FIFA’s annual awards ceremony took place in Zurich last night and there weren’t too many surprises as to who would come top of the main awards of the evening.
It was obvious to all of the world and his dog that Lionel Messi would come to win the Player of the Year award in 2011 following yet another truly successful twelve months with his club FC Barcelona. The Ballon D’or award will adorn his mantelpiece for the third year in a row but it could easily have gone to any of his club colleagues Xavi or Andres Iniesta due to their consistency, as well as Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo who was conspicuous by his absence at last night’s ceremony. However Messi topped the poll once more due to his amazing ability to stand out in one of football’s greatest ever club sides. His recent performances in this season’s El Clasico against Real Madrid and FIFA Club World Cup final against Santos FC have put to bed the recent question as to who is the best player in the world with Messi getting the better of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar respectively in those games.
A repeat of the historic sextuple triumph of 2009 was almost replicated but for the head of Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2010-11 Cope del Rey final which deprived Barcelona of one trophy last year. Nonetheless the 2010-11 league title was won with an astonishing total of 96 points, four ahead of Madrid, and the UEFA Champions League win was the club’s third in five years. Wins in both the Spanish and European Super Cups at the start of the 2011-12 season took Barcelona’s haul of trophies to four for the calendar year before December’s triumph in the FIFA Club World Cup, which culminated in a 4-0 pasting for South American champions Santos FC in the final, meant that five out of six had been achieved and cemented the club’s recent dominance in world football. On a similar theme the Manager of the Year award went to Pep Guardiola who, three years after taking the job at the Camp Nou, shows that he is still as hungry for success as ever and has raised the bar of how football should and can be played. Upon receiving the award Guardiola said that he would like to share the award with his two challengers for the prize, namely Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sir Alex Ferguson would admit himself that what is happening at FC Barcelona at the moment means that they should grasp the limelight but, outside of Catalonia, Ferguson is still going strong at Old Trafford and showing no signs of slowing down. His continuing exploits at the top of the English and European game saw him recognized by FIFA last night with a special Lifetime Achievement Award. Last year saw Sir Alex win his twelfth Premier League title with Manchester United, which was the club’s 19th English league title overall and saw them overtake Liverpool FC’s total of 18 which had been an English record for over three decades. Although the 2010-11 season wasn’t the most dominant title win during his reign, Sir Alex has at least set the ball rolling for another potential era of sustained success and his charges currently lie second in the English Premier League table three points behind arch rivals Manchester City who they knocked out of the FA Cup last weekend. In a year in which Ferguson was recognized by all and sundry in the football world for the remarkable contribution he has made to football during his 25 years at Old Trafford his peers at the club invoked the most perfect of tributes by renaming the North Stand in his honour and has now been similarly held in high esteem by world football’s governing body.
Sir Alex’s club Manchester United saw two of their players reach the FIFPro World XI in the shape of Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney. The latter was denied the Ferenc Puskas prize for the goal of the year with the prize going to Santos FC and Brazil wunderkind Neymar (see goal below). Neymar didn’t get into the World XI this time but surely his time will come whilst this year nine out of the eleven players came from either FC Barcelona or Real Madrid. Finally the FIFA Fair Play award went to the country of Japan which having started off the year in tragic circumstances following two natural disasters in the form of an earthquake and subsequent flooding, the country paraded itself on the world stage in the eyes of football fans everywhere with the men’s team winning the 2011 AFC Asian Cup whilst the women’s team became 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup champions from which Homare Sawa stood out to win the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award.
FIFPro WORLD XI 2011
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) – Daniel Alves, Gerard Pique (both FC Barcelona), Nemaja Vidic (Manchester United), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) – Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Lionel Messi (all FC Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid) – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
NEYMAR’S GOAL OF THE YEAR 2011
Today heralds the official second birthday of Stoppage Time – International Football Blog and I am pleased to say that the number of visits to the blog has increased significantly over the last twelve months and I hope that the numbers will rise once again in 2012.
The first year of the blog, going from December 2009-November 2010 saw a decent number of 37,533 visits in its fledgling days. Since December 2010-November 2011 Stoppage Time had a more impressive 53,238 visits, an increase of 15,705 in comparison to its first year. Although these figures may not be as great as many more professional websites I am eternally grateful to all who have taken the time to visit this blog over the last couple of years, whether it may be just one sole visit or whether you’re a regular reader, I would like to express my gratitude to all who have made this blog what it is. After all, as a writer trying to convey a broader context of the game to those who otherwise would not show much interest in the game of football beyond their home shores I am still learning the art of writing but feel that the numbers shown have justified my reasons for getting involved in the Blogosphere in the first place.
