Cristiano Ronaldo, Iniesta & Messi shortlisted for Uefa Best Player in Europe award


Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta have been shortlisted for the Uefa Best Player in Europe award.

The trio gained the most points in a vote among 53 sports journalists representing each of the European football governing body’s member associations.

Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo came in fourth in the election, while Barcelona’s Xavi, who finished second in last year’s edition of the award, completed the top five.

The remaining three players will now go into a deciding vote in Monaco during the Champions League group stage draw on August 30.

The individual award, created in partnership with European Sports Media (ESM), recognises the best player, irrespective of his nationality, playing for a club within the territory of a Uefa member association during the previous season.

Messi won the inaugural edition of the accolade in 2011.

Dembele confirms Real Madrid approach


Moussa Dembele has confirmed that Real Madrid have approached his agent to discuss his availability.

The Fulham striker’s representative recently revealed that the Blancos had made an enquiry, and the versatile attacker has now admitted that there has indeed been contact.

“There has been contact between Real [Madrid] and my agent. They have made an enquiry, but have left it at that so far,” Dembele was quoted as saying by Het Nieuwsblad.

“I don’t really know [whether I will stay with Fulham]. I can’t say much about it at this point. Everything is still possible.”

Dembele, 25, has a contract with the Premier League side until the summer of 2013, and is continually being linked with a move to a bigger club.

Goal.com revealed earlier this summer that Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur are all interested in signing the former AZ star.

Real Madrid strikers Karim Benzema & Gonzalo Higuain reject PSG – report?


Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema have become the latest Real Madrid players to turn down a move to Paris Saint-Germain after approaches were made by the French club.

The strikers reportedly declined what would have been lucrative moves in order to focus on winning trophies at Madrid, while Les Parisienshave previously been linked with Kaka.

Sheikh Al-Khelaïfi has spent €250m since joining PSG. His dream is to turn the French club into one of the leading sides in Europe and he has already brought in Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic amoungst others in big money deals.

However, according to Marca, the Qatari was unsuccessful in signing both Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, even after speaking directly to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

Apparently, the mooted offer for French hitman Benzema far exceeded what Madrid had paid Olympique Lyonnais for him.

With PSG labouring to a 2-2 draw to Lorient last night in the opening round of Ligue 1, Al-Khelaifi may not be finished in the transfer market just yet.

 

Ronaldo is better than Messi without question, says Bolt


Cristiano Ronaldo is a better player than Lionel Messi, claims Usain Bolt, explaining that the Real Madrid ace is a more “complete” player than the Barcelona forward.

The Jamaican sprinter, who defended his 100m gold medal this summer at the Olympic Games in London, as well as adding the 200m and 4 x 100m relay titles to his name.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, was victorious in the Goal.com 50, and Bolt believes that the former Manchester United winger deserves to win further recognition with the 2012 Ballon d’Or.

“No doubt Cristiano is better than Messi. He is a more complete player,” he told Portuguese channel RTP.

“I would give [the Ballon d’Or] to Cristiano. He has managed to stay on top and that’s the most difficult thing.”

Both Bolt and Ronaldo hold each other in mutual regard. The sprinter first attended a match at the Santiago Bernabeu against Deportivo La Coruna in 2009, and was last seen prior to the Blancos‘ Champions League 6-2 victory over Dinamo Zagreb in December.

Chelsea target Hulk keen on Premier League switch


Porto forward Hulk admits that he is keen on a move to either the Premier League or La Liga, citing them as the biggest leagues in the world.

The 26-year-old, who has scored an impressive 52 goals in 96 league appearances for the Portuguese giants, has been linked with a number of club this summer including Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.


After representing Brazil at the Olympic Games, the forward has turned his attention back to domestic football and has listed England as one of his preferred destinations.

“I have left a door open for being transferred to another league,” Hulk told reporters.

“I have preference for playing in the Premier League or the Spanish Liga, because they are the two leagues that are the most seen all over the world.

“I didn’t talk too much with my agent about the chance of being transferred, because I have been on duty with the Brazilian national team at the Olympics.

“This could be the time for me to move. I would feel comfortable with moving clubs and the English league is one that appeals to me.”

With a release clause of £78 million [€100m], it would appear that only the biggest clubs stand a chance of securing highly rated Brazilian, and the striker admitted that discussions will take place with his agent at the beginning of next week.

“I am going to talk about my future from Monday,” he stated. “My future is in the hands of God.”