Tag Archives: Copa del Rey

La soupe chaude pour Zinedine Zidane et le Real Madrid CF

Oh que les supporters du Real Madrid ne s’y attendaient pas. Malgré un début de saison difficile en Liga et des performances plus ou moins convaincantes en Ligue des Champions, les Merengues avaient la possibilité de se hisser en demi-finale de la Coupe du Roi d’Espagne en affrontant le modeste  adversaire local, Leganes, en quarts de finale de la compétition.

Comme les matchs de Coupe du Roi ont lieu en aller-retour, le Real Madrid se sentait confiant avec une victoire de 1-0 à l’aller à l’extérieur leur permettant de ne pas trop s’inquiéter du match retour au Santiago Bernabeu avec le but à l’extérieur en poche. Résultat des courses? Victoire du petit poussin 2-1 sur le géant béhémoth leur assurant la qualification et éliminant, par le fait même, le champion espagnol, européen et mondial. Tout simplement stupéfiant. L’allure de match ne devrait pas être trompeuse, même si le Real a dominé comme prévu, de là à les voir se faire battre sur leur propre terrain dans un match important comme celui-là, c’est inacceptable pour un tel club.

Oui, Cristiano Ronaldo n’était pas là. Oui, Gareth Bale fut ménagé également. Cependant, une équipe qui compte sur des joueurs comme Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Sergio Ramos, Isco etc. ne devraient pas subir ce type de sort. Les décisions tactiques de « Zizou » ont souvent été critiquées en Espagne et à Madrid plus particulièrement. Le système de rotation en Coupe a souri aux Los Blancos… jusqu’à hier.

Maintenant, avec 19 points de retard (et un match en main) sur le FC Barcelone, leader actuel en Liga, une sortie prématurée en Coupe et une huitième de finale en vue difficile contre le Paris Saint-Germain de Neymar, Edinson Cavani et Kylian Mbappé Lottin, le risque de voir le double champion européen consécutif être bredouille en fin de saison augmente de semaine en semaine. Et ce n’est pas bon signe pour l’ancien numéro 10 de l’Équipe de France qui, malgré tous ses succès depuis qu’il a pris les rênes du club en janvier 2016, pourrait se voir montrer la porte de sortie dans un club dont la patience est loin d’être une vertu.

Ce n’est pas le FC Barcelone et ses supporteurs qui vont être déçus…

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Ballon d’Or/Golden Ball 2017 – Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo

The season has come to an end in the Spanish League and Real Madrid CF have won the championship in front of their arch-nemesis FC Barcelona.  Los Blancos held a three point advantage and were able to hold on to it until the very last game of the season.

Furthermore, Real Madrid will play, for the second year in a row, the final of the Champions League, against Juventus FC this time.  Since the introduction to the Champions League format in 1992, no club has been able to repeat as champions.  History is not on Los Merengues side on this one.

Meanwhile in Barcelona, Los Blaugranas have won the Spanish Cup (la Copa del Rey) by beating Alaves 3-1 thanks to goals from Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr. and Paco Alcacer.  It provided the near perfect farewell to manager Luis Enrique who will leave the club this summer.  His replacement is supposed to be officially named soon and the current manager of Athletic Bilbao is the favourite to take on the job.

As for individual statistics and awards, Lionel Messi has won the European Golden Shoe for this season.  Cristiano Ronaldo is very far away in the standings.  It is the fourth time (equaling the record of the Portuguese international) that La Pulga has won this award.  Luis Suarez was the winner last season.

As for the Ballon d’Or/Golden Ball France Football is concerned, here is a look at the statistics and trophies won by Messi and Ronaldo so far from January 1st to May 28th, 2017 (in bold, the player with the advantage):

Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo
Games 33 28
Goals 32 27
Assists 8 6
Trophies 2
(Copa del Rey, European Golden Shoe)
1
(La Liga)

Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) France Football 2016 – The Case for Lionel Messi

Last week, Cristiano Ronaldo was crowned winner of the Ballon d’Or 2016 (the fourth of his career) ahead of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann. While I congratulate the Portuguese winger for his success, I do not agree with the decision and I would like either a reform of the trophy or simply put, a repeal of it. And there are several reasons why.

Earlier this year, France Football (a French football magazine whom created the trophy and distributed it for decades) and FIFA parted ways with the gala and the trophy, which meant full control of the criterias by the magazine and the hope that we would have more winners and more diversity. Well, it seems like France Football picked up exactly where FIFA left off and awarded the Ballon d’Or to a player who is very good, with great statistics, four trophies won, but ultimately was not the best player in 2016, in my opinion.

I even doubt that he was he second best, even third best (Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez could have been in front of him in 2016). I have ranked Lionel Andrès Messi first because of his complete performance (with club and country) from January 1st to the end date of the voting (November 27th). Goals, assists, chances created, trophies won and runner-up, Messi was, once again, in a league of his own.

