BREAKING NEWS: Iniesta wins Uefa best player award

Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi y Cristiano Ronaldo

Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi y Cristiano Ronaldo

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has scooped Uefa’s award for the best player in Europe over the last season ahead of Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 28-year-old shined as Blaugrana endured a frustrating campaign throughout, seeing their Liga title surrender to arch-rivals Real Madrid and crashing out of the Champions League semi-final.

However, he was able to shine as his country reatained their European Championship crown in Ukraine and Poland in June and July, and was subsequently named the best player at the tournament.

And he has now scooped another award, pipping the Argentine and Portuguese forwards, despite their respectibve 73 and 60-goal campaigns.

“Without my team-mates at the Spanish national team and Barcelona I wouldn’t have won this individual trophy,” he commented.

His captain at club level, Carles Puyol was quick to congratulate the Albacete-born schmemer on his official Twitter page.

“Congratulations, Andres!! You deserve this.”

Iniesta received 19 votes from the pannel, while Messi and Ronaldo were both given the nod by 17 voters.

In last year’s edition of the award, Messi was named as the best player in Europe, with fellow Barcelona star Xavi and Ronaldo finishing in second and third place respectively.

Betting: Manchester City drawn against Real Madrid in Champions League's Group of Death

Barcelona were handed a favourable group in the Champions League as they aim to secure a third title in five years. The Catalan giants have been drawn against Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Celtic. They are now 5/2 to win the tournament.

Of the English sides, Manchester United and Arsenal have both been cut in price, now available at 15/2 and 20/1 respectively, while Chelsea are unmoved at 14/1.


The Red Devils were drawn with Braga, Galatasary and Cluj. The Gunners seemingly favourable draw sees them meet Schalke, Olympiakos and Montpellier.

The toughest group looks to be that of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund. A group which contains four domestic champions from last season.

Madrid are still expected to progress priced at 7/2 to win the tournament but the draw has seen Manchester City pushed out to 9/1 by Paddy Power, a price that could prove very attractive for punters who believe Roberto Mancini’s side can claim thier first Champions League title.

Paris Saint-Germain have also been snipped from 16/1 into 14/1 while beaten finalists Bayern Munich are unmoved at 12/1 following their draw against Valencia, Lille and BATE Borisov.

The three debutant teams remain at huge prices to claim a Champions League victory at the first time of asking.

After being forced to sell key players Santi Cazorla and Solomon Rondon this summer, Malaga are priced at 66/1 after the draw.

Montpellier are 125/1 shots and Danish side FC Nordsjaelland are still given almost no chance by the bookmakers, priced as they are at 1000/1.

They will line up against defending European champions Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and Serie A winners Juventus.

The first leg of each of tie will be played on 18/19th September.

Groups in full

Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris Saint-Germain, Dinamo Zagreb
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiacos, Montpellier
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St. Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjaelland
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic
Group H: Manchester United, Braga, Galatasary, Cluj

Sign up with Paddy Power for £250 in free bets

Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
Follow Jim on

Real Madrid draw Manchester City, Ajax & Borussia Dortmund in Champions League Group D

Coach: Jose Mourinho

Appointed: 2010

Stadium:
Santiago Bernabeu

Capacity: 85,454

Best Champions League performance: Winners nine times (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002)

THE DANGER MAN
Cristiano Ronaldo

The attacker is one of the best players in the world and enjoyed a sensational 2011-12 season. Ronaldo scored 46 goals in La Liga, helping Real Madrid to the title. He scored 10 more goals in the Champions League, including goals in the round of 16 against CSKA, in the quarter-finals against APOEL, and in the semi-final against Bayern Munich. He also impressed at Euro 2012 with three goals as Portugal reached the semi-finals.

QPR agree fee with Real Madrid for Esteban Granero

QPR have reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign midfielder Esteban Granero, the west London side have confirmed.

The two clubs have settled on a fee, and all that remains is for Granero to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of a permanent switch to Loftus Road.

Ian Taylor, the Rs press officer, tweeted: “#QPR have reached agreement with Real Madrid for the permanent transfer of midfielder Esteban Granero …

“The deal is subject to (Esteban) Granero agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.”

Should the deal be completed, the Spaniard could become the 10th new arrival of a busy summer for QPR, who are looking to seal the signing of Stephane M’Bia from French giants Marseille.

Boss Mark Hughes is also believed to be interested in Granero’s Real Madrid team-mate Ricardo Carvalho, who has been told by Jose Mourinho that he is not in Los Blancos’ plans for this season.