I would also like to thank websites such as Soccer Blogs, The Guardian and BBC Sport for providing me with some much needed advertising over the last year or more. Special thanks goes to the BBC’s South American football correspondent Tim Vickery, who once included a link to my blog on one of his consistently fine articles regarding the Brazilian game, which provided my blog with its best ever single day’s figures over the last twelve months. Special thanks also goes to those contributors who have written to me regarding any of my work and whose input I value immensely. Without feedback from readers I would not be able to provide more of what readers would like to see on the blog.
Once again many thanks to all of you and here’s to another great twelve months of football.
An exciting new concept in youth football begins on Wednesday as the NextGen Series, billed as an Under-19 equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, begins its maiden season. Sixteen clubs from Europe have entered a team into the inaugural competition with England having the highest representation with four teams followed by the Netherlands and Norway who have two each. Eight countries – Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Turkey, Scotland and Switzerland – all have one entrant each in this fledgling tournament which hopes to prove a suitable stepping stone for future generations of promising young players.
The format of the tournament is similar to that of the UEFA Champions League in that there is a group stage followed by knockout rounds. The sixteen teams are split into four groups of four and, just like in the UEFA Champions League, teams from the same country are kept apart in the group stage. Here is the draw for the group phase of the competition:
GROUP 1: FC Barcelona (Spain), Glasgow Celtic (Scotland), Manchester City (England), Olympique de Marseille (France)
GROUP 2: Liverpool FC (England), Molde FK (Norway), Sporting Clube (Portugal), VfL Wolfsburg (Germany)
GROUP 3: Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Aston Villa (England), Fenerbahçe (Turkey), Rosenborg Trondheim (Norway)
GROUP 4: FC Basel (Switzerland), Internazionale (Italy), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Tottenham Hotspur (England)
The group stages take place from August through to November with the knockout rounds due to be played after the new year. The future looks bright for European football and we can only hope that this exciting initiative gets the thumbs up from the football authorities and will encourage many other clubs to take part in the future.
I found this video by accident on You Tube today and was wondering if anybody has any idea in which football match this incident took place. A police dog runs on to the pitch and disrupts play at a football match much to the amusement of the crowd. In a parody of the much chanted “Fergie, Fergie, sign him up!” which Manchester City fans use to remind Sir Alex Ferguson, their arch-nemesis from Old Trafford, about his reluctance to sign Carlos Tevez I think this four-legged superstar has better ball control than some of the Premier League’s over-hyped contingent.
Mexico’s Torneo Clausura has reached the end of the regular season stage with UANL Tigres gaining the first seed ranking going into the knockout rounds. They, along with Pumas UNAM, headed the overall table on 35 points but the Tigres pipped ahead of the Pumas by virtue of a better goal difference (+3).
Tigres ended the regular season on a successful note after defeating Club Atlas 3-0 at home on Saturday night thanks to goals from Héctor Mancilla, Lucas Lobos and Alan Pulido whilst the Pumas faltered in their quest for first seed following their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Club América, for whom Matías Vuoso and Ángel Reyna got on the score sheet. Tigres will face-off against Chivas Guadalajara who, despite losing to Monterrey in their Matchday 17 game, managed to hold out for a play-off spot while Club América’s reward is a play-off tie against Monarcas Morelia who defeated Puebla 2-0 yesterday thanks to a brace from Elías Hernández.
Newly crowned CONCACAF Champions League winners CF Monterrey have the 7th seed in the play-offs and will compete against UNAM Pumas. In the remaining play-off game fourth seeds Atlante CF, 2-1 winners at home to Toluca this weekend, will meet 5th seed Cruz Azul who could only muster a goalless draw this weekend away to Real San Luis. The play-off ties commence this Wednesday, May 4th with the return legs played at the weekend.
2011 CLAUSURA QUARTER-FINALS (Seeds in brackets; second team at home first)
Tigres UANL (1) v Chivas Guadalajara (8)
UNAM Pumas (2) v CF Monterrey (7)
Monarcas Morelia (3) v Club América (6)
CF Atlante (4) v Cruz Azul (5)
The first ever Stoppage Time – International Football Blog football awards have been decided. The site had a vote to decide on four categories and the results are now known:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2010 – Xavi Hernández
The Spain and FC Barcelona midfielder came top of our Player of the Year poll with 45% of the vote and who could deny him such an accolade after a fantastic year in which he won a second consecutive league championship with his club and was influential in his country’s maiden FIFA World Cup triumph in South Africa.
COACH OF THE YEAR 2010 – José Mourinho
The now Real Madrid CF coach ran away with the Coach of the Year award having amassed an amazing 75% of the vote, his only challenger being Spain’s FIFA World Cup winning coach Vicente del Bosque who was a distant second. Mourinho helped Italian giants Internazionale FC win their third European Cup as well as a domestic Serie A and Coppa Italia double.
