Jamaica Premier League
Jamaica Premier League
Jamaica Premier League
Former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kelvin Jack believes modern football superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo must win at least one World Cup to be considered the greatest of all time.
Over the last decade, the Argentinean and Portuguese superstars have been the standard by which players have been measured. At the club level, both have racked up unprecedented accomplishments.
The duo is mostly at the top of the list for titles, scoring records, Ballon d’Ors, and various other metrics of success. Internationally, however, their records, as it relates to trophies anyway, are less impressive.
On one hand, both have managed to lead their countries to continental cups, with Ronaldo and Portugal winning the Euro Championship in 2016 and Messi winning the Copa America with Argentina last year.
The World Cup, international football’s biggest prize, however, remains conspicuously missing on the decorated mantlepieces of both players after four tournaments.
Having dominated their peers, and the current era, the absence of the coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy remains the only question mark in any comparisons between themselves and the men most consistently mentioned in the greatest of all-time conversations, Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Pele.
“If you want to compare Messi and Ronaldo to the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona, I believe you have to win a World Cup,” Jack told SportsMax.Tv’s IncaseYouMissedIt.
“Messi, make no mistake, this is a special player. This is a player that has reached a level we probably have not seen before in football, but you cannot disregard the brilliance of Maradona and what he did in 1986,” he added.
“Fortunately, I’ve been able to see the career of Maradona and witnessing Lionel Messi’s career and witnessing Cristiano Ronaldo’s career but you have to win the World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo has of course won the European Championship, Messi has won the Copa America but that last step to winning the World Cup is what would possibly cement his place as the best ever.”
With Messi being 35 and Ronaldo 37, the tournament in Qatar is expected to be the final chance for both players.
Manchester United are looking sever ties with Cristiano Ronaldo following his explosive interview this week, according to reports.
United put out a statement that they are taking “appropriate steps in response to Cristiano’s recent media interview”.
That has fuelled speculation his contract – which is due to run out at the end of the season – will be torn up.
TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND FIORENTINA READY FOR JANUARY RONALDO MOVES
The Mirror claims Chelsea are ready to reignite their interest in Cristiano Ronaldo in January, while Italian reports have linked Fiorentina with him too.
Blues owner Todd Boehly was keen on the 37-year-old during the last transfer window but nothing materialised. However, following their slow start to the season and head coach Thomas Tuchel’s exit, Chelsea may be back in for the under-fire Portugal international.
Calciomercatoweb claims Fiorentina could also make a move in January, with wealthy owner Rocco B Commisso ready to offer him a lucrative deal.
– Manchester City loom as an option for Lionel Messi, according to El Nacional. City are managed by Messi’s former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, who could lure him to England. Barca are eager to secure a return for Messi, whose contract with Paris Saint-Germain ends in mid-2023, but he has deferred all talks on his future until after the World Cup.
– The Sun on Sunday claims Chelsea will keep a close eye on Everton’s Jordan Pickford with England during the World Cup as Boehly considers a move for a new goalkeeper.
– Chelsea are considering moving for Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey, according to the Mail on Sunday. Jamaica international Bailey is close friends with Blues winger Raheem Sterling.
– Milan are contemplating a January move for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, whose agents approached the Italian champions. Aouar’s contract expires at the end of this season.
– Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho is set to see his wages multiply 10 times on a bumper new contract, claims the Daily Star. The Argentine’s new deal would see his wages rise from £5,000 to around £50,000.
The World Cup in Qatar is finally set to get underway, but there are a number of major players who will be watching along with the fans back home.
An unfortunate reality about the tournament is there will always be significant absences, either through a nation’s failure to qualify or due to injury.
It is the latter that has been a major focus in the final week before Sunday’s kick-off, with Senegal star Sadio Mane and France striker Karim Benzema both being late withdrawals from their respective squads, the latter suffering a quadriceps injury on Saturday, depriving the tournament of the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner.
Benzema’s injury is just one of several significant blows for holders France, and they dominate Stats Perform’s injured XI of the players unable to feature in Qatar.
