Wednesday 20 February 2019

Ronaldo aims to retain FIFA title

Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: AP
Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: AP

Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to retain his crown as FIFA men's player of the year in London tonight.

The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar is up against Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Paris St Germain's Neymar for the award he won last year.

The ceremony, which takes place at the London Palladium, is the second since the FIFA award once again split from France Football's Ballon d'Or prize.

Ronaldo has scored 44 goals for club and country so far in 2017 and scored twice in the Champions League final in June as Real won the competition for a record-extending 12th time.

Messi has hit 50 goals for Barca and Argentina while Neymar, the world's most expensive player after he left Barcelona for PSG in the summer, has 25 goals to his name for Barca, PSG and Brazil.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is in the running for the top men's coach award along with Ronaldo's boss at Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, and Juventus chief Massimiliano Allegri.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud's 'scorpion kick' volley against Crystal Palace in January has been nominated for the Puskas Award for best goal.

The 31-year-old's effort has been shortlisted along with goals from Venezuela's Deyna Castellanos and South African goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.

Castellanos is also nominated for the women's player of the year award alongside last year's winner Carli Lloyd of the United States and Holland's Lieke Martens.

The winners are decided by a jury of club and international coaches, media representatives and fans.

CRISTIANO RONALDO (Real Madrid & Portugal)

2017 record: Club - 36 games, 33 goals

International - 11 games, 11 goals

2017 honours: 3 - LaLiga, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup

2016 FIFA player of the year finish: 1st

Ballon d'Or wins: 4

LIONEL MESSI (Barcelona & Argentina)

2017 record:

Club - 45 games, 46 goals

International - 6 games, 4 goals

2017 honours: 1 - Copa del Rey

2016 FIFA player of the year finish: 2nd

Ballon d'Or wins: 5

NEYMAR (Barcelona/Paris St Germain & Brazil)

2017 record:

Club - 38 games, 23 goals

International - 6 games, 2 goals

2017 honours: 1 - Copa del Rey

2016 FIFA player of the year finish: Unranked

Ballon d'Or wins: 0 (third place in 2015)

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