TEAM OF THE YEAR 2010 – Internazionale FC
The 2009-10 season was a special one in more ways than one for the Nerazzurri whose exploits have earned them the accolade of Team of the Year with a convincing 54% of the vote. The Milanese continued the flow of trophies in the latter half of the year by winning the Italian Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup under recently departed coach Rafael Benitez.
GOAL OF THE YEAR 2010 – Matthew Burrows
This goal has been an internet sensation and, as a result, came out top in our Goal of the Year 2010 category having accumulated a fantastic 56% of the vote. Glentoran player Matthew Burrows is up for the FIFA Ferenc Puskas Award for the best goal of 2010 in January and is a big favourite to come away with the big prize.
Please take a couple of minutes of your time to vote in the Stoppage Time awards in the following categories:
– Player of the Year 2010
– Coach of the Year 2010
– Team of the Year 2010
– Goal of the Year 2010
Scroll a little down the page and cast your vote today. Voting will close on 1st January 2011. VOTE NOW!
This is the second Christmas period that Stoppage Time – International Football Blog has been active and Peter Bein is looking forward to the second year of action. Therefore I decided that I would provide all readers of the website’s address on Facebook and Twitter:
We are also the Twitter website and it is possible for you to join us on this site:
Stoppage Time – International Football Blog wishes everyone a merry christmas and a happy new year. Please vote in our various awards for the year 2010.
Here is Stoppage Time – International Football Blog’s shortlist for Goal of the Year 2010:
ERAN ZAHAVI: A shame that this didn’t prove to be the winning goal for Hapoel Tel Aviv in their UEFA Champions League 2010-11 match against Olympique Lyonnais but a beautiful overhead kick nonetheless.
GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST: An unbelievable strike from the Dutchman as he helped his team reach the FIFA World Cup final with this belter of a goal from long range against Uruguay.
LIONEL MESSI: No Goal of the Year shortlist would be complete without a contribution from the genius that is Lionel Messi. This goal was the first in a 3-0 win over Valencia CF in the 2009-10 La Liga season.
MARK DAVIES: If Brazil or FC Barcelona would’ve scored this goal we’d be talking about it for weeks. Mark Davies finishes a beautiful last minute move to equalize for Bolton Wanderers in their English Premier League game against Blackpool FC.
MATTHEW BURROWS: Glentoran FC’s Matthew Burrows with a goal you have to see to believe as he scores the winning goal against Portadown in a Northern Ireland Premier League match two minutes into stoppage time.
Here is Stoppage Time – International Football Blog’s shortlist for Coach of the Year 2010:
CARLO ANCELOTTI: The Italian ended his first full season in charge of Chelsea FC by bringing the English Premier League and F.A. Cup double to Stamford Bridge, something which even The Special One himself was unable to do. Ends the year in the top four of the Premier League and in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League with the defence of the F.A. Cup due to start in January.
JOSÉ MOURINHO: What more is there to say about The Special One? Mourinho masterminded the treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League with Milanese giants Internazionale FC and maintains his unbeaten record in home matches which has now stretched into its eighth year. Now at Real Madrid where his team lies second in La Liga and progressing well in the Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League. Could another treble be on the cards in 2011?
LOUIS VAN GAAL: The Dutch coach made a slow(ish) start to life with FC Bayern but came good to help his team win the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in his first year in charge. Also got to the final of the UEFA Champions League but came up against a superior Internazionale team. At the end of the calendar year his team lies fifth in the league and has progressed to the last eight of the 2010-11 DFB-Pokal and last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
LAMINE N’DIAYE: The Senegalese coach helped maintain TP Mazembe’s standing as Africa’s best club side coaching them to a second successive CAF African Champions’ League title. TP Mazembe hammered Tunisian side Esperance ST 5-0 in the first leg of the final and secured a draw in the second leg which helped the Congolese side qualify for their second consecutive FIFA Club World Cup tournament. In Abu Dhabi TP Mazembe shocked the world by defeating Brazilians SC Internacional to become the first side from outside Europe and South America to reach a final.
VICENTE DEL BOSQUE: The Spain national coach has helped solidify Spain’s standing as the best team in world football by guiding La Seleccion to their first ever FIFA World Cup triumph, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in July’s final. This helped Spain become only the third nation to hold simultaneously the UEFA European Championship title and the FIFA World Cup following West Germany (EC 1972, WC 1974) and France (WC 1998, EC 2000). Spain also finishes the year top of their qualifying group for UEFA 2012 and the FIFA World Rankings.