HIGHLIGHT: The best of Lionel Messi’s FIVE goal performance – Argentina 5-0 Estonia

Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi had a Sunday night against Estonia, where the 34-year-old continued his excellent form this international week.

The Argentine had an impressive two assists performance against Italy and followed it with a five-goal display versus Estonia. It appears as though Messi is heading in the right direction when it comes to his form with the FIFA World Cup later this year.

It will be interesting to see if Messi can translate how he’s playing with Argentina this week to PSG next season.

WATCH: Anfield tributes paid to absent Cristiano Ronaldo following death of newborn son

Cristiano Ronaldo did not play in Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield where fans of both sides showed their support for the striker following the death of his newborn son.

Liverpool fans clap in the seventh minute as a mark of respect to Cristiano Ronaldo

The forward announced the tragic news on social media on Monday in a joint message with his partner Georgina Rodriguez, prompting a huge number of messages of support from across the footballing world and beyond.

Manchester United confirmed Ronaldo’s absence, saying on manutd.com: “Family is more important than everything and Ronaldo is supporting his loved ones at this immensely difficult time.

“As such, we can confirm that he will not feature in the match against Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday evening and we underline the family’s request for privacy.

“Cristiano, we are all thinking of you and sending strength to the family.”

A fan-led minute’s applause was held in the seventh minute of Tuesday’s game in support of Ronaldo and his family.

A further statement on United’s website said the gesture had “initially been suggested by fans of the Merseyside team”, while a request from Ralf Rangnick’s visiting squad to wear black armbands was accepted and “reciprocated by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side”.

Ronaldo, who has four older children, announced last October that he and Rodriguez were expecting twins. Their baby girl survived.

The couple said on Monday: “It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away.

“It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel.

“Only the birth of our baby girl gives us the strength to live this moment with some hope and happiness.

“We would like to thank the doctors and nurses for all their expert care and support.

“We are all devastated at this loss and we kindly ask for privacy at this very difficult time.

“Our baby boy, you are our angel. We will always love you.”

A message on United’s Twitter account on Monday evening read: “Your pain is our pain, Cristiano.

Sending love and strength to you and the family at this time.”

The 37-year-old’s United team-mate Marcus Rashford tweeted: “Thoughts are with you and Georgina brother. I’m so sorry.”

Ronaldo’s former club Real Madrid said in a statement: “Real Madrid, its president and board of directors are deeply saddened by the passing of one of the children that our dear Cristiano Ronaldo and his partner, Georgina Rodriguez, were expecting.

“Real Madrid shares in the family’s pain and wishes to send them all of our warmth.”

Manchester City, Liverpool, Leeds and the Premier League were among many others sending the couple messages of condolence on Twitter.

OFFICIAL: Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira complete the first 10 in Premier League’s Hall of Fame

Former Manchester United and Everton striker Wayne Rooney and former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira are the latest inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame

Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira have become the latest players to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Rooney is the Premier League’s all-time second top scorer, with 208 goals for Manchester United – with whom he won five league titles – and Everton.

Vieira won three Premier League titles during 11 seasons with Arsenal and captained the ‘Invincibles’ team to the title in 2003/04, when they did not lose a match.

Rooney and Vieira are the ninth and 10th players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.

Rooney has been inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame

Rooney: Huge honour to be inducted

Rooney burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old for Everton when he scored a spectacular winner against Arsenal at Goodison Park – his first Premier League goal.

He then joined Manchester United for nearly £30m in August 2004 and would go on to become an Old Trafford legend.

In 13 years at United, Rooney became the club’s record scorer in the competition with 183 goals, won the league five times – including three in a row between 2006/07 and 2008/09 – and was named the league’s Player of the Season in 2009/10.

He also twice won the Premier League Goal of the Season award at United, for his long-range volley against Newcastle United in 2004/05 and his bicycle kick against title rivals Manchester City in 2010/11.

The 36-year-old, who currently manages Championship side Derby County, said: “It’s a huge honour for me to be named in the Premier League Hall of Fame, alongside an incredible group of players who have already been inducted.

“Growing up, I watched the Premier League as far back as I can remember. My dream was always to become a professional footballer, score goals, and win trophies, and I was lucky enough to win the Premier League five times.

“I have so many brilliant memories from my years playing for Everton and Manchester United, and I’m really proud of what we achieved. To enter the Hall of Fame is very special for me personally and I’m grateful to be recognised.”

Vieira has been inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame

Vieira: Induction makes me realise how good I was

Vieira joined Arsenal from AC Milan in 1996 and helped the Gunners to win the Premier League for the first time in 1997/98 in his second season at the club.

