Lionel Messi Becomes Argentina’s All-Time Leading World Cup Goal Scorer

Lionel Messi is in company all his own…

The 35-year-old Argentine futbol star has become Argentina‘s all-time leading goal scorer, after scoring a penalty in the first half of Tuesday’s 3-0 victory in the semifinal against Croatia at this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Lionel MessiMessi overtook Gabriel Batistuta‘s previous record of 10 goals, which he scored at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

Messi put Argentina ahead in the 34th minute from the penalty spot following a foul on Julian Alvarez by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Messi’s 11 goals also tie him for sixth for most goals in the history of the men’s World Cup, with Sandor Kocsis and Jürgen Klinsmann. Only Miroslav Klose (16), Brazil’s Ronaldo (15), Gerd Muller (14), Just Fontaine (13) and Pele (12) are now ahead of him.

He is the oldest man to score five goals at a single World Cup and level with France’s Kylian Mbappe in the race for the Golden Boot.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward’s opener in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Australia in the round of 16 meant he surpassed Diego Maradona and Guillermo Stabile‘s World Cup goal tally of eight.

He then equalled Batistuta’s mark of 10 when he scored from the penalty spot in his side’s fiery quarterfinal encounter with the Netherlands, which Argentina eventually won on penalties after a stirring Dutch fightback for a 2-2 draw.

In the match against Croatia, Messi also tied the record for most appearances at the World Cup when he played for the 25th time for Argentina at soccer’s biggest tournament.

Lothar Matthaus of Germany previously held the record outright. Messi is playing in his fifth World Cup and he will have a chance to break the record in Sunday’s final.

Messi’s first World Cup goal came on his debut in 2006, as he scored after being substituted on to help his side to a 6-0 victory over Serbia and Montenegro.

Four years later, Messi failed to score in the entirety of the World Cup tournament in South Africa as an Argentina side managed by Maradona reached the quarterfinals but lost 4-0 against Germany.

The forward enjoyed a more fruitful 2014 tournament, scoring four times in Argentina’s first three games as he helped them to the final — where they were again beaten by Germany.

Messi scored just once at the 2018 World Cup but has netted four times in his side’s five matches at the tournament in Qatar this year.

Messi is Argentina’s all-time top scorer with 94 goals in 169 appearances for the national team since making his debut in 2005. Batistuta scored 54 times in 78 matches for Argentina.

Neymar Scores in Return to World Cup Play & Helps Lead Brazil Into Quarterfinals

Neymar and his teammates have danced their way into the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.

The 30-year-old Brazilian professional footballer scored a goal as Brazil beat South Korea 4-1 on Monday in a dazzling performance at Qatar 2022.

Neymar, Brazil, World CupNeymar, on his return from injury, made no mistake, nonchalantly strolling up and placing the ball to the goalkeeper’s left.

The goal was Neymar’s 76th for the national team, just one strike away from equaling Pelé as Brazil’s all-time top goalscorer. By scoring Neymar also became just the third Brazilian player in history after Pelé and Ronaldo to score at three different World Cups.

The team’s win was a real statement of intent from Brazil, as Tite’s side showed why it was considered the favorite to lift the trophy coming into the tournament.

Neymar, Brazil, World CupFour first-half goals from Vinicius Jr., Neymar Jr., Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta ended this match as a contest soon after it had begun, with a combination of shambolic Korean defending and brilliant Brazilian attacking play leading to the most one-sided game of this World Cup so far.

However porous the Korean defense was, the opening 45 minutes were truly a football spectacle and encapsulated everything that has made Brazil both feared and admired at the World Cup over the years.

That included some perfectly-timed choreographed dancing as Brazil celebrated each of its four goals in style, even convincing head coach Tite to join in with Richarlison’s ‘pigeon dance’ for the third goal.

The second half was little more than a procession for Brazil, as its players took their foot off the gas and began conserving their energy for the much sterner test against Croatia that lies ahead on Friday.

Seung-Ho Paik grabbed a consolation goal for Korea 15 minutes from time as his long-range strike took a deflection off Thiago Silva that helped it past Alisson into the far corner.

