Tag Archives: La Liga Santander

Ballon d’Or/Golden Ball 2018 – Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo (Week #7)

Ballon d’Or/Golden Ball 2018 – Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo (Week #7)

Lionel Messi played just one game this week, a Liga game against Eibar, and managed to collect an assist in a 2-0 victory for FC Barcelona.

In contrast, Cristiano Ronaldo was busier with two games.  The first involving a Champions’ League tie against Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the Portuguese international scoring two goals for Los Merengues.  The second game, a Liga match, at Real Betis and Real Madrid CF collecting the three points with a 5-2 victory and CR7 with one goal.

FC Barcelona is still on top of the Liga, 17 points ahead of their arch-rivals.

Here are the statistics between the two players after week #7 of 2018:

Player Games Goals Assists Trophies won
Lionel Messi 12 8 7 0
Cristiano Ronaldo 8 10 2 0
TOTAL Messi by 4 Ronaldo by 2 Messi by 5 Tie

Stay tuned…

Advertisements

Ballon d’Or 2018 – Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo (Week #1-4)

A new year and a new chance to see who will win the Ballon d’Or.  In 2017, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fifth trophy, equaling Lionel Messi in the process.

Who will win this year?  We will have a weekly look at the statistics and trophies won by the two best players on the planet as we speak.

Player Games Goals Assists Trophies won
Lionel Messi 7 8  4 0
Cristiano Ronaldo 4 4  1 0
TOTAL  Messi by 3  Messi by 4  Messi by 3  Tie

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…

Real Madrid CF – 2016-17 Champions League Winners

Congratulations on Real Madrid CF for winning this year’s trophy and their unprecedented 12th title.  This final was never really in doubt for Los Merengues and manager Zinedine Zidane has a lot of credit to take for this victory and for clinching La Liga title that preceded this triumph.

Even though Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace and is now in pole position to win a fifth Ballon d’Or, let’s remember that the appointment of “Zizou” as the manager of Real Madrid CF in January 2016 has changed a lot of things.  At the time, under Rafael Benitez, Los Blancos, despite not having a bad record, lost a few games such a 4-0 loss at the Santiago Bernabeu against arch-rivals, FC Barcelona.

President Fiorentino Perez, never shy of “pulling the trigger” when it comes time to making a manager’s change, decided to give the keys to the man who was coaching Real Madrid B team at the time.  The results since that then have been nothing short but spectacular.  Los Blancos made a run to win La Liga title up until the end of the last season, only to witness FC Barcelona win at the end.  They’ve also reached the Champions League final and beat Atlético de Madrid on penalty kicks for their 11th Champions League triumph.  This season, they’ve won La Liga (for the first time since 2012, under José Mourinho) and became the first team ever to repeat as Champions League winners.  A double.

Can Real Madrid achieve the same amount of success next and for years to come?  We shall see.  Until today, with Zinedine Zidane at the helm, it has been all business for La Casa Blanca.

Stay tuned…

2016-17 Champions League Final – Real Madrid CF vs. Juventus FC

Ahh, the Champions League final!

An event difficult to miss, especially when two giants of European, if not, World football collide for the most prestigious prize in club football, the UEFA Champions League.  Both clubs have been impressive leading up to the final.

Juventus FC on pace for their first possible triple (having already secured Serie A and la Coppa d’Italia) have eliminated FC Porto, FC Barcelona and AS Monaco FC en route to Cardiff, Wales.  Real Madrid CF has had to deal with SSC Napoli in the Round of 16, then FC Bayern Munich and derby rivals Atlético Madrid.

For Los Blancos, it will be a chance to make history as being the first club to win back-to-back Champions League titles since the introduction of this format in 1992.  For reasons difficult to explain, no team has ever been able to repeat as champions.  As for I Bianconeri, it will be a chance to finally lift the trophy after failing to win it in 2003 vs. AC Milan and 2015 vs. FC Barcelona.  We have to go back in 1996 and their success on penalty kicks versus titleholders Ajax Amsterdam to witness The Old Lady winning the title.

It is a 50/50 final.  Despite the tremendous amount of talent and money Real Madrid has at its diposal, la Juve has been able to inject more funds and more quality players to their side in the past few years.  The recent additions of Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Miralem Pjanic, Dani Alves, Mario Mandzukic etc. have made this team more dangerous than ever.  And after beating Real Madrid, two years ago, to reach the final of this same competition, the confidence level will be high for the Italians.

Prediction – Juventus FC ends its 21 year drought and complete their treble by winning 2-1.

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.