Crunch time for De Bruyne & Neymar in Ballon d’Or race

first_imgUEFA Champions League Crunch time for De Bruyne & Neymar in race for Ballon d’Or Sam Lee Manchester City Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 15:00 2/13/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(7) UEFA Champions League Ballon D’Or Leroy Sané Sergio Agüero Raheem Sterling Guardiola İ. Gündoğan Kevin De Bruyne Yaya Touré Neymar Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Barcelona Real Madrid PSG Manchester City Premier League Videos The two men are leading the charge for their clubs at home and in Europe, but they will need to deliver like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Pep Guardiola never misses an opportunity to remind everybody that, in his opinion, Lionel Messi is by far the best player in the world.Ask the Manchester City manager how anybody else compares to the Argentine and you will be told that there isn’t a comparison at all. Mohamed Salah and Kylian Mbappe are among the players to have been likened to Messi recently, but Guardiola isn’t having it. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “Nobody can sit at the same table as Messi,” he began when asked about Mbappe, who he actually tried to sign. And on Salah: “I respect him a lot, but I’ll help him by telling him to try to avoid being compared with the other guy.”Sometimes Guardiola brings Messi into the argument himself, like when he was asked about Kevin De Bruyne’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or in September 2016: “He is one of the best players I have worked with. Messi is on his own at the table, but Kevin is in the next table and he is right up there.”After Christmas he was asked if City are favourites for the Champions League this season . “Who does Messi play for?” he countered. “So Barcelona are the favourites.”You get the point; Guardiola likes Messi (and tables).So you’d have been forgiven for assuming what was coming when Guardiola was asked on Saturday whether De Bruyne can win the Ballon d’Or this time.”No doubt,” he asserted. “It is not one game, it’s the whole season, every three days playing that way. Every three games. The way he played, it’s difficult to find one in Europe.”Kevin de Bruyne quoteFor Guardiola to allude to others in Europe but not mention Messi tells you everything you need to know about how highly he rates De Bruyne. He thinks he’s right up there.And for good reason. As the Catalan noted, De Bruyne has been pulling the strings for City all season. He has been the best player at the best club in Europe.The assist statistic is not always an accurate measure of a player’s influence, but given De Bruyne has developed a knack of delivering the most precise deliveries from seemingly anywhere on the pitch it is fair to say he is as creative as the numbers suggest.Look at the first two of his three assists against Leicester on Saturday and then consider this Opta statistic: since his Werder Bremen debut in August 2012, he has provided 77 assists in Europe’s big 5 leagues, more than any other player in that time. That’s one more than Messi.Even so, statistics do not do him justice. There are moments of magic that cannot be conveyed by numbers that put him among the very best and separate him from the stat-padders. The energy (300km covered in the league alone), the touches, the technique, the precision. Like Messi. It’s important to read he has scored 27 goals and made 14 assists this season, but it’s even better to see him doing it. But when it comes to the Ballon d’Or, what matters most is  when  you do it. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have delivered on the biggest stages for over a decade now. De Bruyne, just like Neymar and any of the challengers, will need to show his best in the next few months.”He knows and everyone knows to be there you have to win titles, and titles and titles,” Guardiola added on Saturday. “Especially one.”He means the Champions League. “You have to be there in the latter stages. Without the latter stages you will not be nominated.”The World Cup will be an extra consideration this year, though it’s hard to argue it will be decisive given Messi and Ronaldo have been crowned the world’s best individuals without playing for the world’s best nations in 2010 and 2014.And City will surely fancy their chances in the Champions League, especially as they face Basel on Tuesday. That tie will hardly define De Bruyne’s season, and indeed should present him with further opportunities to shine.Kevin de Bruyne quoteThings will not be so straightforward for the other new pretender to Messi and Ronaldo’s throne, however.Neymar received plenty of criticism for making the move to Paris Saint-Germain, but while many have suggested he took the easy option by moving out of Messi’s shadow (and for earning €36.8m a year to do so), it should not be forgotten that he has been tasked with delivering European glory to a club that has not been in the conversation since Carlo Ancelotti’s side ran Barca close four years ago.The Brazilian is living up to the hype , it must be said. Like De Bruyne he is the driving force behind one of Europe’s newer super powers, and like De Bruyne his stats are up there with the best around, but the fact that fans across France are flocking to see him proves that he has the extra quality you need to be the best.How he fares against Real Madrid, in his mini-battle with Ronaldo, will have a major impact on how his first season in France is evaluated.You get the feeling that Neymar, like Ronaldo, is driven by a desire to win the Ballon d’Or, which will ramp up the pressure on both men.It does not seem that De Bruyne will be burdened by that kind of thinking – even if his agent has ensured he’ll be paid an extra £600,000 per year for being named the world’s best.”I do everything to win titles with the team,” he told reporters at the weekend. “What happens after is an extra. I am very pleased with the way everything is going for me. I am playing this way because the team is playing this way. It makes it easier for me, it makes it easier for them. At the end, if you get an individual honour it is beautiful.”The time has come to make those performances count. While nobody can deny that De Bruyne, Neymar, Messi and their teams have impressed so far this season, you would not be surprised if Ronaldo turns everything on its head and leads Madrid to an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League title.That’s the level the new contenders must now aspire to. Whether that’s enough to earn a place on Messi’s table is another matter altogether.last_img read more

