Fantasy Premier League: Five Standout Performers of Matchday 23

Fantasy Premier League: Five Standout Performers of Matchday 23

Game Week 23 of the Fantasy English Premier League delivered plenty of thrills and spills. We saw two 7-goal thrillers, Arsenal’s brilliant win over Chelsea, and a crucial win for relegation-threatened Newcastle United. 


Fantasy Premier League managers were spot on with a couple of inclusions, but this Gameweek was largely dominated by wildcards, by players who are often neglected by the managers.

Here are five standout performers from Matchday 23:

Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal – £5.4m – 15 Points

Arsenal welcomed top-four and crosstown rivals, Chelsea, to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening. The Gunners started on the front foot and got rewarded for their bravado after just 14 minutes into the first half. Alexandre Lacazette left a couple of defenders for dead before squeezing the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga, putting Arsenal 1-0 ahead. Six minutes before the half-time whistle, Arsenal’s ever-reliable defender, Koscielny doubled their advantage, heading the ball in from close range. He was impeccable throughout the tie and helped his side to a rare clean sheet.

Looking ahead

Arsenal take on Cardiff in the first match of Gameweek 24. The Gunners are the outright favourites to bag all three points, and FPL managers would be wise to keep Koscielny in their respective squads.

Also Read: Top 5 encounters between the London rivals

Danilo – Manchester City – £5.1m – 15 points

Having seen Liverpool extend their Premier League lead to 7 points, Manchester City just had to come up with a fitting reply. Huddersfield, even away from home, was never supposed to be too big a challenge, and in the end, the reigning champions, once again, lived up to the hype. Danilo, who has barely gotten the chance to feature this season, was fortunately chosen to start the match and promptly rewarded his coach’s faith by hitting the back of the net after just 18 minutes of play. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane added two more goals to wrap up a comfortable outing.

Looking ahead

Manchester City’s next Premier League commitment pits them against Newcastle, away from home. They could end up with yet another clean sheet, which makes Danilo a lucrative choice.

Also Read: Top 5 moments of the weekend

Mohamed Salah – Liverpool – £13.5m – 15 Points

Premier League leaders, Liverpool, were forced to dig deep to bag all three points against Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace. The visitors started brightly at Anfield and wasted no time standing on ceremony. Their efforts finally paid dividends in the 34th minute when Andros Townsend converted from close range. Liverpool’s famed front three were quiet until the goal but sprung back into life in the second-half. Salah converted just minutes after the restart, restoring parity for the Reds. Roberto Firmino added another, a few minutes later, but Liverpool were, once again, pegged back by James Tomkins’ 65th-minute equaliser. Salah and Sadio Mane converted two more chances for the hosts to take the Tie away from Palace, who got a consolation goal through Max Meyer in injury time.

Looking ahead

Liverpool’s next fixture sees them welcome Leicester City to Anfield. Salah is expected to be included in the starting XI and will need to be at his sharpest if the league leaders are to bring the Foxes down.

Diogo Jota – Wolves – £5.9m – 19 Points

The Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder was at his majestic best as his side beat Leicester City 4-3 in a dramatic Saturday afternoon affair. The hosts came into the match trailing Leicester by two points. Desperate for a win, Wolves started the game on the front foot and got themselves ahead through Jota fourth-minute opener. Ryan Bennett doubled their 8 minutes later, handing Wolves a 2-0 half-time lead. Leicester came out all guns blazing in the second half and restored parity by the 51st minute. Jota restored Wolves’ advantage in the 64th minute, but Wes Morgan’s late strike, once again, pegged the hosts back. Finally, three minutes into the stoppage time, Jota popped up to send the home fans into a frenzy. By netting the winner, he became the second Portuguese ever to score a Premier League hat-trick – behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Looking ahead

8th-placed Wolverhampton host 10th-placed West Ham United in their next Premier League commitment. This match, too, is expected to go down to the wire and having Jota in the squad doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

Fabian Schar – Newcastle – £4.6m – 21 Points

Fabian Schar starred with a brace as Newcastle United cruised to a 3-0 home win over relegation rivals, Cardiff City. The win helped Newcastle climb to 16th, a place, and two points, above the drop zone. A brace for a defender is indeed a rare occasion, but the beauty of his opener makes his performance even more special. The right-back picked up the ball around 50 yards from goal. Using a clever change of pace, he evaded Cardiff’s first challenge and instigated a menacing solo run towards goal. With three dumbfounded defenders in front of him, he cut inside, took a calculated touch, before cushioning an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.

