Former footballer Jaap Stam believes that it was the “right decision” to hand Barcelona’s Lionel Messi the Ballon d’Or in 2019 ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk. “Normally a defender is underestimated and people don’t think a lot about them. I think nowadays it is becoming better and people appreciate the job of defending a lot more,” Goal. com quoted Stam as saying. “But goalscorers earn more money and they get more attention. That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it’s going to be in the future. And looking at the world now, I think Messi is still the best player.
If you look at the Ballon d’Or and winning the trophy, I think the right decision was to give it to Messi,” he added. After winning the award in December, Messi had gone past Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo to win the most number of Ballon d’Or awards. Ronaldo has won it five times while Messi scripted his sixth win. The 47-year-old Stam said although he would have liked to give the award to his compatriot Van Dijk, Messi deserved the title. “I would have liked to give it to Virgil because I think he’s done great. It’s not that I don’t want him to win it, but I think Messi and what he is doing year in, year out, scoring goals and creating goals with the pressure he’s under, I think he deserves it,” he said.
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Stones is a great centre-back, deserves everything: Ederson
Manchester [UK], January 26 (ANI): Manchester City’s Ederson lauded John Stones saying that the latter is a great centre-back and deserves everything.
Stones has been in outstanding form this season, playing 17 times for the club in all competitions. He also scored a goal during Manchester City’s Carabao Cup semi-final victory over Manchester United earlier this month.
“He is a great centre-back. I have always liked him. He has a huge heart. I like him and I get along with him very well. I have always supported him and I’m delighted about his success. This season, I’m very happy for him for everything he has gone through, the injuries he suffered,” the club’s official website quoted Ederson as saying.
“I think he deserves everything. I hope he can enjoy this moment and he can carry on helping us until the end of the season,” he added.
Manchester City are on a remarkable run as they have secured 10 successive victories in all competitions.
On the back of a sublime run, the club is currently placed in the second spot on the Premier League standings with 38 points, just two points behind table-toppers Manchester United.
Manchester City will next take on West Brom in the Premier League on Wednesday. (ANI)
West Indies need to play spin better: Phil Simmons
Chattogram [Bangladesh], January 26 (ANI): West Indies head coach Phil Simmons feels the boys need to improve their game against spin bowling in the white-ball format ahead of the Sri Lanka tour.
Bangladesh displayed a spirited all-round game to defeat West Indies by 120 runs in the third ODI of the three-match series at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Monday.
All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and spinner Mehidy Hasan picked 13 of the 30 wickets that West Indies lost in the three-match ODI series. Simmons also wants his side to show character and determination when they play the game of cricket.
“[I learned] that we need to play spin better. We need to be able to rotate strike and score boundaries in Bangladesh a lot better. There’s work to be done,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Simmons as saying.
“Every time you have low scores, there is not enough character, heart, determination shown. It is all about putting everything out there and making sure things happen the way you want them to happen, and that’s not been done,” he added.
It was a tough series for West Indies, the highest total they made in the 50-over format was 177 in the third ODI. Simmons feels West Indies have to improve in every department and pointed out on the dearth of runs the side is going through.
“We need to improve on everything, in every area, after losing three games. Especially the runs that we put on the board. That’s something we have to work on from now, till our next series which is in March (against Sri Lanka),” said Simmons.
The 3-0 result at home has lifted Bangladesh to the second position in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League points table as they are on 30 points along with England but ahead on net run-rate.
Australia, who are one of only two sides to play two series so far with the other being England, lead with 40 points in the Super League, which was introduced last year to add context to ODI cricket. (ANI)
There’s possibly another 100 Test matches there for de Kock: Boucher
Karachi [Pakistan], January 26 (ANI): South Africa head coach Mark Boucher feels skipper Quinton de Kock could become one of the most capped Proteas players of all time.
De Kock made his 50th appearance in the longest format of the game in the ongoing first Test against Pakistan in Karachi on Tuesday. Boucher, who made his debut against Pakistan in 1997, hopes De Kock will play at least another 100 games in the longest format.
“It’s a special occasion for any player. It’s just the start of his career. There’s possibly another 100 Test matches there for him,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Boucher as saying.
The former wicket-keeper batsman is South Africa’s second most-capped Test cricketer after all-rounder Jacques Kallis. Boucher played 150 Tests while Kallis featured in 166 games.
Boucher praised the South Africa captain and said opposition teams hope a “special player” like de Kock doesn’t get into good form.
“Quinny is a special cricketer. He is the type of player opposition hope doesn’t get into good form because he can take the game away from anyone very quickly,” said Boucher.
“Being a captain is an extra [responsibility] we have added on to him. We’re trying to help him out as much as we can in that department. But I’m very happy he has taken on that role,” he added.
The South Africa coach hopes to see the best of the wicket-keeper batsman in the ongoing Test series against Pakistan.