With the recent news that soccer great Pelé had been admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s players celebrated the win at full time with a banner paying tribute to the three-time World Cup winner.

Ronaldo Buys Controlling Stake in His Former ‘Cruzeiro’ Club

Ronaldo is official a club owner…

The 45-year-old Brazilian retired soccer player, who played for Real Madrid and Brazil’s national team, has bought a controlling stake in his former club Cruzeiro.

Ronaldo  Ronaldo, who played for Cruzeiro as a teenager in the early 1990s before going on to become one of the most successful center forwards in soccer history, finalized the deal with the help of Brazilian investment bank XP.

The transaction, which was done through Ronaldo’s Tara Sports company and is still subject to what the bank called “a series of conditions,” sees Ronaldo invest 400 million reais ($70 million) in the Belo Horizonte club, which has spent two years in Brazil’s second division.

“I am so happy to have concluded this operation,” Ronaldo said in a video posted by the Cruzeiro president, adding, while holding one of the club’s blue shirts, that he wants to “give back to Cruzeiro and take them where they deserve to be.”

“We have a lot of hard to work to do. There’s nothing to celebrate yet but we bring a lot of hard work and the ambition to make Cruzeiro great again.”

He wrote on Instagram: “It’s my turn to try and open doors for the team. Not as a hero. Not with superpowers to single-handedly change reality. But with immense responsibility. With intelligent and sustainable management for medium- and long-term growth.”

“I don’t have all the answers to the questions that I ask myself and I possibly won’t have all the answers to the questions that you will ask me,” he wrote in an open letter to fans.

“What I do know is that the kid who learnt at Cruzeiro that dreams can come true today makes me believe that it is possible to rescue the club from its crisis.”

It is the second foray into management for the former PSV Eindhoven, InternazionaleAC MilanBarcelona and Corinthians striker. Ronaldo bought a 51% stake in Spanish club Real Valladolid in 2018.

Neither he nor Cruzeiro provided any significant details but XP said in a statement “it seeks to help the Brazilian football industry with professionalisation, capitalization and opening new opportunities.”

Ronaldo posted a blue heart and a fox — the Cruzeiro mascot — on Twitter, and a club spokesperson confirmed the deal.

Cruzeiro also told the fans they were “phenomenal”, in a reference to Ronaldo’s nickname as a player, “Ronaldo Fenomeno”.

The deal comes a few months after the Brazilian Congress sanctioned a law allowing football clubs, historically fan-owned and closed off to outside investors, to become businesses.

“This is the first bit of business in a relevant new front for the investment banking market in Brazil, the country of football,” said Jose Berenguer, CEO of Banco XP.

“I have no doubt this is transformational in the history of Brazilian sport. We will have clubs that are stronger, with the capacity for global investment. Brazilian football will never be the same again.”

Suarez Named the World’s Top Goal Scorer in 2016

Luis Suarez is kicking his way into the history books…

The 29-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer, a striker for FC Barcelona and the Uruguay national team, topped all goal scorers worldwide in 2016 with 40 goals, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS).

Luis Suarez

Suarez won the IFFHS award for the world’s best top division goal scorer 2016 for the third time in his career.

Suarez came ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 38 goals, and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain, who notched 36 goals, according to the IFFHS statement.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was in fourth place with 35 goals, followed by Benfica’s Jonas with 32, while Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Eran Zahavi was sixth with 31 goals.

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski came seventh with 30 goals.

Suarez now holds the record for winning the award three times with three different clubs in three different countries, according to the IFFHS.

Suarez won the award for the first time in 2010 with Ajax Amsterdam, and then in 2014 with Liverpool.

Among the players who have won this award twice are Ronaldo in 2014 and 2015 and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in 2012 and 2013, though Messi finished in 10th this year with 26 goals.

Nadal Signs Brazilian Pact with Ronaldo’s Sports Marketing Agency

Rafael Nadal is joining forces with a soccer legend to make his (marketing) mark in Brazil.