Looking ahead

Newcastle host defending champions, Manchester City, in the next round, which almost guarantees a couple of goals. City defenders will also keep a close eye on Schar’s movement, which would directly affect his attacking contribution. He was brilliant on Matchday 23, but probably won’t be that successful next week.

5 of the Best Moments From an Eventful Weekend of European Football

5 of the Best Moments From an Eventful Weekend of European Football

European football was once again at its unpredictable best this weekend. Having enjoyed some really exciting clashes, nail-biting finales, and plenty of great goals over the last two days, it is time for a quick highlight reel.


Here’s a look at five of the best moments from this weekend’s European action:

Outrageous Lacazette

With a rejuvenated Manchester United – courtesy of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer – added into the mix, the Premier League top-four race has been getting hotter by the minute. So, both Chelsea and Arsenal needed something positive out of their clast at the Emirates Stadium.

The hosts started the match on the front foot and got their noses in front after just 14 minutes of play. Last-season signing, Alexandre Lacazette, burst into the Chelsea box, left a couple of defenders for dead before squeezing the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga from an outrageous angle. The Gunners doubled their advantage through Laurent Koscielny’s sublime header only six minutes prior to the half-time whistle.

Also Read: PL Gameweek-23 – As it happened

Suarez’s Controversial Strike

La Liga leaders, Barcelona, were forced to work for their buck when Leganes came to town on Sunday night. The Blaugrana eventually registered a ‘convincing’ 3-1 win, but the outcome could have been a lot different had a second-half decision not gone in their favor.

Martin Braithwaite’s second-half equalizer forced Ernesto Valverde to introduce Lionel Messi. Just a few minutes after his introduction, the Argentinian called Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar into action. Cuellar failed to parry the ball to safety and allowed an on-rushing Suarez to slot in the rebound.

The Uruguayan clattered with the keeper while putting the ball into the back of the net, which all the Leganes players appealed against. VAR, however, did not spot any sort of foul play and allowed the goal to stand.

“I thought it was a goal,” Ernesto Valverde told Movistar, as per  Goal.

“What can I say, everyone sees it from their point of view, but if the referee has given it, it will be a goal. With VAR, the controversy is not over. It’s a clear goal. Suarez does not touch the goalkeeper, they have reviewed it.

Llorente’s Own Goal

Having lost their talisman, Harry Kane, to an ankle injury, last week, Tottenham made the trip to Fulham hoping for a favorable result. The Kane-less era, however, started on the worst possible note when his replacement, Fernando Llorente, bundled the ball into the back of his own net.

Having handed Fulham the advantage, Llorente became desperately to make amends. However, despite his best attempts, he missed two very good opportunities to punish the hosts, capping off an unfortunate afternoon. To every Tottenham fan’s relief, Dele Alli and Harry Winks stepped up to the plate and secured all three points for the London outfit.

Salah’s Dive

Since making his debut for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has emerged as one of the finest goalscorers in the Premier League. After shattering numerous records in his debut season, the player has kept up the intensity in this second season at Anfield, scoring 16 goals in 23 Premier League appearances.

In Saturday’s 4-3 win over Crystal Palace, the Egypt international starred with a superb brace. His performance was worth applauding, but it was his theatrics that stuck out like a sore thumb, In the first half, Salah went to ground inside the area under the slightest of contacts from Mamadou Sakho, hoping to get a spot kick.

Alan Shearer blasted the player for his “embarrassing” dive, saying: “He feels a bit of contact and then realizes it a second or two later, and then goes down, and it is a dive Pretty embarrassing really and not good at all to see that. You can see the Palace players are going absolutely berserk and rightly so. They accuse him of diving and they are right.”

Casemiro’s Stunner

Having endured an embarrassing 1-0 defeat at Leganes in the second leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 clash, Real Madrid needed to get back to winning ways against La Liga rivals, Sevilla, on Saturday. Los Blancos dominated every aspect of play but were failing to convert the chances. Finally, the goal came, and from one of the unlikeliest of sources.

With just 12 minutes left to play, Real Madrid defensive-midfielder, Casemiro, picked the ball a fair way outside the Sevilla box. He took a couple of touches to line himself up for the shot and rifled an unstoppable long-distance effort into the top corner. Luka Modric added the second in injury time to hand Los Blancos a convincing 2-0 win.