The midfielder was named Premier League Player of the Season in 2000/01 and then won the 2001/02 and 2003/04 titles alongside team-mates Henry and Bergkamp, who have also been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The Frenchman scored 31 goals and provided 34 assists during 307 Premier League appearances for Arsenal and Manchester City, where he spent one season before retiring in 2011.

The 45-year-old, who currently manages Crystal Palace, said: “Being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame is a fantastic achievement. When I received the news, I thought about being a young boy playing in Senegal, or in a suburb of Paris.

“To be there with the best players in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is bigger than what I was ever thinking about. To have my name around those players makes me proud and makes me realise how good I was.

“It’s not bad company to join. I was lucky to play at the same time as some of them, of course including Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. So to share the stage with them makes me realise I had a really good career.

“What really makes me happy and proud is when your name is mentioned by new, up-and-coming holding midfielders as an example of how they would like to play.”

Rooney and Vieira have become the ninth and 10th players to be inducted into the PL Hall of Fame

Vote for the next inductees

The Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates the exceptional skill and talent of individuals who have graced the Premier League since its inception in 1992. It is the highest individual honour awarded to players by the league.

All inducted players receive a medallion engraved with their name and the year of their induction, with a £10,000 donation made by the Premier League to a charity of their choice.

A shortlist of 25 additional nominees eligible to join the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2022 will be announced on Wednesday at 4pm, with fans invited to help select six further inductees.

Voting will take place at http://www.premierleague.com/halloffame and on the official Premier League app until 9pm (UK time) on Sunday 3 April.

Man Utd clash against Brentford postponed after Covid outbreak

Manchester United‘s trip to Brentford on Tuesday has been postponed due to COVID-19.

The Red Devils are reported to have recorded a ‘small number’ of positive coronavirus tests before Sunday morning’s training session, as the UK struggles to contain the Omicron variant.

The positive contingent are believed to have been sent home before training, but The Athletic claims that Ralf Rangnick could not lead a full session due to the situation.

The report claims that United only took part in individual, non-contact training, and Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Brentford has now been called off.

United are not the only side to have been hit with a COVID-19 outbreak, with Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Leicester City all dealing with similar situations in recent days

Champions League last 16 draw to be redone after technical error

The draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 will be “entirely redone” after a technical error, European football’s governing body UEFA confirmed Monday, declaring the original draw void.

Click here to check the newest and correct draw list in full.

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Full Draw Results (1st time)

  • Benfica vs Real Madrid
  • Villarreal vs Manchester City
  • Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich
  • Salzburg vs Liverpool
  • Inter Milan vs Ajax
  • Sporting Lisbon vs Juventus
  • Chelsea vs Lille
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United

Manchester United was mistakenly drawn with Villarreal, even though both teams faced each other in the group stage while the Premier League side’s ball was not added to the bowl as a potential opponent for Atletico Madrid.

Manchester United was mistakenly drawn with Villarreal, even though both teams faced each other in the group stage while the Premier League side’s ball was not added to the bowl as a potential opponent for Atletico Madrid.

The last 16 ties will be played in February and March.

UEFA blamed a “material error” due to a “technical problem with the software of an external service provider” as it announced that the draw for the first knockout round of its flagship competition would be redone at 2 p.m.GMT.

The re-draw result:

Champions League last 16 re-draw: Ramos & Messi back to Madrid; Chelsea vs Lille AGAIN; Atletico vs Man United; Read list in FULL

Watch: Ronaldo scores 800th career goal as Man Utd defeat Arsenal

The forward has continued to pour in goals in important situations for the Red Devil as he becomes the first professional footballer to reach 800 goals milestone

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 800th career goal in all competitions on Thursday against Arsenal to briefly give his side a 2-1 lead before converting the match-winning penalty for No.801 after the Gunners had equalised.

The forward is recognised as the all-time top men’s goalscorer, and he has continued to reach significant milestones upon his return to the Red Devils.

Ronaldo has made a habit of netting in important moments this year, as he’s scored at least once in each of his five Champions League appearances, including two late winners, and scored six times in the Premier League.

Watch: Ronaldo scores 800th career goal

Ronaldo found the back of the net by sliding in a low pass from Marcus Rashford for his 800th goal.

What has been said?

“Incredible,” midfielder Bruno Fernandes told Amazon of Ronaldo. “We all know he is improving game by game, year by year.

“He wants to keep being the best and that’s what he did. He knows how to self-motivate.”

