Tag Archives: Football

Football – In 2017

Another year, another busy schedule for football in general, especially at the international level with the Africa Cup of Nations which occurs every two years and will take place in Gabon (from January 14 to February 5, 2017) and the FIFA Confederations Cup (in the summer) which features the winner of each continental cup and the World Cup. This year, the tournament will host:

Russia (2018 World Cup host country)
Germany
(2014 World Cup)
Portugal (2016 European Championship)
Chile (2015 Copa America)
Cameroon (2017 Africa Cup of Nations)
Mexico (2015 Gold Cup)
Australia (2015 Asian Cup)
New Zealand (2016 Oceania Football Confederation )

Eight teams, four groups and “a curse”. Yes, since its creation in 1991, no country which has won this tournament has been able to repeat the following year by raising the World Cup as champions. A little bit like the new format of Champions League introduced in 1992 where no club has been able to repeat as back-to-back winners. Will the country of Russia be where the “curse” is going to end? I doubt it, but we never know, the Chicago Cubs, baseball infamous team ended their so-called “Curse of the Goat) this year after 108 years of waiting by winning the Major League Baseball World Series, so there is hope.

At club level, the different leagues are still dominated, in most parts, by the usual suspects:
FC Bayern Munich is dominating, albeit not as easily as expected the German Bundesliga.
Juventus FC is still on top of Italian Serie A.
Paris Saint-Germain is third, after winning four consecutive French Ligue 1 titles.
Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona are respectively first and second of Spain’s LaLiga Santander.
And Chelsea FC has a strong lead in the Barclays Premier League in Britain.

The UEFA Champions League will be interesting as well. The round of 16 offers already mouthwatering encounters such as:

FC Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal FC
FC Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Real Madrid CF vs. SSC Napoli
AS Monaco vs. Manchester City FC

Another great year of football ahead. Stay tuned.

Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or France Football) – Week 49

The Ballon d’Or France Football will be awarded tomorrow in annual gala by football magazine France Football who re-gained the rights to the trophy thanks to their disassociation with FIFA earlier this year. The three favourites, not finalists, for the trophy are FC Barcelona/Argentina player Lionel Messi (the holder and record five-time winner), Real Madrid CF/Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo (three-time winner and favourite to win it this year) and Atlético de Madrid FC/French international striker Antoine Griezmann (first-time finalist).

Here are the updated statistics between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo including this weekend’s action which saw La Pulga increase his goal tally by two goals in a win at Osasuna (3-0), while the Portuguese winger was rested by Zinedine Zidane against Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña in a last-minute victory by Los Merengues/Blancos.

L. Messi 61 games 58 goals 32 assists 3 trophies won
– La Liga BBVA
– La Copa del Rey
– Spanish Supercup
C. Ronaldo 55 games 51 goals 17 assists 3 trophies won
– UEFA Champions League
– UEFA European Championship
– UEFA SuperCup
Total Messi 6 games Messi 7 goals Messi 15 assists Tie

The Ballon d’Or France Football will need to be reformed in order to gain more credibility, in my opinion. Lionel Messi should win tomorrow based on many factors that point in his favour, but Cristiano Ronaldo will lift the trophy. And that is the problem with the current format with or without FIFA involved.

Stay tuned…

Messi vs. Ronaldo (FIFA Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 35

The season 2016/17 has arrived and Lionel Messi has wasted little making his presence felt for his club and his country (3 goals and 3 assists in 4 games with one trophy won). Cristiano Ronaldo is still sidelined with an injury and his return is unclear. Messi scored the only goal for his country, this week, in a 1-0 win against arch-rival Uruguay in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match propelling La Albiceleste at the top of the group.

Here are the updated statistics between the two FIFA Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or “collectors” from January 01st to September 04th, 2016:

L. Messi 44 games 38 goals 26 assists 3 trophies won
– La Liga BBVA
– La Copa del Rey
– Spanish Supercup
C. Ronaldo 35 games 32 goals 11 assists 3 trophies won
– UEFA Champions League
– UEFA European Championship
– UEFA SuperCup
Total Messi 9 games Messi 6 goals Messi 15 assists Tie

Stay tuned…

Pep Guardiola vs. José Mourinho II – Barclays Premier League chapter

Oh, that rivalry smells good. After being head-to-head in Spain, one for Real Madrid CF and the other for FC Barcelona, the two master tacticians will do battle again, in the same league, this time in the Barclays Premier League, and this could mean fireworks all over the place.