Liverpool 2 – 0 Crystal Palace, Match Highlights | Premier League

Liverpool 2 - 0 Crystal Palace, Match Highlights Premier League

A pulsating Liverpool notched up all three points as they pulled off a defensive masterclass to beat the ever threatening Crystal Palace after dominating the majority of the game. In a game where Liverpool didn’t look to be at their attacking best, Virgil Van Dijk and his defence pulled the strings from the back and led the reds home. Record signing Alisson was called into action on numerous occasions but looked safe as the house, commanding his defence along with big Virgil Van Dijk. 

James Milner gave them the lead with a penalty after Mohamed Salah was brought down by Mamadou Sakho in the closing seconds of the first half. Palace had young defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off with 15 minutes left after he brought down Salah when the Egyptian was through on goal. And Sadio Mane wrapped up the points in injury time when he ran from his own half before rounding Wayne Hennessey to score. The Eagles had chances, and Andros Townsend curled an effort on to the bar after a mistake by the otherwise impressive Naby Keita. Liverpool’s new number 8 looks like he has already settled into life at Anfield after a string of impressive performances throughout the preseason and carried it into the start of his Premier League campaign. 

Liverpool are tipped to be title challengers but it was really very unlikely that after a 4 – 0 victory against a hard-working West Ham, they would pull off something similar against a Crystal Palace team that is in good form. But all champion teams dig out the result and Liverpool did exactly the same thing. Mo Salah didn’t look as sharp as he usually does, but the Egyptian was instrumental in all of Liverpool’s best moves. He won a penalty and assisted Mane’s injury-time goal. 

Klopp seemed to be very pleased after the game and rightfully so. This Liverpool team looks like the ablest team to challenge Manchester City this season, but it takes something else to pull it off out on the pitch. Will Klopp and his men be able to do it? Only time will tell, but as of now the Reds are on a roll and will look to carry on that form as the season progresses.

Sadio Mane – Liverpool FC confident of contract extension | Premier League

Sadio Mane - Liverpool FC

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are confident of Sadio Mane committing his long-term future with Liverpool. Liverpool have already secured the services of Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino in recent months and will be hoping Mane will follow suite. Liverpool are in regular dialogue with Mane’s representatives. The 26-year-old forward signed for Liverpool from Southampton in 2016 and has been a real star for the Reds. Klopp believes that Mane will be key for the clubs future and hopes that the optimism around the club will play a key role in obtaining his signature. 

Klopp says that he believes his players especially the likes of Mane, Salah, and Firmino are among the best in the world and could start for any team in the world. He says it’s a really good sign for the club that they want to stay. Liverpool are set to almost double the money Mane is earning currently and reward him a lucrative 5-year contract. Klopp wants to make sure that the core of the team remains the same for a few years so as to deliver trophies.

Klopp has repeatedly said that there will be no more summer signings despite having lined up a move for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir who was touted to have replaced Phil Coutinho. Klopp admits that they don’t have a player with capabilities of Coutinho but believes that Liverpool have coped extremely well without him. He says that after Coutinho’s departure midseason last year, there weren’t many instances where his team had to speak about the Brazilian’s departure and believes that his team has moved on and that a straight replacement for Coutinho didn’t exist anymore. After having made four world-class signings, Sadio Mane’s contract extension will be a great confidence booster to the Reds faithful as Liverpool look to end their trophy drought. 

FIFA World Cup: Saudi Arabia VS Egypt, Match Prediction

Saudi Arabia VS Egypt

Saudi Arabia vs Egypt, Kick-off Time: 7:30 P.M. (IST) 

Saudi Arabia will take Egypt on in their final match in the World Cup on Monday at the Volgograd Arena.

At times you have nothing left to play for but just for the matter of pride and honor. That’s exactly what Egypt and Saudi Arabia are competing against each other for in their upcoming match. Both the teams are winless and have certainly been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup.

They were unable to match the dominant performances delivered by Russia and Uruguay in their group stage. Both these teams will still hope to walk away from the tournament with at least one win as the upcoming match is their last shot.

Saudi Arabia faced a devastating match loss against hosts Russia on the day of opening and a close defeat to Uruguay in the second round. The squad will have to give their best in order to find a way to shut down Premier League star Salah if they hope to pull off a victory.

Mo Salah and the Pharaohs enter their last match after their 1-0 defeat against Uruguay and their 3-1 defeat to the hosts Russia. Salah will be determined to restore his honor by at least getting a win in their last match at Russia.

If either Saudi Arabia or Egypt lose this match, they would be the first team to lose all three matches at the group stage this 2018 tournament, and they will also be the first to lose the same at a World Cup since Honduras in 2014.

