Lionel Messi, Neymar and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe are among the final players named on the 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist.
They are joined by Mbappe’s France team-mates Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane, as well as Croatia star Luka Modric, who won the World Cup Golden Ball.
Modric’s international team-mates Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic are also on the shortlist, as are Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Completing the final 15 nominees for France Football’s prize are Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Sergio Ramos, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.
Mbappe scored 21 goals for Paris Saint-Germain last season before starring in France’s triumphant Russia 2018 campaign, netting three times on their way to the final and then again in the 4-2 win over Croatia that sealed their second World Cup triumph.
The teenager is also on the 10-player shortlist for the inaugural Kopa Trophy, a new prize for the best player under 21, which is judged by stars including Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.
Messi and Neymar did not enjoy World Cups as memorable as Mbappe’s, but they were instrumental in Barcelona and PSG’s respective title wins.
Other players vying for the 2018 Ballon d’Or include last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann.
Sourced From: Complete Sports Nigeria
Ronaldo Reveals His First Encounter With Taribo West
The defender and the Brazilian phenomenon shared the same dressing room at Inter Milan, but the attacker revealed that both of them had met many years earlier.
Taribo West excelled as a defender against some of football’s greats, including Brazil’s Ronaldo de Lima, in a football career that spanned almost 15 years. While the two former stars became teammates and friends at Inter Milan, the 2002 World Cup winner has shared his first-ever encounter facing West on a football pitch.
West was only 19 years old when he moved to Europe to join French side Auxerre in 1993. He had been a revelation in the domestic scene for the four previous years, starring for Sharks of Port Harcourt, Enugu Rangers, and Julius Berger.
The young defender had also become the defensive pillar of the Nigeria U20 team.
Another four successful years in France brought the Ligue 1 title and two Cup trophies before West completed a summer switch to Serie A giants, Internazionale.
It was at Inter Milan that he became teammates with Ronaldo.
But the two players’ paths had earlier crossed in 1996 when West stood firm in defence as Nigeria’s Dream Team brushed aside a Ronaldo-inspired Brazil on the way to claiming the Atlanta Olympic Games gold medal.
But Ronaldo, 43, insists they had both met before that time at an international youth tourney when West featured for Nigeria’s U20 team against an Under-17 Brazilian team that Ronaldo in its lineup.
Recalling in an Instagram chat with Italian striker Christian Vieri monitored by ilbianconero, Ronaldo hints that he endured a difficult time battling his future teammate.
“I was in the under 16, and we were in retreat with the Brazilian national team for two weeks.
“At the time I was 15, and we made a friendly match with Nigeria Under-20 team where Taribo played.
“They were very fast; they were adults, we were only 15 years old. On that occasion, I exchanged shoes with Taribo, but we didn’t know each other yet.
“After so many years, we met at Inter.”
Sourced From: Soccernet.ng
Image Credit: Getty Images
Tranfers: Ndidi Speaks On Leicester City’s Exit
The Super Eagles star has been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium, but he has shut down those rumours.
Wilfred Ndidi insists he has no intention of quitting Leicester City as he is enjoying his time with at the club. The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to two of Premier League’s topsides, Arsenal and Manchester United.
The Nigeria international has been an important player for the Foxes since he joined them from Genk in 2017.
This season, Ndidi is playing an essential role in Brendan Rodgers side surge in the Premier League table. The Foxes are currently third on the table with Ndidi playing an important part.
The former Genk star is known for breaking up attacking play which is why he is joint second as the player with most interceptions in the Premier League this season.
He’s also the base that sets up Leicester City’s attack. As a result of his impressive performances, top clubs like Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal are reportedly interested in Ndidi’s services.
But the Nigeria international insists he intends to honour his contract, which he just extended till 2024.
“We are doing well, and I am enjoying myself here,” Ndidi told ESPN.
“I still have a contract with Leicester. I am learning and trying to improve myself every day, and I am doing OK here, so no need to go anywhere.” Ndidi made 29 appearances for Leicester and scored two goals before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Sourced From: Soccernet.ng
I Grew Up Watching Him Bully Defenders – Aiyegbeni Names Amokachi As His Role Model
Jay Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu were two of Nigeria’s most recognised players in the nineties but, for Yakubu Aiyegbeni, compatriot Daniel Amokachi towered above them all.
The former Everton star has identified another former Toffee ace Amokachi has the role model he tried to mould his style after while growing up in Nigeria.
Born in Kaduna, Amokachi emerged as a promising forward on the domestic scene starring for Ranchers Bees, where he was picked by Nigerian national team coach Clemens Westerhof to participate at the 1990 African Nations Cup.
A key member of Everton’s 1995 FA Cup-winning team, Amokachi was also crucial as Nigeria won the 1994 African Cup of Nations as well as the 1996 Olympic Games football gold medal.
The talented attacker’s powerful playing style and robust displays earned him the nickname ‘The Bull’ and adhered him to the hearts of millions of Nigerian fans.
A young Aiyegbeni watched the exploits of the former Club Brugge striker and imbibed some of his qualities en route a prolific goalscoring career.
And when the highest scoring Nigerian in Premier League history was asked to name his footballing role model growing up, he didn’t hesitate to call Amokachi.
“Growing up watching (Daniel) Amokachi was something nice, I call him sexy big brother. He’s a nice guy,” the former Portsmouth star told South African journalist Carol Tshabalala via Instagram.
“He was the assistant manager of the national team as well when I was in the national team, so it was an honour to be with him in the same team, we didn’t play together there, we were very close.
“Watching him on TV, the way he bullied the defenders, the way he scores goals, you can see the smile on his face, and the dedication is there.
“Watching him, Kanu and Jay-Jay is unbelievable,” added Yakubu.
Sourced From: Soccernet.ng
Super Falcons Qualify For AWCON Final, Beat Cameroon 4-2 On Penalties
Nigeria’s Super Falcons have qualified for the final of the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nation after overcoming the Indomitable Lioness of Cameroon on Tuesday at the Accra Stadium.
The tie which ended goalless at full time, still could not produce a goal after extra time, leading to both teams playing penalty kicks.
The Falcons won the penalty shootouts 4-2 to seal their place in the final of the Ghana tournament, and also secured their spot in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Sourced From: SoccerNet NG
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