Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or once again. The Argentinian footballer, who now plays for PSG, has won the award for the seventh time in his career seeing off 29 other candidates.
Messi was among the favourites to win it together with Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski while Cristiano Ronaldo was once again in the mix.
This was the first Ballon d’Or ceremony for two years as last year’s edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 34 year-old Messi netted 38 goals in all competitions in his final league season at Barca before moving to PSG in the summer as Barca were unable to renew his contract. Messi left the club against his will and he has got four goals in his 10 appearances for the French side so far.
In fact, he ended up being the top scorer in La Liga last season with 30 goals, seven ahead of nearest challengers Karim Benzema and Gerard Moreno while he came joint fifth of the top assists chart with nine. Messi also netted twice in the Copa del Rey final victory over Athletic Bilbao back in April. That proved to be the last trophy he won at the Catalan giants.
As well as shining for his club, Messi has had some terrific performances for his country this year. He netted a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Bolivia in World Cup qualifying in the summer while he scored one and assisted two in the 3-0 victory over Ecuador at the Copa America, a competition which Argentina won. That was the first time Lionel Messi had won a trophy with his country. As well as that, Argentina have already booked their place at the 2022 World Cup so the Argentine has another chance to win the World Cup for the first time.
The award was given based on a combination of voting by fans and a jury which included journalists from all over the world, players, coaches and another important actors in the world. Messi’s win takes him two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to overall Ballon d’Or victories while it is a setback for Lewandowski who was arguably set to win the award last year before it got cancelled.
Tanguy Ndombele Loan Agreed Between Valencia And Tottenham Hotspur
Maynard reports that a six-month loan has been agreed upon between Valencia and Spurs. However, Tanguy Ndombele’s preference is to join Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG in France.
La Liga side Valencia have agreed to a Tanguy Ndombele loan deal with Tottenham Hotspur, Julien Maynard reports.
The former Lyon midfielder favours a move to Paris Saint-Germain but with the transfer deadline getting closer and closer, he may have to make a decision.
Valencia are tenth in La Liga and are looking for new life in their midfield to help bridge the seven-point gap between them and the top four places. The Spanish side have been underperforming for some time having finished 13th last season.
Ndombele has featured very little since Antonio Conte’s appointment as Tottenham manager and it’s pretty clear that an exit from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is on the cards for the 25-year-old Frenchman.
Capped seven times by France, Ndombele’s Spurs career has always been under the spotlight. A signing they hoped would signal the beginning of a new era of success following a Champions League final loss to Liverpool. That never came to fruition and the weight has always been on his shoulders.
His lack of success under demanding managers like Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte speaks for itself and maybe it’s time Ndombele, who started his senior career with Amiens, had a fresh start.
He is undoubtedly a player with talent and will look to get his career back on the road in the coming months.
Ndombele played 91 games for Tottenham and a loan deal means he might not have made his last appearance, though it’s extremely likely he has. In that time he contributed to 19 goals, scoring ten and assisting nine.
EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle turn to Everton man as centre-back options dwindle
TEAMtalk understands that Everton defender Yerry Mina has emerged as a January transfer target for Newcastle United.
Eddie Howe’s primary defensive targets have so far been Burnley’s James Tarkowski and Lille star Sven Botman, but neither of those deals were possible.
Sevilla’s Diego Carlos has since emerged as the number one target. However, that deal has not yet been agreed and Newcastle are looking at other options instead.
Now we can reveal that one of those the Magpies are keen on is Colombian ace Mina, although the recent sacking of Rafa Benitez could see the situation complicated.
Newcastle do still have room in their squad for two domestic loans – and Mina could fill one of those berths.
But it remains to be seen whether Everton would be happy to potentially strengthen a rival who are only seven points behind them in the table and still sit in the bottom three.
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Newcastle, West Ham join Szalai chase
Meanwhile, West Ham and Newcastle United have joined the list of clubs keen to sign Fenerbahce defender Attila Szalai in the January transfer window.
The centre-back, who turns 24 on Thursday, has garnered plenty of attention this season with his displays in Turkey. The Hungry international has made 17 starts among 19 top-flight appearances for the Yellow Canaries. And many top clubs have taken note.
Barcelona were linked in November last year but Chelsea seemed at the front of the queue for his signature. A report in early December claimed the Blues had all but sealed a deal for the stopper.
That was because Hungary manager Marco Rossi seemed to confirm that he was off to Stamford Bridge.
Asked about his squad, the 57-year-old Italian said: “It’s hard to name just one player, but right now I see very well Attila Szalai, who plays for Fenerbahce, but I think he is joining Chelsea.”
However, just a day later, Fenerbahce issued a rebuttal.
“The allegations regarding the transfer of our player Attila Szalai, which have been made public in the last few days, based on foreign press and social media, do not reflect the truth,” a statement read.
“Our club has not made any transfer negotiations regarding our successful football player Attila Szalai. Our player continues his work completely concentrating on the goals of our team. We present it to the public.”
That news opened the door for other clubs to get involved and the Hammers have now been linked, per Sky Sports. David Moyes is in the market for a central defender following Angelo Ogbonna’s season-ending injury.
And Szalai ticks all the boxes, as he is also a left-footed defender and is a decade younger than the Italian. But the north-east outfit are also keen.
Szalai to solve Newcastle problems
Newcastle are involved in a relegation fight after winning just one Premier League fixture this term. They have been unable to see out games from winning positions.
And that was the case again at the weekend. They let slip a 1-0 lead, with Joao Pedro bagging late on to earn Watford a point.
Eddie Howe needs to improve his rearguard if he is to prevent the Magpies revolution hitting the buffers in May. Szalai, capped 23 times by Hungary, would not break the bank.
He is valued in the region of £17m – a price that has also attracted Serie A giants AC Milan.
READ MORE: Record Newcastle deal on as bid for Real Madrid star is ‘accepted’ as Man Utd man rejects loan