Team News

Saudi Arabia: Saudi has failed to horribly to make a mark in the World Cup. They have tried shifting tactics and formation but without any reward. 

Egypt: With no new injury concerns, Mohamed Salah will look to guide his team to their first victory in this World Cup. He is backed by a solid supporting cast that includes Premier league duo Mohamed El Neny and Ahmed Hegazi.

Key Players

Saudi Arabia: Mohammad Al-Sahlawi is Saudi’s best player and was one of the most prolific strikers in their qualifiers. Though he has failed to make a mark in this World Cup, The 31-year old will hope for redemption in their final World Cup match.

Egypt: Mohamed Salah has been the only player to score for Egypt this World Cup. The Liverpool forward is undoubtedly the best player on the Egyptian squad and his country need him to be in top form if they want to bow out of the World Cup with their heads held high.

Form – Last 5

Saudi Arabia: L | LL | L | L

Egypt: L | L | L| L | D

Betting Odds – Sky Bet

Saudi Arabia 18/5

Draw 13/5

Egypt 17/20

Score Prediction

Saudi 1 – 2 Egypt: Both the teams have been in a terrible form which has led them to be shipped out of the World Cup in the group stage. Out of the two, Egypt seems to be the stronger side and will likely win with a close margin.

Where to watch?

TV Channels (India) – Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six – 7:30 P.M IST

In addition, you can live stream all the Matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup from 14th June to 15th July only on the Official SonyLIV App and the SonyLIV Website

The 10 Most Valuable Footballers in the World

Harry Kane Neymar Kylian Mbappe

According to the exclusive CIES Football Observatory algorithm, Harry Kane has become the world most expensive player from the perspective of his transfer values. After his another outstanding season, the attacker from Egland is now worth €201.2 million. Tottenham’s striker is even above of two Paris St-Germain’s players: Neymar (€197.5 m) and Kylian Mbappé (€186.5 m). The top 100 list for big-5 league footballers is available in issue number 230 of the Weekly Post.

“Since 2013, the CIES Football Observatory has developed a powerful econometric approach to estimate the transfer value of professional footballers on a scientific basis. The values presented refer to the fee corresponding to the type of team most likely to be interested in recruiting the player. The specific price per engaging club is available on a consultancy basis.” – CIES Team

The 10 most valuable players in the world today (according to CIES Football OVservatory) are:

10. Romelu Lukaku – €163.4m (Manchester United/Belgium)

One of the best strikers in the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku is a strong target-man for both Manchester United and Belgium. He added 30 goals last season which took his total tally to 117 goals. The 25-year old holds a value of  €163.4 million.

9. Paulo Dybala – €164.2m (Juventus/Argentina)

Paulo Dybala, the Argentinean prodigy had yet another prolific season as he finished the season as the clubs top scorer with 22 goals and provided 5 assists. At the age of 24, Dybala has scored 74 goals and made 31 assists since joining Palermo in 2012. The forward has been one of the best young players in world football and has a value of €164.2 million.

8. Antoine Griezmann – €164.5m (Atletico/France)

The Player of the tournament of EURO 2016, Antoine Griezmann ended his season with 29 goals in all competitions as he helped Atletico lift the Europa League trophy and the 2nd place in the La Liga table. With most of the forwards not being guaranteed a spot in the frontline of France, Griezmann is one of the players who is assured to start for Les Bleus. The 27-year old Frenchman has played 350 club matches scoring 148 goals and producing 43 assists in his career.  He holds a value of €164.5 million.

7. Kevin De Bruyne – €167.2m (Manchester City/Belgium)

The best player in City’s 100-point campaign last season was none other than Premier League Play-maker of the Year, Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian superstar featured in 37 games scoring 8 goals and holding a league-high record of 16 assists and was the key to City’s successful campaign this season. The 26-year old midfielder has 55 goals and 94 assists to his name in a total of 237 club matches. He is currently valued at €167.2 million.

6. Dele Alli – €171m (Tottenham Hotspur/England)

The 22-year old midfielder, Dele Alli is the 2nd youngest footballer in the top 10. He scored 14 goals and assisted 14 in all competitions this season added to his total tally of 40 goals and 33 assists in his 132 senior appearances for club and country. He is also one of the hottest prospects in world football with a value of  €171 million.

5. Mohamed Salah –  €171.3m (Liverpool/Egypt)

PFA Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah has finished this season as one of Premier League’s greatest ever as set a new record of League’s highest goals scored in a season, 32 and made 10 assists as well. With 87 goals and 40 assists in his 186 club matches, the 25-year old looks set to have a massively prolific career ahead. Egypt’s talisman who scored 71% of the team’s goals in Russia 2018 qualifying rounds is none other than Mohamed Salah, who now holds a value of  €171.3 million.

