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Modric beats Ronaldo, Salah to FIFA best player award

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Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric won FIFA’s best player award in London on Monday. Modric pipped Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to the title. The 33-year-old helped Real Madrid win a third straight Champions League title last season. He then led Croatia to their first ever World Cup final in Russia, which they lost 4-2 to France.
“This award is not just mine. It is my team mates’ from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches, I would not have won this and without my family I would not be the player I am today,” said 33-year-old Modric.
“At this particular moment, I would like to mention my footballing idol and captain of Croatia generation 1998 and their first participation (at the World Cup finals as Croatia) and bronze in France,” Modric said. “He was my big inspiration and that team gave us belief that we could achieve something great in Russia. Hopefully we can be the same for next generations.”
“It is very important, because for such a small country to win the best player award, it’s something amazing and that shows other small countries that everything is possible,” Modric said. “You just need to believe and to work for it. And that all dreams could come true.”
Modric is the first player since Kaka in 2007 to beat Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to FIFA’s top prize, both of whom were not present at the award ceremony. Earlier, Ronaldo had also missed UEFA’s award show where Modric pipped him to the men’s player of the year award.
“We knew we were surrounded by two aliens that were just sharing these awards,” Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos said. “But I think it is also very positive to recognize the work, the career and the season of players that are not just strikers. I am really happy for Luka Modric”.
Brazil great Marta won The Best Women’s player of the year award. This is her sixth award, having won the World Player of the Year five consecutive times between 2006 and 2010.
France’s World Cup winning coach Didier Deschamps was chosen as best men’s coach, pipping his former team mate Zinedine Zidane to the title. Deschamps became only the third person to lift the World Cup as both a player and a coach in the men’s game in Russia. Egypt and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah won the Puskas award for the best goal of the year. His goal for Liverpool against Everton in the Premier League won the best goal of the year, which is voted for by fans, ahead of Gareth Bale’s spectacular overhead kick for Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
The FIFPro team of the year was also announced at the FIFA Best ceremony, wherein the goalkeeper of the team was Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois. The defenders were Dani Alves, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo while the forwards were Modric, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Peru’s supporters won the FIFA Fan Award and German Lennart Thy, who plays for Turkish club BB Erzurumspor, won the FIFA Fair Play Award after donating stem cells to help a leukemia patient.
Best Men’s Player: Luka Modric
Best Women’s Player: Marta
Best Men’s Coach: Didier Deschamps
Best Women’s Coach: Reynald Pedros
Puskas Award: Mohamed Salah
Best Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Best Fan: Peru fans at the World Cup
Fair Play Award: Lennart Thy
FIFAPro World XI: David De Gea, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, N’Golo Kante, Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo.


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No cricketer has served India like Dhoni: Kapil

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New Delhi: Former India all-rounder Kapil Dev believes twin World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the biggest contributor to the gentlemans game. Coming from the man who himself lifted the 1983 World Cup in England, this is no mean appreciation.

As Dhoni walks into the last stretch of his international career, there has been quite a few statements made by former cricketers and pundits, especially after the most decorated captain hit a lean patch in 2018.

For Kapil, however, it is all about respecting what Dhoni has achieved on the field. Speaking to IANS, Kapil said: “I don’t have to say anything about Dhoni. I think he has served the country very well and we must respect him.”

 

It’s almost certain that the showpiece event in England and Wales that kicks off on May 30, will be Dhoni’s last and Kapil wants the former India skipper to finish on a high lifting another WC trophy.

“No one knows how long he wants to play and how long his body can continue to take the workload. But, there is no other cricketer who has served the country so well as Dhoni. We should respect him and wish him good luck. I hope that he wins this World Cup too,” he said.

The only player in the history of the game to have taken more than 400 wickets and scored over 5,000 runs in Tests, Kapil has come out with a coffee book titled “We The Sikhs” and while his impeccable record is there for all to see, the former cricketer feels it will not be easy for Virat Kohli and his men.

“This Indian team looks very good. However, it won’t be very easy. They have to play like a team. I hope that they will have no injuries,” he said, adding: “If they have a stroke of luck, they will definitely win.”

Interestingly, the Indian selectors decided to pick Dinesh Karthik, 33, as the second wicketkeeper over the young and rising star Rishabh Pant for the showpiece event.

Commenting on the move, Kapil said: “The selectors have done their job. Let’s respect the team. They have picked Karthik over Pant, then it’s alright. We should just believe that the selectors have done a good job.”

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Pakistan is ready for the WC: Arthur

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Islamabad: Pakistan’s cricket coach Micky Arthur believes that Pakistan is ready to take on the challenges of the upcoming World Cup.

Speaking to the media at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore , Arthur said: “We have worked really hard over the past two years. We are as prepared as we can be.”

“We have to bring all our capabilities to produce results in our favour,” Arthur said while showing confidence in the squad picked for the upcoming world series.

 

Speaking about Shadab being ruled out of the upcoming series against England, Arthur said: “Shadab Khan is a wonderful cricketer. As the buzz word nowadays goes, he’s ‘three-dimensional’. He plays a key role for us just outside the power play. However, we have tried to cover with another wrist spinner Yasir Shah.”

Arthur termed bringing in Yasir for Shahdab as an even exchange. “Yasir is under no illusion that he has to challenge both the outside and inside edge of the bat,” Arthur said, pointing out that the spinner has a hard act ahead.

“Our expectations are high from Babar Azam as he’s our best batsman in squad. He is so talented, he is a batsman who get the required scores,” Arthur said while adding that as long as Babar acts as he main batsman in the team, everyone around him will be able to bring the score up to the 300 mark and above.

“Mohammad Hafeez will be available for us during the World Cup as an off spinner too. We have faith in our team. All 15 of those players have the ability to win games,” the coach said.

“Our strategy will be to attack, we’re going to eye wickets. We have got all the bases covered,” the coach concluded.

Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was also present at the press conference, said that the team was ready to give their best during the World Cup.

“We are heading to England with complete preparations and wish to win. Our players are ready to give it their best shot,” said the captain.

When asked about who would open for the team, Sarfaraz said that Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq will be the best choices for opening partnership.The captain also shrugged off the suggestion that there may be some difficulty for the team since both the batsmen are left-handed.

“Both Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq are in good form,” he said and added that new addition Abid Ali will be a good choice for the number three spot.

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East Bengal extends Samad’s contract for 3 years

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Kolkata: East Bengal handed full back Samad Ali Mallik a three-year contract extension, the club said in a statement.

“Samad is confident that under coach Alejandro, his game will grow from strength to strength and he will be an asset to the team in the seasons to come. Samad has thanked the supporters for their overwhelming support and is certain that he will perform at his best with their backing,” the statement read.

East Bengal narrowly missed the I-League title this season, finishing runner-up behind Chennai City FC.

 
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