Goalkeeper: Mike Maignan (France)
Maignan had a fine maiden season at Milan after joining from Lille. He kept 17 clean sheets in Serie A last term, the highest tally in the league, and conceded just 21 goals, with his save percentage of 79.4 the best of any Serie A goalkeeper to play more than 10 games in the competition.
He has made seven appearances this season, but the 27-year-old suffered a calf injury in October, leaving Didier Deschamps shorn of a quality shot-stopper to challenge Hugo Lloris.
Defence: Ben Chilwell (England), Reece James (England), Presnel Kimpembe (France)
Chelsea duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell were by no means guaranteed to start for England, but it’s still a blow to Gareth Southgate not to have the pair available.
James has excelled at wing-back and would have been an ideal fit if England stick with a three-man defence, while he could also have slotted in at centre-back, and Chilwell would likely offer more attacking threat than Luke Shaw on the left should the Three Lions have needed to chase a game.
Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe helped France win the 2018 World Cup, but he had to withdraw from Deschamps’ squad for Qatar due to an Achilles problem.
Midfield: N’Golo Kante (France), Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina), Paul Pogba (France), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands)
Giovani Lo Celso was not always a key player for Tottenham but retained his place as a crucial cog for Argentina. La Albiceleste will be without the midfielder, who sustained a hamstring injury while playing for Villarreal against Athletic Bilbao late in October.
Georginio Wijnaldum scored three goals in four games for the Netherlands at Euro 2020, but shortly after joining Roma on loan from PSG, the former Liverpool midfielder suffered a fractured tibia and had no chance of recovering in time to make Louis van Gaal’s squad.
Another two France stars complete the midfield, with Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante missing for Les Bleus. Both players were exceptional in 2018, but Kante is out with a hamstring problem, while Pogba is yet to make an appearance for Juventus this season after joining from Manchester United.
Attack: Karim Benzema (France), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Christopher Nkunku (France)
It’s fair to say France have been hit hardest by injuries to big players, and there could arguably be none bigger than Benzema, the Ballon d’Or holder. Given he is 34, it could well have been the Real Madrid striker’s final shot at a World Cup and is a huge blow not only to France but to football fans around the world who were highly anticipating the Benzema-Kylian Mbappe link-up.
A player who might have softened the blow of Benzema’s injury was Christopher Nkunku, had he not already been ruled out himself with a knee issue sustained in training last week, just before Les Bleus left for Qatar. Nkunku has been in sensational form for RB Leipzig, with only Mbappe of players from Europe’s top five leagues having scored more goals (58) since the start of last season than the RB Leipzig star, who has amassed 52 in 75 games.
Mane, meanwhile, was carrying the hopes of Senegal on his shoulders. The Africa Cup of Nations holders have a talented squad, but Mane was the stardust. He went down with an injury to his fibula while in action for Bayern Munich just before the World Cup break, and though Senegal named the ex-Liverpool attacker in their squad, he underwent surgery earlier this week and was duly ruled out.
Jamaica Scorpions spinner Dennis Bulli has credited a strong showing in the CGI insurance Super50 tournament with getting a good opportunity to showcase his talent.
The 35-year-old Bulli was one of the standout bowlers for the tournament and claimed an impressive 14 wickets in 6 matches, with an economy rate of 4.76. Despite playing two fewer matches, the spinner was just one wicket off the top spot occupied by Shannon Gabriel (15), Odean Smith (15), and Nicholas Gordon (15).
In Saturday’s final, the left-arm spinner’s mesmerizing skills were on full display when he left Trinidad and Tobago Red Force batsman Darren Bravo bamboozled all ends up, to take the crucial wicket of the dangerous batsman and end with figures of 1 for 44.
With a tournament best of 4 for 32, against the West Indies Academy, Bulli, who has not always managed to find consistency, was one of the key reasons the team was able to win the first Super50 title in 10 years.
“I’ve had times but I never got a good enough chance to express myself but this has been one of those times,” Bulli said of his performances this season.
“The first time I really got a chance to express myself was in 2019 and I did well. I got called up for the President’s XI team and got injured, got picked for the CPL, and got covid. So this is another opportunity and a good time for me to show what I can do.”
Nov 16, 2022 NBA
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