Arda Turan decided to take out his frustration with the officials during Wednesday’s Atletico Madrid-Barcelona Copa del Rey match by throwing his shoe at the linesman. So yeah, this game has five goals and a bunch of controversial calls, but those have been topped by this moment of madness.
Mandla Masango scored a strong contender for best goal of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations today in South Africa’s match vs. Ghana. Masango caught a lose ball on the full volley and managed to perfectly dip it over the head of Brimah Razak. Hard to imagine you could hit a soccer ball as perfectly as that.
Real Madrid beat 14th place Cordoba 2-1 on a late penalty. Though, Cristiano Ronaldo was not on the pitch to see it. CR7 was sent off with a straight red for violent conduct after slapping and kicking a player. Earlier, he threw a punch on a set piece not caught by the referees.
Ronaldo will miss Real Madrid’s Jan. 31 match vs. Real Sociedad, at least…
Soccer friendlies tend to be low tension affairs. That’s especially true for offseason club friendlies, played in Ukraine in January. Ukrainian Premier League side FC Olympik Donetsk played second division FC Enerhiya Nova Kakhovka in one yesterday. This video proves that no one really gives 100% effort in “friendly” matches, as one of the players is caught checking texts and answering his cell phone mid-match.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been named FIFA’s 2014 Ballon d’Or winner, edging out his longtime rival Lionel Messi by a fairly significant margin — 38 percent to 16 percent. German keeper Manuel Neuer finished third. As it stands, the two immortal players have claimed the last seven awards between them. To put it in beyond simplistic terms, they are both great and as soccer fans we’re lucky to watch both of them ply their trade on a weekly basis at Real Madrid and Barcelona.
This is Ronaldo’s second consecutive Ballon d’Or victory and his third overall, as he previously won the accolade during his Manchester United days in 2008. He is now one behind Messi’s record of four heading into a year in which Madrid and Barcelona are expected to do battle for La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey trophies.
Thierry Henry announced his retirement from professional soccer on Tuesday. The French legend has now taken a job working for Sky Sports in the UK. Whatever I write in this post will hardly do enough to encapsulate Henry’s greatness on the soccer field. If you saw him play, most-likely during his spell at Arsenal, you get it.
There might not be an “EGOT” for soccer, but Henry won nearly every important team accomplishment a soccer player can take home: the World Cup, the European Championship and the UEFA Champions League. Henry also won league titles in France, Spain and England. Maybe the only surprise is he never took home the Ballon d’Or, coming the closest in 2003 when he finished second to Juventus’ Pavel Nedved. I’ll chalk this up to the strange divide between England and continental European voters, since Henry’s best years came playing in North London, scoring 228 goals in 376 matches. He amassed 123 caps for France, retiring top of his country’s all-time scoring charts with 51 goals.
Henry’s retirement announcement comes after he had previously confirmed he would not be returning to the New York Red Bulls, the MLS side where he spent the final four years of his career—showing the vision and technique had not deserted him even if his first glorious attribute, his electric pace, had long since faded with the passing of time.
“After 20 years in the game I have decided to retire from professional football,” Henry posted on his Facebook page, having given himself time to reflect.
“It has been an incredible journey and I would like to thank all the fans, team mates and individuals involved with AS Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona, the New York Red Bulls and of course the French national team that have made my time in the game so special.”
Henry will mostly be remember for his time in England, and the glittering goals he scored for Arsenal when they played far and away the most exciting and attractive football in the country (and arguably the continent).
Aaron Ramsey gave fans in Istanbul their money’s worth with his second goal vs. Galatasaray in the Champions League Tuesday. A frozen rope, left-footed volley into the top corner from about 30 yards out? Yeah, that’s an excellent finish from the Arsenal midfielder. Arsenal could still trump Borussia Dortmund for top place in their group should they keep scoring and the German club fails to defeat Anderlecht via goal difference.