Ronaldo’s goalscoring by team

Ronaldo has scored the most goals at Real Madrid with 450.

He’s now bagged 130 at Manchester United, as well as 115 with the Portugal national team, 101 with Juventus and five with Sporting CP.

Further reading

‘Factos’ – Cristiano Ronaldo Comments On A Post Saying Messi Robbed The Ballon d’Or

Carrick ends 15-year Man Utd stay as interim boss announced departure following Arsenal victory

Will Chelsea still be at the top of the EPL table by January 2022? 

‘Factos’ – Cristiano Ronaldo Comments On A Post Saying Messi Robbed The Ballon d’Or

On Monday, footballer Lionel Messi was awarded his seventh Ballon d’Or in Paris.

The Paris Saint-Germain star was given the prestigious French football award at the 65th annual ceremony, but his rival Ronaldo seemingly thinks that he deserved it more.

When a fan account ranted about how Ronaldo was robbed of the Ballon d’Or this week, the footballer himself showed his agreement in the comments.

FAN CLAIMS RONALDO DESERVED BALLON D’OR

A popular Instagram Ronaldo fan account called @cr7.o_lendario, who has 325,000 followers, took to Instagram to post their reaction to Messi winning the Ballon d’Or.

First, they listed Ronaldo’s many achievements this year before saying: “Regardless of his age, [Ronaldo] is a guy who continues to perform miracles and impresses the world most often.”

He then went on to say that Ronaldo was robbed and deserved the Ballon D’Or over Messi, writing:

“Cristiano was way better, and the prize goes to who? For Messi, who only won Copa do Ei for Barcelona, hasn’t scored a goal against Real Madrid since Cristiano left and missed in the big games of the season.”

The Instagram user continued to list Messi’s lack of achievements before saying:

“For Ronaldo to win this award he has to be 300% unquestionable. It’s not use scoring the most beautiful goal of the the year, being champion of everything for a club, top scorer of everything and scoring a hat-trick in the world cup.”

“With Messi, it’s the opposite. He can have a low season, way down, they’ll always find a way to favour him and give him the award. Steal. Dirt. Shame. It’s just unfortunate,” he concluded before adding:

“Those who are intelligent enough know who deserves the truth. Receiving awards without deserving it, is false happiness, without pride. Regardless of those awards, C27 will always be the best in history.”

RONALDO COMMENTS ‘FACTOS’

Ronaldo himself read the fan’s Instagram post and decided to show his support in the comments.

He commented the word “Factos” alongside a thumbs up and eyes emoji, which means “facts” in Spanish and Portuguese.

The Manchester United footballer was seemingly saying that he agrees that he deserved the Ballon d’Or, and the comment was a sly dig at his rival Messi.

RONALDO SAYS WINNING BALLON D’OR AWARDS ISN’T HIS AMBITION

Despite commenting “Factos” and claiming he deserved the Ballon d’Or awards, Ronaldo recently revealed that winning more Ballon d’Ors isn’t his only ambition.

On Friday, days before the Ballon d’Or ceremony, French editor Pascal Ferre told the New York Times: “Ronaldo has only one ambition, and that is to retire with more Ballons d’Or than Messi – and I know that because he has told me.”

Ronaldo then slammed his claims on Instagram, writing: “Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for.”

“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or,” he continued.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country. The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”

Messi wins historic SEVENTH Ballon d’Or; Chelsea awarded ‘Club of the Year’; Donnarumma gets Yashin Trophy; Lewandowski picks up the ‘Striker of the Year’; Putellas wins Women’s Ballon d’Or

Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi won the 2021 Ballon d’Or, his record-extending seventh player of the year award in his career. He beat out Bayern Munich and Poland forward Robert Lewandowski, who was the other top contender.

FC Barcelona star attacking midfielder Alexia Putellas won the women’s award, PSG goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma was voted the best goalkeeper in the world, and another Barcelona player, 19-year-old Pedri, was named the best men’s Under-21 player in the world.

Robert Lewandowski was named the inaugural Striker of the Year as the top scorer for club and country, while Chelsea FC took home the Club of the Year with the most candidates across the Ballon d’Or awards.

LIONEL MESSI WINS HIS SEVENTH BALLON D’OR🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

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Lionel Messi has won an historic seventh Ballon d’Or after picking up the prestigious individual award at a ceremony in Paris.

The 34-year-old has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021, meaning he has lifted the prize handed to the best player in world football more times than any other male player in its history, two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi beat out Robert Lewandowski who finished in second place and Chelsea midfielder Jorghino who was ranked third in the voting.

The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.

