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Salah strong contender to loosen Messi and Ronaldo’s hold on Ballon d’Or

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London :Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah’s virtuoso display in the 5-2 win over AS Roma on Tuesday brought his side to the brink of the Champions League final and posed a serious threat to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s grip on the Ballon d’Or award.

The Egyptian scored two brilliant goals in the first half against his former club to set Juergen Klopp’s side on their way to victory in the semi-final first leg at Anfield. He set up two more in the second half to cap a thrilling evening.

Salah’s importance was further demonstrated by the fact Roma scored the two goals that give them a slither of hope of turning the tie around after he had been substituted.

 

The Egyptian’s strikes brought him to a remarkable 43 goals in all competitions this season, keeping him at the front of the list of top scorers in Europe, one ahead of Real Madrid’s talisman Ronaldo and two ahead of Barcelona’s Messi.

The Spain-based duo have had a stranglehold on the prestigious Ballon d’Or award since 2008, each winning the trophy for the world’s best player five times. But Salah’s decisive performances are threatening to break that hegemony.

Since signing from Roma last season, the 25-year-old has already equalled the Premier League record for goals in a 38-game season with 31. He also recently pipped Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva of runaway champions Manchester City to the PFA Player of the Year award.

His manager Klopp encouraged reporters to stake Salah’s claim as the best in the world while admitting he faces serious competition.

“If you think he’s the best in the world, write it or say it,” said Klopp.

Cristiano Ronaldo could win the Ballon d’Or if he continues to lead Real Madrid’s success in the Champions League
“He is in outstandingly good shape, in world-class shape, 100 per cent. To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period, I think. There are a few others who are not too bad.”


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Messi the best in history : Puyol

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London: Barca defeated Manchester United comprehensively in the Champions League quarter-finals with Messi scoring twice in the second leg at Camp Nou. He is top scorer in the competition this season with 10 goals and also tops the scoring charts in La Liga, where Barca are virtually assured of a second consecutive title.

Puyol, the ex-Barca captain who won three Champions League titles, praises Messi as a true leader in Ernesto Valverde’s side.

“He is playing at an incredible level,” Puyol told Goal at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

“For me, he is the best ever player in the history of the game.

“He has shown that season after season and you can see how his game has evolved, all the things he now does. And you can see he’s improving every year with new attributes he has brought to his game.

“He has improved in every way and he is taking a step forward on a personal level. He has always been a leader on the field but now, you can see that he is a leader on and off the pitch.

“He is an introverted person but now you can see that he is leading from the front as the captain of Barcelona.”

Messi has scored an incredible 45 goals in 42 games in all competitions for Barca this season, and has added another 21 assists. They are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid in the league, with only 18 left to play for, and are now favourites to add another Champions League to their collection with a double header against Liverpool in the semi-finals to come.

“It’s been very good in the Champions League and also in all the other competitions,” said Puyol.

“They’re playing really good football and they have the chance of winning everything. Right now it’s great because the best is yet to come this season.

“Barcelona are one of the favourites for the Champions League because there are only four teams left.

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PCB decides not to allow cricketers to take their families along during the WC

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Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to not allow the national team’s players to bring their families along on the upcoming 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales starting on May 30.

The decision has been taken keeping in mind the pressure of the tournament, the board said while adding that the focus of the payers should be on their game during the World Cup.

The board, has mentioned that players’ families can travel to England on their own expense.

 

Additionally, the board clarified that the players could keep their families along with them during the series against England prior to the World Cup, a private news channel reported.

The cricket team will travel to England on April 23 to participate in the two and a half month long tour including the series against England and the World Cup.

Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq announced Pakistan’s 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup squad which left out experienced fast bowler Mohammad Amir.

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Pandya, KL Rahul fined Rs 20 lakh each by BCCI Ombudsman

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Mumbai: Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were on Saturday handed a fine of Rs 20 lakh each by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Ombudsman Justice (Retd) D K Jain for their sexist remarks in a television chat show “Koffee with Karan”.

The BCCI Ombudsman directed the duo to pay Rs 1,00,000 each to the families of 10 constables in para-military forces who have lost their lives while on duty through ‘Bharat Ke Veer App”.

Pandya and Rahul have also been directed to pay Rs 10 lakh each in the fund created by Cricket Association for the Blind (CAB) and for promotion of game for the blind.

 

All payments need to be made within a month from the date of the order, the BCCI Ombudsman further said.

Jain also instructed that in case the duo fails to deposit the fine within the deadline, the amounts would be deducted from Pandya and Rahul’s match fees by the BCCI.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Ombudsman had summoned Pandya and Rahul for deposition over their controversial remarks on the celebrity chat show.

The two players were earlier in January provisionally suspended by the apex court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) for their loose talk on the show.

However, Pandya and Rahul tendered unconditional apologies and the ban on the duo was provisionally lifted pending an inquiry by the BCCI Ombudsman.

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