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Ballon d’Or: It’s shameful, no credibility – Rothen names player who deserves award

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Former Paris Saint-Germain winger, Jerome Rothen, has stated that Manchester City’s Erling Haaland deserved to be awarded the 2023 Ballon d’Or over Lionel Messi of Inter Miami. Rothen expressed his belief that it was disgraceful for Messi to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or.

Messi was recently announced as the recipient of this year’s Ballon d’Or in France, surpassing Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe for the honor.

During an interview on RMC Sport, Rothen argued that the Ballon d’Or has lost credibility with Messi winning it over Haaland. He stated, “That is shameful. Of course, that is shameful. For me, it was Haaland who should have had it. From August 2022 to June 2023, what are the criteria that lead us to say that Leo Messi is above the others? There is almost no criterion where he comes number 1. If you tell me about the record, he’s inferior to Haaland even though he won the World Cup.”

“Haaland won everything with Manchester City. The guy wins everything and puts in more than 60 goals in the year. When Messi and Ronaldo did it, it was quite normal that they were number one or two. Messi scored about 20 goals for the club last year while the other scored 60. And I am told that this Golden Ball must be given credibility? But there is no longer any credibility.”

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EPL: Arsenal’s co-chairman, Kroenke makes promise to Arteta ahead of title decider

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Arsenal’s co-chairman, Josh Kroenke, has promised that the team will continue to grow stronger, regardless of whether they win the Premier League title on Sunday.

The Gunners are two points behind Manchester City heading into the final fixtures. Mikel Arteta’s squad can only clinch the championship if they defeat Everton and City drop points against West Ham.

In his programme notes for Sunday’s season finale, Kroenke wrote: “While we are undoubtedly proud of the progress we have made, I want to be clear that no one at the club will stand still.

“Regardless of today’s outcome, we are all working behind the scenes to push us forward – always forward.

“There is so much that we want to achieve, both domestically and in Europe, and we are focused on creating exciting new stories and chapters that build on the history of Arsenal Football Club.”

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EPL final day: Arsenal’s need for miracle, stain of Man City’s 115 charges

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And then there were two.

In April, it seemed that Manchester City, Arsenal, or Liverpool could claim the title. However, Jurgen Klopp’s team fell out of contention due to a series of poor results, ensuring the German coach leaves with just one Premier League title after nine years.

It’s a testament to the Reds that they were even in the title conversation, as many expected only City and Arsenal to compete closely this season.

Arsenal, in particular, have performed exceptionally well.

“I think they’ve been excellent,” Clinton McDubus, a top football analyst and podcaster, told DAILY POST. “Many doubted if they could maintain their level from the 22/23 season, but they’ve shown that this team is here to stay and contend year after year. They didn’t collapse in the final stretch like last year and have bounced back from various setbacks. It’s been a very impressive season, perhaps even more so than last year. It looks like they’ve reached a new level.”

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Currently, Mikel Arteta is poised to finish as runner-up to his former boss and mentor, Pep Guardiola, for the second consecutive year. However, many believe Arsenal will win the title within a year or two.

“No. The only certainty is the level they’ve demonstrated so far. They’re genuinely a good side, so expectations will definitely rise, and they will start the season as serious contenders, with all the associated pressure. Anything less will bring scrutiny or be seen as a step back. Manchester City will still be the favorites and the team to beat. Those are the only guarantees. Football is cruel like that. Each season is unique, and past performance doesn’t guarantee moving from 2nd to 1st the next year. That’s football for you. Arsenal will be an interesting team to watch next season, especially if they narrowly miss out on the title again,” McDubus explained.

City’s journey hasn’t been straightforward.

“A comedown was inevitable after a treble and losing Ilkay Gundogan. Without Kevin de Bruyne for much of the season, this has been a very functional Manchester City. There’s been less subtlety and more reliance on physical and athletic dominance to win matches. But winning is a self-sustaining habit, and no team has won as much as Manchester City in the last 5-7 years. They’ve found a way to succeed, even if this isn’t a vintage version of themselves.”

A potential blemish on City’s title win is the 115 charges looming over them.

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“It’s impossible to ignore those charges when evaluating City, although they pertain to the entire project rather than this specific season,” Chukwu added. “The allegations relate to the expenses incurred to establish their dominance. By not cooperating, City are essentially delaying justice as long as possible while continuing to build their legacy. By the time justice arrives, it may not matter as much in the public consciousness. It’s a calculated, albeit unethical, gamble.”

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Finidi not on one-year contract – NFF boss, Gusau

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President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ibrahim Gusau, has refuted reports that Super Eagles head coach, Finidi George, signed a one-year contract. Finidi, who was recently unveiled by the NFF, was rumored to have agreed to a one-year deal with an option for an additional year.

Gusau clarified that Finidi’s contract extends at least until the end of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He emphasized that the coach will remain with the team until then and expressed confusion about the source of the one-year contract information.

Speaking on Soccer Africa, a popular TV show in South Africa, Gusau outlined the targets set for Finidi. The contract includes goals such as qualifying for next year’s Nations Cup, reaching at least the semi-finals of the Nations Cup, and qualifying for the World Cup with a target of reaching the quarter-finals. Gusau affirmed the commitment to achieving these objectives through hard work and determination.

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