Ronaldo, Messi, Buffon up for UEFA Player of the year

Gianluigi Buffon, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the three shortlisted players for the UEFA Player of the Year award.

Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Buffon, Argentina and Barcelona striker Messi and Portugal and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo were chosen by a jury of 80 coaches and 55 journalists.

Messi and Ronaldo have won the award twice – Ronaldo winning last season.

Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) and Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) the only other players to receive it.

The award, which was created in 2011, will be presented at the Champions League group stage draw on Aug. 24, with Real Madrid star Ronaldo the favourite to win it for the third time in four years after his outstanding performances helped Los Blancos to become the first club to retain the trophy.

Ronaldo scored five goals in the quarterfinal victory over Bayern Munich, with a hat trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

He scored another treble in the first leg of the semi against Atletico Madrid, and two goals in the final success over Juventus.

Messi scored 54 goals for his club but Barcelona only had the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey to show for their efforts.

Buffon would be a popular choice, but the 39-year-old would have been better positioned had Juventus beaten Madrid in the Champions League final.

Juventus did complete the Italian Double.

The players who make up the rest of the top 10 are:

4: Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid)

5: Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid)

6: Paulo Dybala (Argentina, Juventus)

7: Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid)

8: Kylian Mbappe (France, Monaco)

9: Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Bayern Munich)

10: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Manchester United)

The UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award complements four new positional UEFA Champions League awards, which will crown the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward of the 2016/17 Champions League season.

These awards will also be presented during the group stage draw on 24 August.

The following day, the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award will be presented at the competition’s 2017/18 group stage draw in Monaco.

Three players, all from last season’s title-winners Manchester United, have been shortlisted – Zlatan Ibrahimović, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba.

Spanish Super Cup – First leg result: Ronaldo sees red as Real Madrid beat Barcelona in Camp Nou

Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo went from hero to villain in the space of two minutes as Real Madrid won the first El Clasico of the season with a 3-1 victory over Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

An incident-packed second half at the Nou Camp saw Gerard Pique’s own goal put Real ahead before Lionel Messi equalised from the penalty spot after Luis Suarez was fouled by Keylor Navas.

Ronaldo, on as a substitute, was booked for taking his shirt off to celebrate his spectacular strike three minutes later.

That was followed swiftly by a second yellow card for diving following a challenge by Samuel Umtiti and an angry Ronaldo appeared to push referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea on his way off the field.

Marco Asensio wrapped up the victory for 10-man Real with a brilliant finish in the 90th minute, condemning new Barca boss Ernesto Valverde to defeat in his first competitive match at the Nou Camp.

The two sides will play the second leg at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo named in Real Madrid squad to face Manchester United in UEFA Super Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo has been included in Real Madrid’s travelling squad for Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash with his former team Manchester United in Skopje, despite only resuming training at the weekend.

Ronaldo, 32, began preseason training with Madrid on Saturday, having missed their entire International Champions Cup programme in the United States due to an extended summer break following his Confederations Cup campaign with Portugal in Russia, and his appearance in a Madrid court to answer tax fraud charges on July 31.

However, he has been included in Zinedine Zidane’s travelling party for the game, in an extended 24-man squad that also includes senior stars Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos, as well teenage right-back Achraf Hakimi and the coach’s son Luca as third-choice goalkeeper.

On their return, Madrid also face rivals Barcelona in Spanish Super Cup games at the Camp Nou on Sunday Aug. 13 and the Bernabeu on Wednesday Aug. 16, ahead of their La Liga opening fixture at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday Aug. 20.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku reject comparison with Drogba, Lewandowski and Ronaldo – “i want to create my own history”

Romelu Lukaku insists his best is yet to come after the Manchester United new boy played down comparisons between himself and some of Europe’s elite goalscorers.

The forward has now been working with his new club in the United States for two weeks, opening his account against Real Salt Lake before scoring a superb goal in the 2-0 defeat of Manchester City in Houston.

It was a goal any of Europe’s elite would have been proud of, but Lukaku knows he is a way off being considered in the same bracket as the likes of Robert Lewandowksi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Yeah, of course (I want to reach that level) but winning trophies at the end of the day (is key),” Lukaku said.

“At the end of the day you want to win trophies. “I’m a goalscorer, I’ve always scored goals throughout my career. Also in Europe, when I played in the Europa League, my record is really good.

“Now I think the Champions League is the next stage where I have to prove myself and the club wants to do well in it as well.”

Asked if he was at the level of Lewandowski and Ronaldo right now, he quickly replied: “No, no, no – I’m far from that level. “But it’s the level I want to aim for. But it’s all about the team. I want the team to win trophies and I’ll do everything that I can in my powers to make sure the team wins.

“Keep improving – there is always room for improvement. I just want to become the best player that I can be. “I will never say it’s good enough. I will always say that I can improve. “I’m 24 years of age. I can’t say I’m the complete package. I can’t say I’m in my prime. “There is a lot of work to be done and I’m delighted that there is still work to be done. That means I can become even better than I am now.”

Lukaku on Drogba comparisons

Lukaku may not yet be at his peak, but Mourinho has been pleased by what he has seen, praising the new boy at nearly every public appearance.

The United boss speaks about Lukaku with similar excitement to how he once did about Didier Drogba – a player Lukaku idolised and worked with at Chelsea.

“Not really, I’m different,” the Belgium international said when comparisons to the job Drogba did for Mourinho were brought up.

“Drogba is more of a hold-up player, a target-man. I prefer to have ball to feet and run in behind.

“It’s something we’re totally different at. We might have physical similarities but I think we’re totally different players.

“And I’m Romelu Lukaku – at the end of the day I want to create my own history. I’m at Manchester United, he was at Chelsea.”

Jose Mourinho describes Cristiano Ronaldo’s  Manchester return as “mission impossible”

​Jose Mourinho ruled out any attempt to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after Man Utd’s 5-2 rout of the LA Galaxy.
United boss Mourinho worked with his compatriot in Madrid and says an Old Trafford reunion was never on the cards.

“We have never thought about it because he is too much of an important player for his club, of great economic power,” he said.

“We have not been able to find for whatever reason anything that could have made us think that Ronaldo could leave.

“I am not a defender of my club once I waste time on players who are mission impossible.”

United have so far brought in Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku, with the latter’s arrival said to have ended their interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.

“He belongs to Madrid,” said former Real boss Mourinho. “Madrid have decided and we have not come to an agreement. It is simple. It is a shame.

“He is a player who made it to the first team with me. We have a special liking for him, he is someone special. I enjoyed watching his evolution at Juventus and Madrid.

“It is like that. I don’t think he can end with us.”

FIFA Confederations Cup – Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo the hero as he saves three penalties to send Chile to final

Portugal 0 – 0 Chile (0 – 3 Penalties)

Chile reached the final of the Confederation Cup after Claudio Bravo saved three penalties as Chile edge Portugal on a 3-0 shoot-out.

The Chile captain denied Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani to send his team into Sunday’s final after the game in Kazan ended 0-0 after extra time.

Chile, who scored all three of their spot-kicks taken by Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez, will face the winner of Germany against Mexico.
Nani missed the decisive penalty as Portugal did not call on Cristiano Ronaldo, who likely was scheduled to take the fifth.

Chile created the better opportunities and were unfortunate not to win the game in extra-time when they struck the woodwork twice in quick succession through Vidal and Martin Rodriguez.

New Manchester City signing Bernardo Silva overcame a foot injury to start, while Cristiano Ronaldo captained his country and Jose Fonte replaced the suspended Pepe. Alexis Sanchez and Claudio Bravo featured for Chile.