Ballon d’Or and Real Madrid, a gleeful ‘love story’

Ballon d’Or and Real Madrid, a gleeful ‘love story’

On Monday, Luka Modric became the latest Real Madrid player to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award. The Croatian midfielder pipped his former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo to the award as he continued the club’s domination of Ballon d’Or arena. Modric became the 10th Los Blancos player in history to lay his hands on the coveted prize.


Real Madrid does have a special relationship with the Ballon d’Or trophy. In fact, with Modric, there are already eight players who have the trophy they have played at the Bernabeu during the 21st century. Alfredo Di Stefano was the pioneer. The striker, who had a legendary period of success, winning the first five European Cups, received the Ballon d’Or in 1957 and 1959. He is also the only player to have been presented with the Super Ballon d’Or for the best player in European football history (1989). Kopa, who shared a dressing room with Di Stefano, took the trophy in 1958 to stamp the Madridsta authority over the award.

Figo, Zidane, and Ronaldo

Luis Figo won the award in 2000, as he closely followed Zinedine Zidane, who had won the prize in 98. The Brazilian Ronaldo, who won the first in 1997 repeated the feat in 2002. Though David Beckham, never won the prize, Michael Owen, who came to Madrid in 2004, three years after lifting it when he was the star of Liverpool. The small English striker, who did not leave a great memory in Santiago Bernabeu, became the fourth Madridista of the century to lift the prize.

 

Cannavaro, Kaka and the advent of Cristiano Ronaldo

In 2006 Real president Florentino Perez signed Fabio Cannavaro after his star show at the World Cup in Germany. As happened with Figo or Ronaldo, the year ended with the award for the Italian. His successor in the Madrid club, Kaka, came to the Bernabeu two years after being named the best in the world in the ranks of Milan. Cristiano Ronaldo also knew what it was like to pick up the Golden ball award in 2008, but his signing for the Whites gave him four more Balls and as many Champions League. Ten major accolades, for which he has gone down in history before leaving by the back door to Juventus last summer.

 

Luka Modric, the new ‘best’

With Luka Modric, Real touched the eighth player of the 21st century. His case is special because he has been for more than five years in this Madrid side. Four Champions League, some wonderful displays in La Liga and the key figure for Croatia in the World Cup, Luka is perhaps the most genuine winner of those who have played for Real. He arrived without being a big star and at 33 he becomes another reason for pride for Florentino Perez and the Los Blancos who always had a weakness for this trophy. To get an idea of the significance of Madrid in this award during this century, it should be remembered that only four players have won in the last two decades without going through the Bernabeu’s local dressing room. Nedved, Shevchenko and the Barca players Ronaldinho and Messi.

PSG 6 – 1 Red Star Belgrade | UEFA Champions League Highlights

PSG 6 - 1 Red Star Belgrade | UEFA Champions League Highlights

Neymar scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Red Star Belgrade 6 – 1 in the Group C of the UEFA Champions League.

Neymar scored his second UEFA Champions League hat-trick as PSG comfortably sailed past Red Star Belgrade at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. This was a perfect response by Les Parisiens, who lost to Liverpool in their UCL opener two weeks ago.

Neymar scored the opener in the 20th minute through a brilliantly curled free kick from 20 yards. Barely two minutes later Mbappe collected Neymar’s through ball before squaring a low pass that was jostled high into the net by the Brazilian, who got his second of the game.

Edison Cavani was the scorer of the third PSG goal with his strike deflecting off Milos Degenek and into the net in the 37th minute. Just a few minutes later Angel Di Maria flicked the ball into the net from a cross by Thomas Meunier for his 56th goal, prompting him into the top 10 all-time scorers for Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, who was poor in front of goal the whole game, finally got on the scoresheet in the 70th minute. The young Frenchman tapped in Juan Bernat‘s excellent cross from the six-yard box, marking his 50th appearance with Paris Saint-Germain with a goal.

Red Star’s Marko Marin scored a consolation goal for the visitors, which the away fans celebrated vigorously in the 74th minute.

With another beautiful free-kick, Neymar sealed his hat-trick in the 81st minute with a strike flying straight into the top right corner from 25 yards. The Brazillian was absolutely unplayable as he played deeper than his usual wing forward position, making the free-roaming number 10 role in the PSG lineup his own.

The final goal was Neymar’s 10th of the season in all competitions and also his 30th all-time in the Champions League, making him only the 5th South American player to touch that mark, drawing him level with Brazilian legend Kaka. His previous Champions League hat-trick was in December 2013, when he scored three wonderful goals while playing for Barcelona against Celtic

Paris Saint-Germain take on rivals Olympique Lyonnais on Monday, 8th October and Amiens SC on the 20th of October in Ligue 1 before ultimately hosting Napoli on 24th October for their third UEFA Champions League Group C game. 

Red Star Belgrade have four more domestic matches before they travel to Anfield on the 25th of October to take on Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.