When is Premier League deadline day in 2018?

first_imgPremier League Premier League deadline day in 2018: When will the Premier League transfer window open & close in UK? Goal Last updated 1 year ago 20:30 5/23/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Mohamed Salah Liverpool Brighton Premier League 130518 Getty Premier League Transfers With British top flight clubs voting to end the transfer window before the season starts, when are teams now allowed to buy and sell players? This summer will be the first that will implement the rule change of the Premier League ending the transfer window before the start of the new season instead of after. While all previous seasons had their transfer deadline day set for August 31 – which meant that transfers continued for a good couple of weeks after the initial start of the campaign – the majority of Premier League clubs voted to bring the deadline earlier as to avoid disruption and interruption of their season with players leaving and arriving.Clubs in England will still be able to sell to other leagues but will no longer be able to buy after August 9, which will change the overall narrative of deadline day. Now, teams will be forced to assess their squad depth ahead of their new season – but will also be allowed to focus purely on their on-pitch performances without the distraction and drama of the transfer window once their seasons start. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now When does the Premier League transfer window open for 2018-19? Due to Premier League clubs voting to end the summer transfer window before the start of the season to avoid disrupting their campaign with player transfers, it will now open on May 17 – almost a month earlier.In order to comply with FIFA rules which state that the window must be open for 12 weeks, clubs will now be allowed to start spending on May 17 instead of June 9. The rule change will only affect Premier League clubs, so the rest of Europe will still operate with the old rules and will have their transfer windows start and end later. Member clubs will now be able to start buying and selling players as soon as this Thursday, which will make for an exciting summer with the World Cup in mind.Clubs in England have usually been afflicted with constant uncertainty year after year as they have fought to keep hold of star players – who have increasingly become frustrated with their futures being unknown, and taking attention away from on-pitch performances.Both Alexis Sanchez and Philippe Coutinho’s transfers both dragged on well after the season started despite only leaving their clubs in the winter transfer window.A substantial number of transfers usually take place well after the season starts in England – such as Chelsea’s coups of Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Liverpool.When is Premier League 2018-19 deadline day? Paul Pogba Manchester UnitedWith the new Premier League campaign set to begin on the weekend of August 11 and 12 at 5:00pm BST, and to be in accordance with the new rules, deadline day will be brought forward to August 9 instead of the previous August 31.Clubs, however, will still be able to sell players until August 31 to other leagues but will not be allowed to buy replacements after the August 9 deadline.European leagues such as Spain, Germany, Italy and France still have their windows open from June 1 to August 31 as before.Had the rule been implemented last season, Coutinho would have been forced to have stayed at Anfield regardless – as he had made a fuss and was involved in a strike after being denied a move to Barcelona towards the end of the window.Jurgen Klopp is among a slew of managers who were in favour of the rule change, stating last year: “It would have helped us this year [if the window had shut early]. It makes sense that when the season is starting, planning for the team is over.”Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also said: “The ideal situation would be to have a transfer period that is closed 48 hours before the first game of the championship and to close it completely until after the season.”I believe that we have to bring some decency. We all complain today that it has become too much a business, but we can do something about it. We have that responsibility in the game.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more