Alejandro Pozuelo Named Major League Soccer’s 2020 Most Valuable Player

Alejandro Pozuelo is the most-est…

The 29-year-old Spanish professional footballer, an attacking midfielder for Toronto FC, has been named Major League Soccer‘s 2020 Most Valuable Player.

Alejandro Pozuelo

Pozuelo had nine goals and 10 assists during the coronavirus-shortened regular season, even while the Reds played part of the year in Connecticut because of travel restrictions in Canada.

“I’m very proud because this means a lot and maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, when I start seeing more news, I will believe that I’ve won this award,” he said. “But I’m very proud to represent Toronto. And I know it’s easy to say that I won the award, but it’s something that takes a lot of work to get here.”

His 10 assists were tied for the league lead with Houston‘s Darwin Quintero and Seattle‘s Nicolas Lodeiro. Pozuelo had four goals and two assists during September, earning MLS Player of the Month honors.

Pozuelo is the second Toronto FC player to win the MVP award, following Sebastian Giovinco in 2015. Hailing from Sevilla, he has been with the Reds for the past two seasons. He had 12 goals and 12 assists last year. He had two goals and an assist in his MLS debut.

Pozuelo finished with 35.35% of the overall vote for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award. Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi of LAFC was runner-up and Lodeiro finished third in the poll of players, technical staffs and select members of the media.

In a conference call with reporters, Pozuelo said he feels he’ll only get better.

“I believe in myself, I know I can play good, and I try to do that,” he said. “But I feel like I played three, four, five years at a very good level and next year I’ll try to do the same.”

Toronto finished the regular season 13-5-5 and second in the Eastern Conference standings. The Reds were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by upstart Nashville. Toronto coach Greg Vanney announced last week that he’s stepping down and the Reds have started the search for a new coach.

“Vanney is a very good coach and a very good person and he helped me a lot to win this MVP. I want to say thank you to the coach,” he said. “He leaves now, and next year we’ll adapt to another coach. But I want to say thank you because with him I won this trophy.”

Diego Rossi Wins MLS is Back Tournament’s Golden Boot Award

It’s Diego Rossi’s golden moment…

The 22-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer and Los Angeles FC forward has won the MLS is Back Tournament’s Golden Boot award.

Diego Rossi

Rossi scored seven goals in five tournament matches to earn the trophy.

The highlight of Rossi’s tournament performance came on Saturday, July 18 in LAFC’s 6-2 victory over El Tráfico rival LA Galaxy when he scored four times, becoming the 13th player in MLS history to achieve the feat.

Rossi’s five combined goals and assists in that match tied the all-time league record, becoming the first player to accomplish this twice in his MLS career.

He also scored a goal in LAFC’s opening 3-3 draw against the Houston Dynamo on July 13 and scored a brace in the club’s 4-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC on July 27 in the knockout round.

By winning the Golden Boot, Rossi has earned $10,000 for the LAFC Academy through the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program, a multi-year initiative launched by Audi and dedicated to expanding the breadth of academy resources through contributions toward player education, housing and transportation.

Of Rossi’s seven goals, five came in the tournament’s group stage and count toward the regular season. The Uruguayan leads the league in the race for the 2020 MLS Golden Boot with six regular season goals entering return to play in home markets.

LAFC’s Diego Rossi Scores Two Goals Against Seattle Sounders to Extend Goal Lead in ‘MLS is Back Tournament’

Diego Rossi has extended his lead…

The 22-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer scored his competition-leading sixth and seventh goals of the MLS is Back Tournament, as he led his Los Angeles FC team to a 4-1 win overthe Seattle Sounders on Monday night in the round of 16 near Orlando.

Diego Rossi

Latif Blessing added a goal before halftime for LAFC, which avenged a 3-1 loss to Seattle in last year’s Western Conference final. 

Los Angeles’ Brian Rodriguez added his second goal of the tournament to seal the team’s meeting with Orlando City in a quarterfinal on Friday. 

Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips left the game at halftime for Los Angeles due to an apparent injury.

Will Bruin scored his first goal in more than 15 months for the Sounders, who were perhaps fortunate not to lose by more on a night they were outshot 25-11 overall and 8-4 in efforts on target.

With reigning MLS MVP Carlos Vela opting out of the tournament for LAFC, Rossi has picked up the slack to move two goals in front of Toronto FC‘s Ayo Akinola in the tournament Golden Boot race, with TFC already eliminated.

Rossi put LAFC in front from the penalty spot in the 14th minute. Rossi won the opportunity by inducing Xavier Arreaga into a clumsy challenge, and he finished past Stefan Frei‘s dive with a shot inside the right post.

In the 82nd minute, Rossi capitalized on another error from Arreaga error to score a second goal before Rodriguez added his insurance tally in the 89th minute.

