fans in his early days with the club. In 2003, he received his first call-up to the Portuguese national team. His performances earned him a transfer to FC Barcelona that same year.

At this time, most people considered him a better prospect than even Cristiano Ronaldo, who is two years younger. Ronaldo would move to Manchester United in 2003 and the rest as they say is history.

At Barcelona, Quaresma did not have a particularly great season, and fell-out with then manager Frank Rijkaard. A sign of things to come. Refusing to play for the club any longer, Quaresma moved to FC Porto.

Between 2004-08, Quaresma enjoyed the best years of his career. He won three league titles with the club and was named the best player in the league in 2006.

In 2008 he moved to Serie A club Inter Milan, who were then coached by José Mourinho. He saw very little game action over his two years at the Italian club. Quaresma’s attitude is said to have been a problem. He played no role in Inter’s 2009-10 Champions League win.

Quaresma was released ahead of the 2010-11 season. He signed with Turkish club Beşiktaş where he put together some good performances the next two seasons. He was re-called to the Portuguese national team and was even selected for Euro 2012.

But his personality would once again be a problem. At Beşiktaş he clashed with Portuguese manager Carlos Carvalhal and eventually the club released him. He signed with Al Ahli in January 2013.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Cristiano Ronaldo will contest FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribéry for the Best Player in Europe award.

The award is given to the best player in European football. This is the third year that the award has been handed out.

This is also the third straight year that the Portuguese winger has finished in the top three. In 2010-11 he finished third behind winner Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández. Last year, Ronaldo tied for second along side great rival Messi, and behind winner Andrés Iniesta.

Ronaldo had another inspirational year scoring 59 goals and adding 17 assists in 64 matches for club and country in 2012-13. This included leading the UEFA Champions League in scoring with 12 goals in 12 matches. However, his Real Madrid side was eliminated by Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals of the competition.

He faces some strong competition from Lionel Messi who had another excellent season with FC Barcelona. French winger Franck Ribéry was part of an excellent Bayern team that won the Champions League and the Bundesliga titles.

Related Posts:

MATCH REVIEW: Cristiano Ronaldo Shines But Portugal Disappoint Again

MATCH REVIEW: Cristiano Ronaldo Scores Against Manchester United In Entertaining Draw

MATCH REVIEW: Cristiano Ronaldo Downs Barcelona in Copa Del Rey Semi-Final

MATCH PREVIEW: Cristiano Ronaldo Returns To Old Trafford

GIL VICENTE - SPORTING    ( 2012/2013 )

Sporting Lisbon winger Bruma was the most notable addition to Portugal’s U-20 squad that will participate in the upcoming World Cup in Turkey. Sporting’s Tiago Ilori, Benfica’s Andre Gomes and FC Porto’s Ricardo Pereira also made the squad.

Edgar Borges’ U20 squad finished fourth in the recent Toulon Tournament after losing to France in the third place match. Along with Bruma, Borges added right-back João Cancelo, goalkeeper Bruno Varela, and forward Gonçalo Paciência, who is the son of current PAOK manager Domingos Paciência.

Notables left off the squad include Betinho, Ivan Cavaleiro, Piqueti, André Pereira and Frederico Venâncio, who were all at the Toulon tournament.

Portugal are drawn in Group B, alongside Cuba, South Korea and Nigeria. The squad faces Nigeria in their first match on June 21st.

A defensively-minded squad lead by veteran manager Ilídio Vale surprised everyone by making it to the final of the previous World Cup two years ago, losing to Brazil. Portugal heads into the tournament this year with a squad full of promising players.

When asked about his squad’s chances of winning their third U20 championship, manager Edgar Borges was quick to dismiss any high expectations. “Everyone always hopes for the best. Who does not dream should not be part of a project like this, but we know that it will be very difficult,” Borges told media at the news conference.

“We are very proud to have on our shoulders the expectation to win and we will do everything we can to do so. I cannot promise a title, but we will do whatever it takes to get there.”

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Bruno Varela (Benfica), José Sá (Marítimo) e Rafael Veloso (Belenenses);

Defenders: Edgar Ié (FC Barcelona), Kiko (Vitória FC de Setúbal), João Cancelo (Benfica), Mica (Sporting), Tiago Ilori (Sporting), Tiago Ferreira (FC Porto) e Tomás Dabó (Sporting de Braga);

Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), Tó-Zé (FC Porto), João Mário (Sporting), Agostinho Cá (FC Barcelona), Alves (Belenenses) e Tiago Silva (Belenenses);

Forwards: Aladje (FC Aprilia), Bruma (Sporting), Gonçalo Paciência (FC Porto), Ricardo Pereira (FC Porto) e Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting).

Related Posts:

PORTUGAL U-20: André Gomes, Tiago Ilori, Ricardo Pereira Named To The Portugal Squad for The Toulon Tournament

SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Dynamic Winger Bruma

PLAYER PROFILE: European Giants Chase Sporting Lisbon’s Bruma

FC PORTO: Dragões Sign Ricardo And Tiago Rodrigues From Vitória de Guimarães

SCOUTING REPORT: Benfica’s Promising Youngster André Gomes

SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Central Defender Tiago Ilori

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Portugal will field an impressive squad for this year’s Toulon Tournament which will begin at the end of May. The tournament is an annual event in southern France and will act as a preparation for next month’s U-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Portugal is drawn in the more difficult group B alongside Belgium, Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil. Mexico is the defending champions of the Toulon Tournament which Portugal did not qualify for last year. Edgar Borges’ club will begin the tournament on May 31st against Belgium in Nîmes. Borges has previously coached Portugal’s U-17 and U-19 squads.

