Monday, 17 June 2013

Brazilian icon Pele has waded into the Ballon d’Or debate once more and claims Cristiano Ronaldo deserved to scoop the prestigious prize ahead of Lionel Messi.

Messi won his 4th straight Ballon d’Or earlier this year for his goalscoring exploits with Barcelona.
Messi scooped the prestigious prize back in January

The Argentinian ace broke Gerd Muller’s record for most goals scored in a calendar year while this season he broke another record by scoring in 17 straight Spanish league games, going on to score in 21 consecutive matches before failing to find the net on the last day out of the season.

While Messi garnered all the praise for his goal-scoring exploits it was Ronaldo who had the last laugh as he helped Real Madrid beat off Barca to win the 2011/12 La Liga title.

Since then Barcelona have wrestled back the league crown from their rivals, and with neither side being crowned champions of Europe, Pele believes Ronaldo should have won his 2nd Ballon d’Or for helping to break Barcelona’s dominance.

"In terms of football, I say Messi, but in terms of successes I think Ronaldo deserved to win the Ballon d'Or. He won La Liga with Real Madrid," Pele said in an interview with AS.

"I was at Fifa presenting the award on two occasions. Cristiano was close on both occasions, but Messi always had more."

Pele has been vocal in the past about his belief that countryman Neymar has what it takes to surpass Messi as the greatest player in the world.

Now it has been confirmed Neymar will line up alongside Messi at Barcelona next season, Pele concedes it will take some time for the former Santos player to reach that level.

"It’s clear that the marking in European football is different to Brazilian or South American clubs," he said. "They’re stronger, the marking is tighter and the referees are used to this type of play. I think that this will be Neymar’s main difficulty.

"He has some obstacles to get over: he needs to play in a World Cup, he needs to improve his heading. By way of comparison, we had [Zinedine] Zidane a short time ago, one of the last great names in world football. He was an extremely complete player. Neymar still needs to get to that level."

Chelsea transfer news: Fernando Torres flattered by Barcelona interest - but wants to stay..
Torres is happy where he is.

Fernando Torres admits he is flattered to hear of reported interest in his signature from Barcelona, but insists he intends to remain with Chelsea beyond the summer transfer window.

Barcelona have been credited with interest in Torres with his future with Chelsea in doubt following the appointment of Jose Mourinho and the likelihood the club will purchase another striker before the transfer deadline.

The situation in the mind of Torres is clear, however, with the 29-year-old intent on staying with Chelsea, while maintaining the belief that Mourinho will be able to kickstart his faltering Stamford Bridge career.

"I want to continue, I want to complete the contract I signed and continue winning trophies and I would like to be the best in the world in my position again," Torres told Spanish newspaper AS.

"It’s always nice to hear about interest from clubs like Barcelona, but my plan is to stay at Chelsea."

Chelsea are already reported to have made an attempt to shift Torres, with the club making an offer of £34 million plus the Spain international in the hope of capturing Edinson Cavani from Napoli.

Cavani, however, appears more likely to join Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window in September, with the Uruguay international reported to have outlined the Santiago Bernabeu as his favoured destination.