Let’s be clear, even if these two were disciples of Louis van Gaal at FC Barcelona, knew each other very well and seemed to get along just fine, they have learned not to love one another over the years. Worse, they hate probably learnt to even despise each other over time, matches, altercations, etc. And this is what will make this derby even more exciting, even crazier.

Two giant clubs that have also issues in their level of performance on the pitch. Manchester United FC, since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012-13 season, is no longer a shadow of it former self, despite winning the FA Cup last season. Whereas Manchester City FC, constant Champions League qualifier, has not won the league since the 2013-2014 season despite several expensive transfer deals and huge transfer funds.

Throughout the season, we will have a weekly head-to-head matchup between José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola as both men will try to become not only the king of Manchester but also of Great Britain, football-wise. We shall see, as Mr. van Gaal used to say.

One thing seems set in stone: the city of Manchester will have a champion in the near future. The only thing that we are not sure of yet is which colour will reign supreme.

(Definitely stay tuned…)

Messi vs. Ronaldo (FIFA Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 27

While Lionel Messi is done playing international football with Argentina (for the summer (he is not scheduled to appear in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Games soccer tournament in August), Cristiano Ronaldo is still alive with Portugal at the Euro 2016, thanks to penalty shootout win versus Poland in the quarterfinals of the competition. CR7, despite not appearing on the scoresheet again in this tournament, still managed to score his spot kick and help his country to a third European Championship semi-final appearance in the last four editions.

Week 27 – here are the updated statistics between the two FIFA Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or collectors:

L. Messi 39 games 34 goals 23 assists 2 trophies won
C. Ronaldo 33 games 31 goals 10 assists 1 trophy won
Total Messi 6 games Messi 3 goals Messi 13 assists Messi 1 trophy

Stay tuned….

Messi vs. Ronaldo (FIFA Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 24-26

Lionel Messi and Argentina reached the final of La Copa America Centenario versus Chile last Sunday and once again, lost on penalties. Which means that La Pulga is still in search of his first senior’s title with La Albiceleste. Messi compiled an impressive 5 goals and 4 assists in five games during the tournament (he was a substitute against Panama and Bolivia in the group stage).

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal have reached the Quarterfinals of the Euro 2016 in their Round of 16 match against Croatia thanks to a late goal, in extra-time, by Ricardo Quaresma. CR7, so far, has had two goals in four games in the competition.

Here are the stats from January 01st to June 28th, 2016 between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (including all competitions from club to country):

L. Messi 39 games 34 goals 23 assists 2 trophies won
C. Ronaldo 32 games 31 goals 10 assists 1 trophy won
Total Messi 7 games Messi 3 goals Messi 13 assists Messi 1 trophy

Stay tuned….

2016 Copa America Centenario Final – Messi vs. Sanchez II

The best two teams of this year’s competition will square off, this Sunday, for a chance to win either a 15th Copa America for Argentina or a second trophy in a row for Chile. Both squads have been breathtaking and have dismantled teams along the way.

Argentina and Chile met, earlier in the tournament, which saw La Albiceleste without Messi winning 2-1 in the group stage. Let’s remember that this will be a rematch of last year’s Copa America final between the two countries won by La Roja, on home soil, via penalty kicks after a scoreless draw.

Argentina’s road to the final:

1st game – Argentina 2 – 1 Chile

2nd game – Argentina 5 – 0 Panama

3rd game – Argentine 3-0 Bolivia

Quarter-finals Argentina 4 – 1 Venezuela

Semifinals United States 0 – 4 Argentina

Chile’s path to the final:

1st game – Chile 1 – 2 Argentina

2nd game – Chile 2 – 1 Bolivia

3rd game – Chile 4 – 2 Panama

Quarter-finals Chile 7-0 Mexico

Semifinals Chile 2-0 Colombia

Prediction

Argentina takes its revenge and wins la Copa America Centenario, its 15th and ties Uruguay.

Messi avec l'Argentine