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Josef Martinez Makes MLS History with His ‘Golden Trifecta’ 

Josef Martinez has etched his name into the annals of soccer history…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional footballer, a striker for the Major League Soccer club Atlanta United, has become the first player in MLS history to be named the MVP of the All-Star Game, season and MLS Cup.

Josef Martinez

Martinez capped the Golden Trifecta by being named the MVP of Saturday’s title game, a 2-0 win over Portland at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez scored the opening goal and added an assist on Franco Escobar’s capping goal.

Martinez is the third player in MLS Cup history to score a goal and add an assist in the same final. He is the second player in MLS Cup history to score a goal in the final in the same year as winning the Golden Boot.

Martinez was named the league MVP after setting an MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals during the regular season.  He added four more in the playoffs to set a league record for goals in a season.

He was named MVP of the All-Star game after scoring a goal against Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I am most happy with the (MLS) Cup,” he said. “I think this team has had an incredible year, and I think we just have to appreciate the work of everyone this season, the players and coaching staff, because even though we had some ups and downs as a team, everyone on this team contributed something and made sacrifices. This is a win that we want to celebrate because it has been a long year and thank God also.”

Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history, United captured the crown in just its second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak. Owner Arthur Blank got to lift the trophy — less than two years after his other team, the NFL‘s Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse.

Suárez Among Contendors For This Year’s UEFA Best Player in Europe Award

Luis Suárez is getting a second chance to take down his teammate…

The 29-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer, a striker for Futbol Club Barcelona, has made it to the shortlist for Union of European Football AssociationsBest Player in Europe Award.

Luis Suárez

Suárez, the winner of Europe’s Golden Boot after his 40-goal season in La Liga, finished in second place for the coveted UEFA award last year, losing to fellow teammate Lionel Messi.

This year, Suárez was also Barça‘s top scorer in the Champions League, even though the teamcouldn’t get past the quarterfinals, losing to the eventual runner-up, Atlético Madrid.

Messi, the only player in history to have won the award twice, first in 2011 and then in 2015, is up for the award again this year.

But Suárez and Messi aren’t the only Latino players to make the 10-man list.

Real Madrid’s Pepe has made the cut for the second the year in a row. The 33-year-old Brazilian soccer star, a defender for Portugal, is included after a season in which he won the Champions League with Los Blancos before winning Euro 2016 with Portugal.

In addition to Suárez, Messi and Pepe, the shortlist is compiled using votes from journalists across UEFA‘s 55 member associations and includes Gareth Bale, Gianluigi Buffon, Antoine Griezmann, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Cristian Ronaldo.

The winner will be announced at the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on August 25.

Rodriguez Named People en Español’s El Hombre Más Sexy of 2014

His impressive performance at this year’s World Cup earned James Rodriguez international acclaim… But it’s his handsome looks that have turned him into a sex symbol.

The 23-year-old Colombian soccer star, who earned the Golden Boot at this year’s World Cup for being the tournament’s top scorer, has been declared as 2014’s El Hombre Más Sexy by People en Español.

James Rodriguez People en Espanol

Rodriguez appears on the cover of the TBD issue of the Spanish-language magazine wearing a blue button-down shirt. But he’s also seen in green and a black shirt in a video shared by the magazine. The 20-second spot features Rodriguez posing for the camera, and though he doesn’t say a word, it does show his personality. At one point, he’s very concentrated on posing, but when he sees the camera, he cracks a smile and gives a thumbs up.

For it’s must-read feature on Rodriguez, the magazine called on the soccer star’s wife, Daniela Ospina, to offer insight on her handsome husband. She said he’s “a very attractive man. But what I most like is the way he is, his personality. It’s what I really love.”

James Rodriguez People en Espanol

Even though his powerful performance at the World Cup led to Real Madrid acquiring him from French-league club AS Monaco this summer and signing him for six seasons, his wife says he hasn’t let fame go to his head.

“He’s still the same. What really characterizes him is his humility,” the player’s mother, Maria del Pilar Rubio, said in a statement to the magazine, adding that Rodriguez “hasn’t let himself be impressed” by those contracts worth millions.

Rodriguez Wins FIFA’s Golden Boot Award After Being the Top Goal Scorer at the World Cup

World Cup 2014

James Rodriguez has the FIFA Wold Cup’s golden leg…

The 23-year-old Colombian forward was awarded FIFA’s Golden Boot award after being the top goal scorer at this year’s World Cup.

James Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who scored six goals in five games at the 2014 Brazil World Cup, celebrated along with his family following the end of the championship match where Germany edged Argentina 1-0 for the trophy.

Germany’s Thomas Mueller and Brazil’s Neymar won the silver and bronze boots for their respective five and four goals of the tournament.

Rodriguez is the first Colombian to ever win the prize.

“Thanks to God. All of you for the effort you made. And to my national team colleagues who made it all possible,” posted Rodriguez on his Twitter account.