“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key”, Messi said at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the summer, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.

Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European Championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Club of the year: Chelsea FC

2021 was a memorable one for Chelsea and they have been handed the award for the Club of the Year!

Of course, Thomas Tuchel’s team won the Champions League and are top of the Premier League while Emma Hayes’ side made the final of the Women’s Champions League last season.

N’Golo Kante: 5th in the Ballon d’Or

Jorginho: 3rd in the Ballon d’Or

Chelsea: 2021 Club of the Year

What a run for Chelsea!

Best Goalscorer Award

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Robert Lewandowski and the newly-created Striker of the Year award

Bayern Munich and Poland striker Lewandowski has won the Striker of the Year award! He enjoyed an excellent 2021, breaking Gerd Muller’s long-standing record for the most Bundesliga goals in a single season!

Yashin Trophy

Italy and PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has won the 2021 Yashin Trophy, beating out Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy who had been tipped for the award.

Donnarumma won the Best Player award at Euro 2020 and made the switch from AC Milan to the French capital in the summer.

Gianluigi Donnarumma beats out the likes of Edouard Mendy (2nd), Jan Oblak (3rd), Ederson (4th), Manuel Neuer (5th), Emiliano Martinez (6th).

Women’s Ballon d’Or

What an extraordinary year it’s been for Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who is crowned the winner ahead of stars Jenni Hermoso, Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema.

Congratulations, Alexia!

Kopa Trophy

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Pedri has won the Kopa trophy handed to the best male player age 21 or under. It’s certainly true that the teenager had an incredible year for Barcelona and Spain!

Bukayo Saka came sixth in the voting with Mason Greenwood fifth and Jude Bellingham in second place!

2021 Kopa Trophy Ranking:

1 | Pedri
2 | Jude Bellingham
3 | Jamal Musiala
4 | Nuno Mendes
5 | Mason Greenwood
6 | Bukayo Saka
7 | Florian Wirtz
8 | Ryan Gravenberch
9 | Giovanni Reyna
9 | Jérémy Doku

More to follow… Keep refreshing the page to getting more information!

Men’s Ballon d’Or Rankings (2nd to 10th)

Lewandowski at 2nd place in the Ballon d’Or rankings

Kante 5th, Benzema 4th, Jorginho 3rd!

Ronaldo 6th, Salah 7th De Bruyne 8th

There will be no sixth Ballon d’Or for Cristiano Ronaldo this evening with the Portuguese forward finishing sixth in the ranking! Sixth-place Ronaldo finishes outside the top five in the Ballon d’Or for the first time since 2010.

Kevin de Bruyne has been ranked sixth in the Ballon d’Or voting with Mohamed Salah in seventh place! Both players have enjoyed brilliant years with Salah arguably in the form of his life right now!

Of course, de Bruyne helped Manchester City to their third Premier League title in four years.

MBAPPE 9TH, DONNARUMMA 10TH!

From Opera Football to Apex Football

In the next few days, Opera Football will transform into Apex Football – your new home for fast live scores, breaking news and the latest stats.

The change forms part of our plan to improve the product experience for our users, with the new brand name, colour scheme and icons designed to make the app both easier to read and more intuitive to navigate.

But the changes don’t stop there: the first iteration of Apex Football also comes with some brand new features.

The most important of these is an onboarding process that makes it easier for you to follow your favourite teams.

We know from feedback on the Google Play store that one of the things you liked most about Opera Football was the speed and accuracy of the live score updates. Onboarding will help you get your scores faster and more reliably than ever before.

As part of this onboarding process, when you open the Apex Football app for the first time you’ll be asked to choose your favourite teams. You’ll then be automatically subscribed to receive Push notifications for all of those teams’ future matches, meaning you’ll never miss a goal in the games you care about most.

We’ve also updated the ‘Leagues’ tab so you can more easily find the competitions you’re most interested in and several bugs have been fixed that were impacting the user experience.

Why Apex?

You might be wondering: Why change the name to Apex Football? And the first thing to mention here is that Apex Football is still part of the Opera family and is still being created by Opera developers – nothing has changed in that respect.

But if you search for the word ‘Apex’, you’ll find it means ‘the highest point or most successful part of something’. We believe that the name change helps us to reflect the promise we’re making to our users: to create the best possible football live scores and news product out there.

So expect plenty of further changes in the coming weeks and months as we seek to take Apex Football to the highest possible point.

What do I need to do?

The switch from Opera Football to Apex Football will take place at different times for different users, so all you need to do is to make sure you have the latest version of the application installed and then keep an eye out for the new icon.