4. Lionel Messi – €184.2m (Barcelona/Argentina)

The current holder of the Golden Ball (2014 Brazil) and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi had an immensely prolific season finishing ahead of Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo as Europe’s top scorer. The fact that he performs like this every year is the reason that the fans are not going crazy about his 45 goals in 54 games.  With 416 goals and 146 assists to his name, in just 413 professional matches, Messi (30) holds a value of  €184.2 million to his name.

3. Kylian Mbappe – €186.5m (PSG/France)

The 19-year old has made 86 senior appearances and scored 39 goals and made 21 assists and is the youngest player in the top 10. Mbappe has been in sensational form this season with PSG scoring 23 goals and making 11 assists. The young Frenchman is set to be one of the key players in the French World Cup squad. He is valued at €186.5 million.

2. Neymar – €195m (PSG/Brazil)

Neymar, a FIFA Confederations Cup winner and Olympic gold medallist, is set to make his appearance at a World Cup for the second time. This Paris Saint-Germain forward also won the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup title with former club Barcelona. In 20 matches, scored 19 goals(3rd highest) and provided 13 assists(highest), 2.1 shots on target/match(highest), 7.1 dribbles/match (highest) and was awarded the Ligue 1’s Best Player award. Who knows what he could have done had he not been injured for the latter half of the season. At the age of 26, Neymar has appeared in 203 matches, scoring 123 goals and making 73 assists and holds a value of €195 million.

1. Harry Kane – €201.2m (Tottenham Hotspur/England)

Newly appointed England Captain and the hero of all the Spurs fans around the world, Harry Kane has played his most prolific season yet scoring 30 goals in 37 games. The 24-year old still has the whole world at his feet and is undoubtedly regarded as one of the world’s best. With 124 goals scored in 191 matches, Kane has now firmly established as one of the world’s leading strikers through his performance at his club and his country. He is the most expensive player in the world with a value of €201.2 million.

Ballon d’Or 2018: Who’s leading the race?

Ronaldo Messi Salah Neymar Griezmann

One of the most anticipated events in world football every year, the Ballon d’Or ceremony. Every year in December the world eagerly waits for the king of football to be crowned. Let’s take a look at few of the candidates who might be crowned next. Will it be another Ronaldo-Messi duopoly? Or will there be a new king?

5. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico/France)

The French superstar had a very productive season with Atletico as he helped the Los Rojiblancos win the Europa League trophy and guided them to the 2nd position in the La Liga. Griezmann registered a total of 29 goals and 13 assists in all competitions for his club this season.

Looking at his personal achievements for the club, Griezmann doesn’t boast as much as the other contenders on this list. But the upcoming World Cup is going to be a major factor which decides who takes the Ballon d’Or this year and with France looking like a major candidate to lift the cup this year. With most of the forwards not being guaranteed a spot in the frontline of France, Griezmann is one of the players who is assured to start for Les Bleus.

4. Neymar Jr. (PSG/Brazil)

With 27 goals and 16 assists in just 28 matches in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain this season, Neymar had another prolific season, this time with a new club. His tally would most certainly have been better if it were not for his unfortunate injury which ended his season early, yet he managed to receive the Ligue 1 Player of the season award as PSG went on to win a domestic treble which included the Ligue 1, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue.

Brazil is another team which could win the World Cup this year, and if that turns out to be the case, Neymar will surely jump up this list.

3. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah broke numerous records this season as he scored 44 goals and assisted 14 for Liverpool. The 25-year old also earned numerous accolades such s PFA Player of the year, FWA Footballer of the year, CAF African Footballer of the year and he was named in both PFA and UEFA Team of the season. Even though Salah ended the season without a single trophy, he has been nothing but sensational this season.

Salah also scored the last-minute penalty which took Egypt to the World Cup, where he will look to guide them to a strong campaign.

2. Lionel Messi

Another year where Lionel Messi is a favorite to win the Ballon d’Or. The current holder of the Golden Ball (2014 Brazil) and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi had an immensely prolific season finishing ahead of Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo as Europe’s top scorer. The fact that he performs like this every year is the reason that the fans are not going crazy about his 45 goals in 54 games for Barcelona. He finished the season with the domestic double winning the La Liga and the Copa Del Rey.