“I know it’s tough at times, especially if your performances aren’t exactly where you want them to be. Hopefully, we can get the best of Quinny in this series. It can only be good for him as a person, a captain, and also for the team,” said Boucher.
Meanwhile, in the first Test, South Africa got off to a bad start after opting to bat first. The side lost Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen cheaply in the first hour of play. (ANI)
Man Utd have a lot of leaders in the dressing room: Maguire
Manchester [UK], January 26 (ANI): Manchester United’s Harry Maguire said he got the captain’s armband “a lot sooner” than he would have dreamed of while admitting that the club’s dressing room is full of leaders.
The 27-year-old joined United from Leicester City in 2019 and was given the captain’s armband at Old Trafford less than six months after walking through the door.
“He (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) just pulled me and he said, ‘Look, I’m going to make you captain of this club’. Obviously it was a great moment for myself — it’s a huge honour to play for this club, never mind be the captain and lead the boys out at Old Trafford,” the club’s official website quoted Maguire as saying.
“It’s a massive honour and a massive privilege. It came a lot sooner than I would have dreamed of. Obviously Ash [Ashley Young] was here before, I learned a lot off Ash when he was here for three or four months. A great guy, a great player for the club, a great servant,” he added.
Manchester United are performing brilliantly in the 2020-2021 season of the Premier League. The club sits atop the table with 40 points from 19 games.
Talking about his teammates, Maguire said: “We have a lot of leaders in the dressing room, a lot of senior pros. And you don’t have to be a senior pro to be a leader. Axel [Tuanzebe] is a leader, in the ways that he works and speaks in the dressing room. And he’s only a young boy, he’s still learning his trade — I’m sure he’ll go on to have an unbelievable career.”
“I think we have a lot of leaders. There’s Bruno [Fernandes], who has come in and made a massive impact at the club, results-wise but also off the field. His mentality — it rubs off on other people when you have a strong mentality, a winning mentality. Nemanja [Matic], Juan [Mata], David [De Gea] — they’ve been at the club a while now. There’s definitely a lot of leaders in the dressing room,” he added.
Manchester United will next play against Sheffield United on Thursday. (ANI)
Guardiola insists focus is key to Manchester City’s winning streak
Manchester [UK], January 26 (ANI): Even as Manchester City is on a roll, manager Pep Guardiola has said that he never asks his players to look too far ahead and wants them to focus on the immediate challenge that faces them.
And the strategy seems to be working really well for the manager as the club is on a remarkable run. Manchester City have secured 10 successive victories in all competitions and are now preparing for the game against West Brom.
“Focus and concentration and, believe me, this is the best advice — focus on the next one. People want predictions of who will be champions, how many points etc,” the club’s official website quoted Guardiola as saying when asked about the secret behind this run.
“Focus on the next game. Now it is not about Sheffield United or Burnley — it’s about West Brom. That’s the only way. I never say to the players ‘Win five games in a row.’ I say ‘Win the next one and see how many we can win.’ When you have won 10 games in all competitions, focus on the next one. That’s all that matters. After (that) we see what happens. When you start to think ahead, you will lose a lot,” he added.
On the back of a sublime run, Manchester City is currently placed in the second spot on the Premier League standings with 38 points, just two points behind table-toppers Manchester United.
Manchester City will take on West Brom in the Premier League on Wednesday. (ANI)
Pollard excited as CWI announces return of regional 50-over cricket with Super50 Cup
St John’s [Antigua], January 26 (ANI): Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced the return of regional 50-over cricket to the Caribbean with the fixtures for the rescheduled Super50 Cup to be played in Antigua in February.
The health risks related to the coronavirus pandemic caused major disruption to all domestic cricket since late March last year, with no competitive cricket allowed regionally except for an abridged version of the CPL which took place in August 2020 in Trinidad.
This year’s annual Super50 Cup will provide a platform for the region’s six major cricketing rivals to clash in nineteen 50-over matches starting from February 7 when Leeward Islands Hurricanes host the Windward Islands Volcanoes.
“It is very good that cricket is coming back to the Caribbean. Players will get the opportunity to showcase their skills and entertain our fans,” Kieron Pollard, West Indies ODI captain said in the CWI release.
“It has been a trying 2020 for cricketers and the whole Caribbean, so it is really good that we have the CG Insurance Super50 Cup being played at this time and hopefully it can unearth some new talent,” he added.
Each team will play each other on a round-robin basis with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals and the opportunity to reach the final. The tournament finals will be played on February 27.
Matches will be played at Antigua’s two international cricket venues — the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS). There will be 13 matches at CCG including the semi-finals and final, and six matches at SVRS.
The Super50 Cup is the marquee 50-over event in the West Indies featuring the six long-standing territorial rivals — Barbados Pride, Guyana Jaguars, Jamaica Scorpions, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, and the Windward Islands Volcanoes. (ANI)
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