By DAN KARELL
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:
VIOLENCE ERUPTS IN STANDS AT BRAZILIAN LEAGUE MATCH
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.
RONALDO, MESSI, NEYMAR LEAD FORWARD WORLD XI SHORTLIST
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.