Thanks largely to Rodriguez’s six goals, Colombia made it past the first two rounds of the World Cup for the first time in history before knocked out in the quarterfinals by host Brazil with a score of 2-1.

Messi Earns Third Consecutive Golden Boot Award…

Lionel Messi is getting the boot yet again…

The 26-year-old Argentine soccer star, currently sidelined by persistent thigh muscle issues, has picked up his third European Golden Boot award.

Lionel Messi

Messi, who hopes to return for Barcelona’s first game of 2014, was presented with the award by former Blaugrana striker — and 1990 Golden Boot winner — Hristo Stoichkov at a ceremony in central Barcelona on Wednesday.

Asked by reporters at the event if he might be back to play at home on January 5 — Barca’s first game after the winter break — Messi said: “I hope so.

“The truth is I have not put a date on the return. If all goes well it will be that date, but we will see what happens. I will be back when it is supposed to happen.”

Messi, who will spend part of his recovery back at home in Argentina, said nobody wanted to rush things as the most important thing was to put an end to a frustrating last six months, during which he has suffered five similar thigh and hamstring problems.

“My objective is to return in good shape, to strengthen the body so that, God willing, I can play without injuries,” he said. “I am improving bit by bit — it does not hurt any more. I am starting to do things.”

Messi scored 46 goals in the 2012-13 season to take the European Golden Boot, which he also claimed in 2009-10, when he scored 34 goals, and in 2011-12, when he scored 50 goals.

He dedicated his latest personal trophy to teammates including Xavi Hernandez, Jordi Alba, Adriano, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Jose Pinto, who were all present at the ceremony.

“It was a lot of goals, and I would not have scored them without my teammates,” he said. “Without them I would not have won this Golden Boot, nor the others. I appreciate them being here.”

Messi did not speak about the controversy surrounding the extension of this year’s Ballon d’Or voting, which some have suggested will favor Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances of winning the award.

Barca president Sandro Rosell, though, was on hand to push his club’s player’s chances.

“If people vote on what they have seen on the pitch this year, and do not put on political or media pressure, then Messi should win,” Rosell said in Mundo Deportivo. “I would vote first for Leo, second for Leo and third for Leo. Fourth, fifth and sixth would be Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta and [Sergio] Busquets.”

Alcântara Leads All-Star UEFA European Under-21 Championship Squad

Thiago Alcântara is the leader of the pack at the European Under-21 Championship.

The 22-year-old half-Brazilian soccer player, Spain’s Under-21 captain and reported Manchester United target, has been named player of the tournament for the European Under-21 Championships in Israel.

Thiago Alcântara

Alcântara, a midfielder for Futbol Club Barcelona, was instrumental throughout La Rojita‘s victorious campaign and hit a first half hat-trick in the 4-2 final win against Italy.

A statement on UEFA’s official website read: “As captain of the title winners, Thiago displayed leadership qualities on and off the pitch and, throughout the tournament, was an influential figure in his team’s performance with impressive box-to-box work; exceptional ball control even in the tightest of situations; ability to dictate the tempo of play; intelligent ball-winning based on anticipation rather than tackling; and outstanding playmaking skills based on a wide variety of short and long passing.

“His three goals in the final represented a unique individual achievement and reward for his contributions to his team’s success.”

Thiago is free to leave the Camp Nou this summer if his release clause of €18 million is met and is being trailed by United and their Premier League rivals Chelsea.

He was also named in the 23-man squad of the tournament, alongside 10 of his Spain teammates, including Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Manchester City and Real Madrid target Isco and Golden Boot winner Alvaro Morata.

Messi Could Pick Up a Fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or Award

Lionel Messi has the chance to make soccer history…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol star, who just claimed his second Golden Boot award, is among the 23 players in the running for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Lionel Messi

Should he come out on top, Messi, who made history by claiming the award the last three years in a row, would become the only player to claim the award four times.

But Messi will face stiff competition from several noted players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez, this year’s runners-up for the world’s best player award.

Here’s a look at the nominees:

Real Madrid Players:
Cristiano Ronaldo
Iker Casillas
Mesut Ozil
Karim Benzema
Sergio Ramos
Xabi Alonso

Barcelona Players:
Lionel Messi
Andres Iniesta
Sergio Busquets
Gerard Pique
Xavi Hernandez

Atletico Madrid Player:
Radamel Falcao

Manchester City Players:
Mario Balotelli
Sergio Aguero
Yaya Toure

Manchester United Players:
Wayne Rooney
Robin van Persie

Juventus Players:
Andrea Pirlo
Gianluigi Buffon

Shanghai Shenhua Player:
Didier Drogba

PSG Player:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Bayern Munich Player:
Manuel Neuer

Santos Player:
Neymar

The final three candidates will be revealed on November 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place in Zurich on January 7, 2013, when the player who receives the most votes from coaches and captains of international teams, as well as reporters, will be announced.