Messi must guide Argentina one step further than the previous World Cup in order to stake his claim to the Ballon d’Or this year.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

After a slow start to the season, Ronaldo ended the campaign with an astonishing 44 goals from 44 games, level with Mohammed Salah and just one behind Lionel Messi, who had played more games. The talismanic forward inspired Madrid to their 3rd consecutive Champions League.

Even with the EURO 2016 trophy in their hands, the Portugal team is suffering from a severe lack of quality, compared to other European heavyweights. Hence, if Ronaldo manages a strong campaign in the World Cup for Portugal, he would undoubtedly leave his competitors behind.

UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season 2017/18: Who has made the list?

UEFA Squad Of The Season

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) have named their Champions League squad of the season. Real Madrid have seven players while Liverpool, have three while semi-finalists Bayern and Roma have two players each. The squad is, like always, brimming with quality players. As is tradition, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have made the cut; here’s the list of the players who made the 18-man list.

Goalkeepers

Keylor Navas (Real Madrid)

Keylor Navas was in the Champions League’s winning side as he made 29 saves and helped Real Madrid to their third Champions League trophy in a row. Continue reading “UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season 2017/18: Who has made the list?”

FIFA World Cup 2018: The most important player from each of the 32 teams

Russia-World-Cup-Logo
With the FIFA World Cup only 2 weeks away, let’s take a look at the best players from every team that is competing in the tournament.
Argentina – Lionel Messi
Often considered as the best footballer in history(debatable), Messi has been voted FIFA’s player of the year on five separate occasions. Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer and captain will be making his fourth World Cup appearance at Russia 2018.
Australia – Tim Cahill
The evergreen Australian forward is seemingly getting better with age, having scored 11 goals on the road to the World Cup 2018, including a number of his signature headers. Scorer of one of the most spectacular goals of Brazil 2014, Cahill could be one of the few players to score at four World Cups.
Belgium – Eden Hazard 
Pacy, skillful and a master of both creating and scoring goals, Hazard is one of the most exciting attackers in world football. The Chelsea star served up 6 goals and 5 assists during Belgium’s impressive qualifying campaign.
Brazil – Neymar
Neymar, a FIFA Confederations Cup winner and Olympic gold medallist, is set to make his appearance at a World Cup for the second time. This Paris Saint-Germain forward also won the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup title with former club Barcelona.
Colombia – James Rodriguez
Rodriguez, the Golden Boot winner at the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014  is set to provide more goals for Colombia at Russia 2018. Currently, on loan at Bayern Munich, the Cafeteros midfielder won two FIFA Club World Cup titles with Real Madrid.
Costa Rica – Bryan Ruiz
In Costa Rica’s run to the quarter-finals at the  FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, a midfielder who can also play as a second striker, Ruiz emerged as a key player o the country. Scoring 3 goals in qualifying for Russia 2018, the Ticos captain is all set to perform even better this time.
Croatia – Luka Modric
One of the best midfielders ever“, Andriy Shevchenko described Modric. Modric is certainly among the world’s finest midfielders right now. Croatia will be relying on this FIFA/FIFPro World XI member and three-time UEFA Champions League winner to perform his best at Russia 2018.
Denmark – Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen is Denmark’s playoff hero who was in an inspiring form throughout his team’s qualifying campaign. He scored 11 goals in Europe’s Russia 2018 preliminaries. which was surpassed only by Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo hence showing that he could be the one to pull the team to a good position. 
Egypt – Mohamed Salah
Egypt’s talisman who scored 71% of the team’s goals in Russia 2018 qualifying rounds is none other than Mohamed Salah. This speedy Liverpool star is undoubtedly very keen on playing equally well for his country as well as he scored in every one of their third-round victories.
England – Harry Kane
Kane is now firmly established as one of the world’s leading strikers through his performance at his club and his country. The prolific Tottenham Hotspur star scored 5 times in six appearances for England during Russia 2018 qualifying rounds. Lauded as a “complete player” by Zinedine Zidane, this striker could lead the country to a great position.
France – Antoine Griezmann
Top scorer and player of the tournament at UEFA EURO 2016, Griezmann will be out to make his mark on another major competition. France forward provided 4 goals and 4 assists for Les Bleus in the Russia 2018 qualifiers.
Germany – Toni Kroos
Kroos has won the UEFA Champions League with both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Kroos was also a key component in the team that secured Germany’s fourth world title in 2014 showing that he is one of the finest midfielders of his generation. 
Iceland – Gylfi Sigurdsson
Iceland’s footballer of the year for the last five years running, Sigurdsson is a talismanic midfield playmaker for his country. Sigurdsson netted 4 goals and as many assists in the team’s Russia 2018 qualifying campaign.