While CR7 has been very good as mentioned, created his share of chances and won several important trophies during the year, he was also helped by his teammates while struggling to make an impression on the big stage (UEFA Champions League and European Championship finals) or being absent (UEFA SuperCup). Real Madrid CF won the Champions League final against Atlético Madrid FC on penalties where Ronaldo was invisible the whole game. He eventually dispatched of the winning penalty (only Juanfran from Atlético missed his during the penalty kicks).

Ronaldo didn’t have a great European Championship, missing several scoring chances, missing an important penalty versus Iceland if I recall with his country barely qualifying for the round of 16 in a group where they were largely favourites to win and featuring a mere twenty minutes in the final. His attitude during the whole tournament was unworthy of a “superstar” like him as well. The man of the tournament was French striker Antoine Griezmann.

Lionel Messi won the domestic double (LaLiga BBVA and the Spanish Cup). He was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Atlético de Madrid FC in the UEFA Champions League, but led Argentina to the Copa America Centenario final lost on penalties to Chile for the second year in a row. Messi, having a superb tournament, missed his penalty kick during the shootout session.

In his return to Europe, him and FC Barcelona lifted the Spanish SuperCup versus Sevilla FC, adding a third domestic trophy to his cabinet for the year. His statistics were excellent through the year as you can regularly see in my blog. He outscored, “outassisted” by 16 assists, Cristiano Ronaldo. He created more chances and showed (as usual) more team spirit and more engagement than the Portuguese international.

All this leads me to ask…what is the Ballon d’Or’s purpose? Do we reward the best player of the calendar year? Of the season? Is it a popularity contest? Do we simply attribute the trophy based on winning the FIFA World Cup, Champions League and/or the European Championship despite not being the best player of the tournament or even the team (Nani, Pepe, a Champions League winner as well this year, Ricardo Quaresma, Rui Patricio and others were excellent and clutch during the tournament for La Seleção and let’s not forget Lille player Eder who put the nail in the coffin to clinch the title)?

Last, but not least, it may not be a good idea to hand out a trophy right in the middle of a season. After all, trophies are given at the end generally.

Lionel Messi – Ballon d’Or 2016 (Golden Ball 2016)

We are as few weeks away before the voting ends and there should be no doubt that Lionel Andres Messi from FC Barcelona should be the clear favourite to win the Ballon d’Or this year. Here are the numbers (remember that the trophy is judged based on a calendar year, from January 1st to the last day of voting):

Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona, Argentina)
Games – 51
Goals – 49
Assists – 29
Trophies – 3 (La Liga, Copa del Rey, Spanish SuperCup; 1 final – Copa America Centenario)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF, Portugal)
Games – 45
Goals – 41
Assists – 15
Trophies – 3 (UEFA Champions League, UEFA European Championship, UEFA SuperCup).

The difference is simply staggering. Ronaldo may have won the most prestigious trophies this year, but his performances have not been so great. He did not even feature more than 8 minutes in the final against France before being substituted in the 26th minute. His display vs. Atlético de Madrid in the Champions League final was almost invisible despite dispatching of the winning spot kick in the penalty shootout that occurred and he did not even feature in the UEFA SuperCup final won in the last minutes of the game vs. Sevilla FC.

Lionel Messi won the domestic double with his club, was clutch when the moment was needed. Elevated his game in La Copa America Centenario lost on penalties vs. Chili for the second year in a row (and we see currently see the difference when La Pulga plays for La Albiceleste and when he does not). Since the season has begun, despite missing a few games via injuries, he is simply untouchable with goals and assists in plenty. Messi is probably having his best beginning of a season ever.

France Football and FIFA have disassociated themselves, a few weeks ago, from the Ballon d’Or meaning that the French newspaper will dictate its previous formula once again. Will it be enough to see the Messi vs. Ronaldo saga end and another winner coming forward? We shall see. This year, Messi has been the best so far and deserves his sixth Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or.

Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 21

With the end of the season behind us, Lionel Messi was the only player busy this week with the Spanish King’ Cup final (la Copa del Rey). FC Barcelona played Sevilla FC, who were just recently crowned Europa League champions for the third year in a row. Despite that, the Catalans giants made sure that they were the only Spanish team to win two trophies this year with a 2-0 victory over their rival from Andalusia. Lionel Messi was on target with two assists.The Argentine international wins his second title in 2016.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his team were off this week and will play the last game of this season against Atlético Madrid for the UEFA Champions League trophy, this Saturday, at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) in Milan, Italy.

The statistics so far from January 01st to May 22th, 2016 are the following between the two biggest stars of football:

L. Messi 33 games 29 goals 18 assists 0trophy available
C. Ronaldo 26 games 27 goals 8 assists 1 trophy available
Total Messi 7 games Messi 2 goals Messi 10 assists Messi 2 trophies won

Stay tuned…