Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have between them won the past six World Player of the Year awards, face opposition from Germany’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the short list announced by FIFA on Monday.
Ronaldo, who is the present holder of the title, having also won it in 2008, scored a record 17 goals in a UEFA Champions League campaign as Real Madrid went on to win their 10th European Cup last term.
Messi, the only player to have won the award four times, failed to win a title this year either with Barcelona or Argentina, although he was integral in his country reaching the World Cup final, where they lost 1-0 in extra-time to Germany.
The 27-year-old did pick up the consolation of the Player of the Tournament award.
Neuer, who was outstanding in goal for Germany and for Bayern Munich as they won the domestic double, would be only the second goalkeeper to win the award, which is to be announced on Jan. 12 in Zurich, Switzerland, after the then-Soviet Union’s Lev Yashin.
Coach of the Year is to be fought out between Neuer’s national coach Joachim Loew, Ronaldo’s club handler Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone, who guided the far less moneyed Atletico Madrid to the Spanish title and the final of the Champions League.
The trio selected for the Puskas award for best goal are Colombia’s James Rodriguez, for his goal against Uruguay in the 2-0 victory in their World Cup round-of-16 clash, Robin van Persie’s leaping header against Spain in their World Cup group game and outsider Stephanie Roche for her goal for Peamount United against Wexford Youths on Oct. 20 last year.
Roche does not make the women’s Player of the Year shortlist, which consists of Brazil’s five-time winner Marta, Germany’s European player of the 2013-2014 season Nadine Kessler and US all-time record goalscorer Abby Warmbach, winner in 2012.
Japan’s Asian Coach of the Year Norio Sasaki, who has been in charge of her national side since 2007, Ralf Kellermann, who guided VfL Wolfsburg to the women’s UEFA Champions League title and his compatriot Maren Meinert, who coached the German under-20 team to their age category global title, are in line for the women’s Coach of the Year crown.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017