Iran – Sardar Azmoun
Attacker Sardar Azmoun has enjoyed prolific form for his country since bursting on to the scene at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and has been expected as an heir to the Iran goalscoring icon Ali Daei. The prolific forward Azmoun plays for Russian side Rubin Kazan.
Japan – Maya Yoshida
Yoshida, a cultured and stylish centre-back, has been one of the key figures in Japan’s team over two FIFA World Cup campaigns. The Southampton-based Yoshida is a handy asset at set-pieces as he was the Captain of Japan’s 2012 Olympic Games team and has also shared a fair amount of goals for his country. 
Korea Republic – Ki Sung-Yueng
Korea Republic captain Ki has arguably become the nation’s most recognizable footballer. A technically gifted midfielder is blessed in all aspects of the game and is now heading for his third FIFA World Cup. The Swansea City player has now spent six seasons in the English Premier League.
Mexico – Javier Hernandez
Nicknamed Chicharito’, the attacker Hernandez won the FIFA Club World Cup title with Real Madrid in 2014. Hernandez appeared at South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, scoring 3 times during those two global finals and established himself as Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Nigeria – Jon Obi Mikel
Nigeria’s captain Mikel’s experience, strength, and composure will be vital to the Super Eagles in Russia. A UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea, Mikel remains the country’s key man in central midfield.
Panama – Blas Perez
With over a 100 appearances for Panama, Perez offers valuable experience to the Central American side of the world cup qualifiers. Scoring 11 goals over that period, the attacker has appeared in four World Cup qualifying campaigns.
Peru – Jefferson Farfan
The experienced 33-year-old forward contributed vital goals, most notably in the win over Paraguay and the playoff victory over New Zealand proving himself to be an important asset to the Peruvian team during Russia 2018 qualifying. Farfan is now looking forward to his first World Cup.
Poland – Robert Lewandowski
The Polish captain, Lewandowski was the top scorer in Europe’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers with 16 goals in 10 appearances. Lewandowski is regarded as “the best striker in the world” by coach Adam Nawalka,  as he became his country’s all-time leading scorer during the preliminary campaign.
Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers in the history. Being named The Best FIFA Men’s Player for the last two years running, he is the all-time leading scorer for both Portugal and Real Madrid. Everyone is eyeing this man for his next wonder at Russia 2018.
Russia – Igor Akinfeev
Akinfeev has over 100 appearances for his country. He is also the national team’s captain and will be an influential figure as they attempt to impress on home soil. A six-time Russian title winner is ready to lead the home country to greater glory. 
Saudi Arabia – Mohammad Al-Sahlawi
Saudi Arabia’s dynamic forward enjoyed the rare distinction of finishing joint-top goalscorer alongside Poland’s Lewandowski. Fast feet and a rare turn of pace make Al-Sahlawi a genuine star in Saudi football, following his breakthrough campaign for Russia 2018.
Senegal – Sadio Mane
Being one of the leading players in the continent, Mane‘s strength, speed, and skill make him a major asset to his country  Senegal.  He became the most expensive African player in history when he moved to Liverpool for £34 million in 2016 and this forward is out to play great for his country as well. 
Serbia – Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic recently reached a century of matches for his national team Serbia. Having won the UEFA Champions League and three English Premier League titles with his old club, Chelsea, he now plays his club football in Russia for Zenit St Petersburg. Serbia’s captain since 2012,  he is a key player for his country.
Spain – Sergio Ramos
Nearing Iker Casillas’ all-time record of 167 caps, Ramos is Spain’s second-most capped player. The captain of La Roja, Ramos was a key player in the teams that won two European Championships and one World Cup. This Real Madrid player is all set to show his skill sets that made him win 4 UEFA Champions League title. Even though he is criticized for a rather rough style of play, the 32-year old defender is undoubtedly an impact player.
Sweden – Marcus Berg
Berg has provided power, panache and plenty of goals for  Sweden. Thriving in the spotlight following the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, The Al Ain striker scored eight times during the Russia 2018 qualifiers.
Switzerland – Granit Xhaka
Xhaka is a key man representing the country. Switzerland’s player of the year for 2017 and the Arsenal midfielder impressed the world at Brazil 2014. He is now out to make his mark on another World Cup in Russia. 
Tunisia – Wabhi Khazri
The attacking midfielder has enjoyed the best season of his career so far during 2017/18 with French Ligue 1 side Rennes and was a key factor in Tunisia’s return to the world stage. His most notable contributions during FIFA World Cup qualifying saw Khazri score an important goal against Mauritania in Round 2, as well as the winner against Libya in November 2016.
Uruguay – Luis Suarez
A prolific striker for club and country, Suarez is Uruguay’s all-time leading goalscorer. A European and world champion with Barcelona, the forward has scored five times at the FIFA World Cup, having starred at South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.