A surprising Portuguese club coached by Ilídio Vale reached the finals of the previous U-20 World Cup in 2011 losing to Brazil. Current Chelsea midfielder Oscar scored all three goals in the final to help defeat Portugal 3-2 in extra time.

The Portuguese squad included Nelson Oliveira, Nuno Reis, Roderick Miranda, Cédric Soares, and Amido Baldé. Brazil did not qualify this year for the World Cup in Turkey. This time around, expectations are much higher for the squad.

Benfica’s André Gomes, Sporting players Tiago Ilori, Betinho and Ricardo Esgaio, Porto’s recent signing Ricardo Pereira, as well as Barcelona’s Agostinho Cá and Edgar Ié were just some of the players added to the squad on Friday.

Notable omissions include Sporting 18-year-old winger Bruma and Manchester City’s Marcos Lopes. The squad for the U-20 World Cup will be announced at a later date.

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: André Pereira (Vitória Guimarães), José Sá (Marítimo) e Rafael Veloso (Belenenses).

Defenders: Edgar Ié (Barcelona), Kiko (Vitória Setúbal), Frederico Venâncio (Vitória Setúbal), Michael (Sporting), Tiago Ilori (Sporting), Tiago Ferreira (FC Porto) e Tomás Dabó (Sporting Braga).

Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), Tó Zé (FC Porto), João Mário (Sporting), Agostinho Cá (FC Barcelona), Alves (Belenenses) e Tiago Silva (Belenenses).

Forwards: Aladje (FC Aprilia), Betinho (Sporting), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Piqueti (Sporting Braga), Ricardo Pereira (Vitória Guimarães) e Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting).

Manager: Edgar Borges

Related Posts:

SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Central Defender Tiago Ilori

SCOUTING REPORT: Benfica’s Promising Youngster André Gomes

FC PORTO: Dragões Sign Ricardo And Tiago Rodrigues From Vitória de Guimarães

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Cristiano Ronaldo continues to add to his legend, after scoring two goals in the Copa Del Rey semi-finals against Barcelona. Jose Mourinho’s club defeated their archrivals at the Camp Nou 3-1 on Tuesday night, and 4-2 overall on aggregate to advance to the domestic cup final.

It is increasingly difficult to believe that the Seleção captain was once labeled a ‘big game flop’ by his critics. The Madeiran-born Portuguese international now has 9 goals in the last 9 El Classico against Barcelona. He has also scored in the last 6 matches in Barcelona.

The match began well for the home side, when Barcelona winger Pedro dribbled into the box and found Lionel Messi to the left of Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Diego Lopez. The Argentine’s shot however went wide of the goal. This was the closest the four-time Ballon D’Or winner would come.

From then on, Barcelona tried to play their typical style of monopolizing possession and find cracks in the opposing team’s defence. But on this night, Jose Mourinho’s club, perhaps taking a page from AC Milan the previous week defended well around the box and waited for their chances on the counterattack.

The Real Madrid attack was of course led by Ronaldo, whose flashes of speed and skill frustrated the Barcelona defence all night. In the 12th minute, Ronaldo found some room on the right side and ran with the ball into the box, only to be clearly fouled by Gerard Piqué.

Referee Alberto Undiano quickly pointed to the spot. Cristiano Ronaldo then stepped up and fired it into the left corner to give Los Blancos the lead. Barcelona’s response was poor. Too often did Blaugrana put together a series of passes only to be ultimately stymied by the Real Madrid defence.

The match went into half-time in Barcelona with Real Madrid up 2-1 on aggregate. Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao had a terrific chance to score early in the second half through a pass from Xabi Alonso. But the former Benfica defender could only manage a weak shot that was easily handled by goalkeeper Jose Pinto.

It was Barcelona, however that managed the best opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half. But they could not capitalize which would ultimately prove very costly.

In the 57th minute, Sami Khedira delivered an excellent pass to former Benfica midfielder Angel di Maria to the right of the Barcelona goal. The Argintinian ran into the box and fired a hard shot on goal that was deflected by Pinto into the direction of the most dangerous man on the field, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese superstar fired the shot past Pinto and Jordi Alba for the crucial second away goal. Real Madrid never took their foot off the pedal after that. Defender Raphaël Varane would score with his head off a corner 10 minutes later to assure there was no going back.

Jordi Alba’s late goal for Barcelona meant nothing as Real Madrid deservedly earn their place in the Copa Del Rey final. They will find out who they will be playing when Atletico Madrid faces Sevilla in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday. The final is scheduled for May 17th.

Portuguese international Pepe was expected to start the match but reportedly picked up an injury in the warm-up and was not fit to start. Though he came in as a substitute in the 78th minute for Mesut Ozil. Fabio Coentrao played the full 90 minutes and continued his streak of excellent form for his club team.

The two clubs will face one another again at the Camp Nou on Saturday in a meaningless La Liga match. Barcelona are firmly ahead in the domestic league. Though Jose Mourinho’s side will take solace in the fact that they could still salvage something from what has so far been a disappointing campaign.

Real Madrid will look forward to the second leg of their Champions League match-up against Manchester United. The match will be Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford where his legend first began.