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Luka Modric ‘beats’ Ronaldo to win 2018 Ballon d’ Or award

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Croatia captain and Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modric, has won the men’s Ballon d’Or award, the prestigious prize given to the best football in the world.

Modric beat five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo and World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann to the honour at a glamorous ceremony in Paris, France.

Kylian Mbappe won the inaugural Kopa Trophy for the best young player, while Lyon and Norway forward Ada Hegerberg won the first women’s Ballon d’Or.

The Croatia captain has proved a crucial part both of Real Madrid’s third successive Champions League triumph, beating Liverpool in the final 3-1, and as captain in Croatia’s impressive run to the World Cup final which earned him the tournament’s Golden Ball.

In 2018, Modric won his third consecutive Champions League trophy with club side Real Madrid and led Croatia to their first World Cup final, losing 4-2 to France.

The 33-year-old’s prize sees an end to the 10-year duopoly of Messi, who finished fifth overall in his lowest ranking since 2006, and Ronaldo, who came second. France and Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann finished third, with his France team-mate Mbappe fourth.

Harry Kane, the only English player on the 30-man shortlist, ranked 10th in the poll after winning the World Cup Golden Boot in Russia as he captained England to their best finish in 28 years.

Premier League trio Mohamed Salah (6), Eden Hazard (8) and Kevin De Bruyne (9) were also in the top 10.

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, dropped to 12th having been voted third best in last year’s poll.

World Cup winners N’Golo Kante (11) and Paul Pogba (15) finished in the top 20 after being recognised for their performances in Russia.

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SPORTS

SOPAN hails Falcons for South Korea Victory

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..Charges team to beat France

Sports Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (SOPAN) has congratulated Nigeria’s Super Falcons for spanking the former World Champions, South Korea 2-0 in their second group game at the ongoing 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

According to the Chairman of the Noble association, Mr Martin Odiete, who on Thursday after the Executives meeting of the Association held at their headquarters in Abuja, commended the efforts of the senior national female team for bouncing back from a 3-0 defeat in the hands of Norway in their first Group A match to beat the South Koreans.

By this victory, Falcons now has a good chance of making it to the round of 16 if they can get at least a draw in the last group match against the host team France, but warned that the match would play a big role in booking their second round ticket.

“We are extremely happy with the resilient spirit of Nigeria’s apex female football team (Super Falcons), especially proving the doubting Thomases wrong against Korea Republic few days ago.

“SOPAN is a body that is duly registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria, and part of our objectives include putting Nigerian sports in good spotlight before the world. We believe you can consolidate on the recent triumph over the bottom placed Korea republic,” Odiete maintained.

Martin Odiete on behalf of SOPAN, implore the Super Falcons to fight for the next phase of the ongoing FIFA World Cup as the play host nation, France.

“As African Champions, with intimidating track records, we are sure Falcons can conquer one of the biggest women football nations, France, when they meet in their last group match.

“We Salute the Technical Savvy of Falcons’ crew Led by Thomas Dennerby and ex International, Maureen Madu, as we urge the Super Falcons to be ruthless against the French National team to extend their stay in the world football showpiece ”

“SOPAN shall continue to give its ‘unflinching ‘ support to Super Falcons as the pride of Africa and believes that the Nigerian team can make progress in this Women’s FIFA World Cup holding in France,” he assured

Super Falcons rose from a 3-0 defeat to Norway in their first group match to beat Korea 2-0 and stand a good chance of progressing to the second round but must maintain a decent scoreline in the last group match against the host, France in Rennes on Monday to clear the debris of not reaching the knockout phase since 1999.

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BREAKING: Gianni Infantino re-elected as FIFA president

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Gianni Infantino was re-elected by acclamation for a second term as FIFA president at the Congress of world football’s governing body in Paris on Wednesday.

The 49-year-old, who took charge of FIFA in February 2016 after the departure of the disgraced Sepp Blatter, stood unopposed for re-election for a new four-year term which will run until 2023.

He said that the organization has been transformed into being “synonymous with credibility.”

Before the decision, Infantino said: “It is only thanks to you that we have been able to transform FIFA, to transform it into a new FIFA, an organization that is synonymous with credibility, confidence, integrity, equality, human rights, social engagement, modernity, professionalism and equality.”

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Liverpool beat Spurs 2-0 to win Champions League

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Jordan Henderson raises the trophy. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Liverpool has won the 2019 UEFA Champions League, after beating Tottenham Hotspurs 2-0 in Madrid, Spain.

Mohamed Salah’s early penalty and a late goal by Divock Origi steered Liverpool to a sixth Champions League title on Saturday as they beat Tottenham 2-0 in an all-English final in Madrid.

Salah scored the second quickest goal in Champions League final history as he converted from the spot after just one minute and 48 seconds following a handball by Moussa Sissoko.

Belgian striker Origi, who scored the winning goal against Barcelona in Liverpool’s remarkable semi-final comeback, sealed victory three minutes from time with a superb low finish.

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