Cristiano Ronaldo & UEFA Champions League, a better love story than Twilight!

Ronaldo FIFA

Cristiano Ronaldo added a fifth Champions League trophy to his name after Real beat Liverpool 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League final yesterday becoming the first player to do so. The previous season Cristiano joined Andrés Iniesta and Clarence Seedorf in becoming the third player to win the UEFA Champions League four times since the inception of the competition in 1992/93. Now Portuguese International has five UEFA Champions League winners’ medals, winning his first one with Manchester United in 2008.

Records

Club/individual

  • Most UEFA club competition goals: 123
  • Most UEFA Champions League goals: 120
  • Most goals in a UEFA Champions League season: 17 (2013/14)
  • Most UEFA Champions League final wins: 5
  • Only player to score in three UEFA Champions League finals
  • Only player to score in all six games in a UEFA Champions League group
  • Only player to score in 11 straight UEFA Champions League games
  • Only player to score 10 goals against a single club in the UEFA Champions League (Juventus)
  • Most Real Madrid goals: 450
  • Most ESM Golden Shoe awards: 4 (joint with Lionel Messi)
  • Most UEFA Club Footballer/Best Player/Men’s Player awards: 4
  • Most Ballon d’Or awards: 5 (joint with Lionel Messi)
  • Most FIFA best player awards: 5 (joint with Lionel Messi)
  • Most appearances in UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year: 12 (2004, 2007–2017)

The talisman helped his club to lift the trophy a record three years in a row and in four of the last five seasons. With his fifth title, Cristiano now holds a bizarre record of winning the cup more than the whole Barcelona team (4)

UEFA Champions League wins by club

Real Madrid – 7
Cristiano Ronaldo – 5
Barcelona – 4
AC Milan – 3 
Bayern München – 2
Manchester United – 2 
Juventus – 1
Ajax – 1 
Borussia Dortmund – 1
Chelsea – 1 
Liverpool – 1
Internazionale Milano – 1
Porto – 1 
Marseille – 1

When someone speaks about the Champions League, the first name that springs to mind is Cristiano Ronaldo. No other player comes close to the world’s best player (debatable) when talking about goals in the most prestigious club competition in Europe. In fact, the Real Madrid forward is the all-time top scorer in the tournament with 120 goals ahead of some of the players who are considered to be the best the world has ever seen including Lionel Messi, Raúl González, Karim Benzema, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Thierry Henry and numerous others. 

 
This legacy has been built up over Ronaldo’s last six seasons. In 2012/13 he finished as top scorer with 12 goals and in 13/14 he bagged 17, the biggest return ever. The following year he scored 10, sharing the top-scorer award with Messi and Neymar. In the next two campaigns, he was again top scorer with 16 and 12 goals respectively. In this current season, the Real Madrid forward has netted 15 goals.

Top UEFA Champions League scorers (excluding qualifying)

120: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid)
100: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
71: Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke)
56: Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid)
56: Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid)
50: Thierry Henry (Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona)
48: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale Milano, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United)
48: Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea)
46: Filippo Inzaghi (Juventus, AC Milan)
45: Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund, Bayern)

This Season

The Real Madrid striker has finished top of the UEFA Champions League scoring charts for the sixth successive season, ending the campaign with 15 goals to his name, 5 more than Salah, 9 more than Messi and 10 more than Lewandowski. Ronaldo has now top-scored in the competition a record 7 times. His final tally this term is two short of his record of 17 goals in a single season.

Although it can be argued whether he made a major contribution in the final or not, it is certain that the 33-year old forward gave his best to get Real Madrid to the final stage. From carrying the team through the qualifying and knockout stages to the unbelievable overhead kick in the against Juventus and scoring the 98th-minute penalty to push Real through to the Semi-finals, Ronaldo deserves to be acclaimed for his performances, more than anyone in the Real Madrid side this season.

The 5 time Ballon d’Or winner has written his name in the history books once again. When it comes to the UEFA Champions League, Cristiano’s legacy is unquestionably exceptional which makes us think if there will ever be a greater player than him in the future of the competition, because there is certainly none in its history.