The 27-year-old Spanish tennis star has hired Ronaldo‘s sports marketing agency, 9ine Sports and Entertainment, to manage his advertising contracts in Brazil.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s “non-exclusive” agreement was reached with Goramendi Siglo XXI, which handles the tennis player’s image rights worldwide, according to the agency.

“Nadal is a lot more than just a new partner, he’s an idol that all of us learned to admire for his talent on the courts and for the kind of person that he is,” said Ronaldo in a statement.

The No. 1-ranked tennis star joins Ronaldo’s list of other top sports personalities he manages in Brazil, including Neymar, Rubens Barrichello and Anderson Silva.

Ronaldo was at the Rio Open final last week to watch Nadal, who beat the Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov to win the title.

Messi Wins Record Fourth Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi is officially in a league of his own…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol has become the first four-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, FIFA’s Player of the Year award, after breaking the world record for most goals in a year with 91 goals for Barcelona and Argentina.

Lionel Messi

Messi won for the fourth straight time, beating Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo and his fellow Futbol Club Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta in voting announced Monday. His 91 goals topped Gerd Mueller‘s mark of 85 for Bayern Munich and Germany back in 1972.

Messi received 41.60 percent of the points in votes by national team coaches and captains plus selected media. Ronaldo got 23.68 percent and Iniesta 10.91 percent.

“To tell the truth, this is really unbelievable to get the fourth award. I am so nervous,” Messi said in Spanish, wearing a black tuxedo jacket and bow tie, both with a white polka-dot pattern in an unexpectedly flamboyant touch.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and captain Carlos Bocanegra both voted Messi first, as did Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy.

Zinedine Zidane of France and Ronaldo of Brazil were voted FIFA Player of the Year three times before the award merged in 2010 with France Football’s Golden Ball, given to the European player of the year. The Golden Ball, or Ballon d’Or, was won three times by Michel Platini of France and Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten of the Netherlands.

Vicente del Bosque was voted top men’s coach after leading Spain to its third straight title in a major tournament, the 2012 European Championship. Del Bosque got 34.51 percent to win over Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho (20.49), who won last year, and Pep Guardiola (12.91) who won in 2011 and retired from Barcelona last spring.

The three men’s Player of the Year candidates were on the World XI All-Star team chosen by the FIFPro group of players’ unions, comprising 50,000 members worldwide.

They selected a team composed entirely of players from Spanish clubs, with nine repeating their selection from one year ago.

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas was selected as goalkeeper, joined on defense by teammates Sergio Ramos and Marcelo and by Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Gerard Pique. Iniesta was joined in midfield by Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso. Messi led the attack with Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid‘s Radamel Falcao. Marcelo and Falcao replaced Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney from the 2011 team.

Messi Named World’s Best Player for Third Straight Year…

It’s official… Lionel Messi is the king of the soccer field.

The 24-year-old Argentinean soccer star, who plays for Futbol Club Barcelona has received the FIFA’s Ballon d’Or, making him the 2011 best player in the world. Messi beat out his Barça teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the honor.

Lionel-Messi

Widely regarded as the world’s best forward, Messi is the first player to win the honor three years in a row. The only other three-time winners are Ronaldo (1996-97, 2002) and Zinedine Zidane (1998, 2000, 2003). The FIFA award was renamed last year when it merged with France Football’s Golden Ball.

“It’s a huge honor,” Messi said after accepting the trophy from the retired Brazilian great, Ronaldo.

Last year, Messi scored 55 goals for Barcelona, which won its third Champions League title in six seasons, and he scored four goals for Argentina‘s national team.

Messi received 48 percent of the points in votes cast by national team coaches and captains plus selected reporters. Cristiano Ronaldo finished second with 22 percent and Xavi had 9 percent to finish third.

“This one is very special because I want to share this with my friend and teammate Xavi. He deserves it,” Messi said.

Meanwhile, Xavi described his teammate as “one of the best footballers in the history of the sport.”

“He’s still young. I think he’s probably going to break all the records that exist in the sport,” Xavi said.