Monday Kickoff: Ballon d’Or finalists revealed; Brazilian league match marred by violence; and more

FIFABallond'Or2012 (Getty)


For the fifth time in six years, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will duel it out as finalists for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Joining them for the 2013 award is Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who won the treble last season with the German club. Ronaldo has been pipped by Messi for the award the last two years and has never finished higher than second since winning the award in 2008, but there’s been some thought that the Portugal international, based on his recent form, could win the award for the once more this year.

In addition to the Player of the Year award, FIFA announced the finalists for Coach of the Year, featuring Sir Alex Ferguson, Jurgen Klopp, and Jupp Heynckes, and the FIFA Puskas award, which features Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s overhead-kick goal against England, Benfica’s Nemanja Matic’s goal against FC Porto, and Neymar’s goal against Japan for Brazil at the Confederations Cup.

Here are some more stories to kick off your week:


The final day of the 2013 Brazilian Serie A season ended on a very sour note for clubs Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama after their match was interrupted in the 17th minute with violent scenes in the stands.

With the match being played in another arena because of a ban on Vasco’s own stadium (due to fan violence), the two sets of fans met together again with minimal to zero police presence before the privately hired security began to reportedly shoot rubber pellets into the crowd to disperse the fighting. Four people were taken to the hospital, though one has reportedly been released.

After a 70 minute delay, the match restarted and saw Atletico dominate Vasco, 5-1, earning a place in next season’s Copa Libertadores while Vasco have been relegated to the Serie B.


Even if Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi don’t win the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, the still have a very good chance of taking home another honor from FIFA on the same night.

Ronaldo, Messi, and Brazilian starlet Neymar headline a 15-man shortlist for forwards on the FIFPro World XI. Also included on the list are Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Robert Lewandowski.

Maybe the surprise of the list is Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid, who has exploded on to the scene in the first half of the 2013/2014 season without Radamel Falcao in front of him anymore. Costa has already scored 15 goals in 15 La Liga matches this season, battering his total of ten from last season so early this year.


There will be an extra North London derby this season as Arsenal have drawn Tottenham in the FA Cup third round, set for January 4/5. (REPORT)

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has revealed that if Barcelona decide that he’s not ready for their first team, he can go on loan to Everton for a second season. (REPORT)

AS Roma’s American owners have met with the Mayor of Rome to continue discussions over a potential new stadium for the club in the city. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich right back Philipp Lahm has returned to training after recovering from a thigh injury. (REPORT)

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could miss the busy Christmas period with a thigh injury picked up on Saturday. (REPORT)

Boca Juniors wrapped up a poor Torneo Inicial in the Argentinian Primera Division with a 1-1 draw at Gimnasia la Plata. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Like Ronaldo’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or? Who do you see winning the Coach of the Year? What did you think of the violent scenes in Brazil?

Share your thoughts below.

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38 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Ballon d’Or finalists revealed; Brazilian league match marred by violence; and more

  1. KJ says:

    Roberto Martinez is on loan from Barcelona? Huh.

    • Artic Fox says:

      I would love to come to your work and watch for every mistake you make then comment “HUH” after questioning it like I’m smarter than you. If you see a mistake simply point it out – I get so frustrated at the sarcastic, mean spirited comments about mistakes in content and grammar. It must be impossibly hard to run even an update each day of soccer events ALL over the world – I applaud this website for its information.

      • Alex says:

        Rule #1 of writing is to read your post before pressing submit. You would think such a task would be simple compared to tracking down all of the stories from around the globe. Yet it seems to be consistently ignored by some of the writers on SBI.

      • RK says:

        The word is Arctic, not Artic.

      • John Maddens Chin says:

        You applaud them for the information… that is WRONG.

        He didn’t misspell a word. He didn’t put a comma in the wrong place. He reported a manager being loaned.

        And the Miami Heat sign Joe Torre on a 4 year 40 million dollar contract! They’ve got an option for one more if the Center wants it.

      • KJ says:

        I didn’t pick out a misplaced comma, or anything small. It’s kind of a significant detail. When your final product will be read by so many people, it wouldn’t hurt to double check. My work won’t be viewed in a public forum, and I’m subject to less criticism.

        I enjoy all the information here, just poking some fun. Lighten up, ArCtic Fox.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Sorry, I’m a professional writer. This kind of mistake is inexcusable. It makes his statement factually wrong. My clients and employers would be justifiably furious with me for making it.

      • josh says:

        I would love it if you were my boss…

    • RK says:

      I knew they were rich, but now they even own and loan managers?

    • neuraminidase says:

      Everyone’s a critic

    • espada says:

      Didn’t know Barcelona put their managers on loan lol. But seriously, Gerard Deulofeu really has been a revelation for Everton.

  2. Travis says:

    Lahm doesn’t play LB for Bayern. He plays CDM (this season) or RB, their LB is Alaba.

    • Increase says:

      If anything his official position is leftback. That’s where he “normally” plays for Bayern. Who knows what normal is for Bayern anymore though.

      • Travis says:

        Lahm hasn’t consistently played LB for Bayern in ages. Alaba has been the starter there since the beginning of last year. Pep has actually been playing Lahm at CDM, he played RB all last year. He may have been a LB at one point but not in a long time for Bayern

      • John Maddens Chin says:

        Lahm hasn’t been Bayner’s LB in forever.

        Alaba is. And is widely regarded as the top left back on earth. INexcusable to make an error like that.

        It’s like Saying Messi is a center midfielder.

  3. Tom says:

    Just to add to the constructive criticism, “pipped” is the old fashioned way of saying “photo-finish” which is also old fashioned now, I guess. Messi beat Ronaldo by a landslide in the last two years’ votes, 48 to 22%, and 52 to 14%.

  4. Brain Guy says:

    At the risk of being scourged by the anti-grammar police police, I would also point out that the note that Ronaldo “has never finished higher than second since winning the award in 2008″ struck me as kind of odd. Is there a place between first and second?

    • RBNY says:

      Maybe there can be co-winners?

    • Kevin_H says:

      I think the note is meant to jointly explain that he won the award in 2008, and has come in second since that time. I honestly don’t see how it’s odd.

      • Brain Guy says:

        I guess that’s my point — “and has finished twice X other times since winning in 2008″ seems clearer. But no biggie.

  5. RBNY says:

    LOL at Juninho… You went from playing for a League Championship winning club in MLS, to one that got relegated in Brazil. Good work.

    • Increase says:

      Did he really? Time to retire… unless he just like to play for fun. Then whatever.

    • Brain Guy says:

      Meanwhile, RBNY’s old friend Rafa Marquez is playing the the Liga MX Apertura playoffs final for Leon.

    • franco says:

      Huh? Forgive me if I am wrong but what league championship did the MLS club you are referring to win? IIRC they haven’t won a league championship in their history and the one that ended the season over the weekend was won by that Sporting Kansas City group.

      • Gerald says:

        Some people consider the winner of the Supporters Shield as the league champion while the MLS Cup is a separate champion, under that scenario NY and KC both won championships and both qualified to the 2014-2015 CCL

      • RBNY says:

        RBNY won the league. SKC won a cup tournament lol.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          a ‘cup tournament’ that is officially considered to determine the winner of the league, since not all teams have the same difficulty of schedule.

          • RBNY says:

            Sure… I’ll take points over 30+ games to a 5 game tournament any day of the week. But you go ahead and let MLS tell you that the playoffs champ is the league champ. Purists will disagree. RBNY beat all of the top clubs this season. We are undisputed.

  6. RBNY says:

    Yep, left us 15 games into the season to head back to Vasco.