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Some bad, bad voting in this FIFA player of the year process

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Count me “all in” for a democratic process. I mean, who doesn’t like democracy?

And variety in opinion is the spice of life, eh?

But c’mon! Are some of these people serious with their voting in the FIFA player of the year awards? Because we made need a re-think on this process if it’s going to be like this.

If you don’t think Leo Messi is the best player in the world, no problem! Maybe you like Cristiano Ronaldo. Or maybe you are an Andres Iniesta man. Heck, you could even make a case for Radamel Falcao or Robin van Persie or even a couple of others, guys who ware not even doggone finalists.

But Mario freakin’ Balotelli? Who could turn in that vote with a straight face?

At least three, apparently. He was on three of the captains’ votes, including the ballot belonging to Austria’s Christian Fuchs. Managers, captains and one journalist from each member association had a vote.

(MORE: Leo Messi win an unprecedented fourth Player of the Year award)

Some other instances of voting that checked the box under “interesting” or “irresponsible” or “just plain wrong.”

  • The very worst of the voting worst probably belongs to Brazilian scoring ace Marta, herself a five-time Women’s Player of the Year winner. Considering that the three finalists this year were herself, plus Americans Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, she would have a hard time explaining how her vote included neither of the other two finalists. Seriously, girl?
  • National team captains and national team managers get votes. U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra’s ballot had Messi, Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao as Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Nice touch, actually, to select Falcao, a fellow Spanish league man.  (Although Iniesta plays in La Liga, too.) As we told you earlier, Klinsmann’s went with Messi, Andrea Pirlo and  Ronaldo, in that order.
  • Journalist Rob Harris helped point out on Twitter than Ashley Williams voted van Persie in the No. 3 spot, “despite nearly killing him.”  All part of the game, I suppose.
  •  Jaba Kankava, captain of Georgia, where they are apparently a little behind on the news, voted Wayne Rooney at top spot.
  • The ballot for Germany manager Joachim Low was Mesut Özil, Manuel Neuer and Xavi. (Those first two were his own players, at least.)
  • All the voting, in all its flawed glory, is here in dizzying spreadsheet form.

VIDEO: Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores beauty for Man United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United controls the ball under pressure from Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United during the EFL Cup quarter final match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on November 30, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Here he comes.

When Henrikh Mkhitaryan signed for Manchester United in the summer big things were expected.

It’s taken him a while to settle but now the Armenian playmaker has scored his first goal for United with a stunning superb solo effort against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.

Watch the video below to see Mkhitaryan put United 1-0 up.

What a goal.

VIDEO: Is this the worst open goal miss in history?

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My goodness.

You truly have to see this a few times to believe it is possible.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars

Stunning footage from a game between National Vatera and Makedonikos Kozanis in Greece’s four-tier last weekend has emerged as Kozanis striker Thanasis Takidis goes clean through on goal, gets one yard out but then somehow delays his shot and is blocked on the line by a defender, then the ball gets away from him.

Watch the clip above to see probably the worst miss you will ever see.

I mean, come on man…

Kashima beats Auckland City 2-1 in opener of Club World Cup

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 08:  Daigo Nishi of Kashima Antlers heads the ball over Angel Berlanga of Auckland City during the FIFA Club World Cup Play-off for Quarter Final match between Kashima Antlers and Auckland City at International Stadium Yokohama on December 8, 2016 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
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YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) Japanese champion Kashima Antlers beat Auckland City of New Zealand 2-1 in the opening game of the Club World Cup on Thursday.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars ]

Kim Dae-wook headed Auckland ahead five minutes after half time, but substitute Shuhei Akasaki equalized for the J-League champions in the 67th minute.

Fellow sub Mu Kanazaki then completed the comeback in the 88th, heading home from close range after Shoma Doi nodded a deep Shuto Yamamoto cross from the left back.

Kashima advanced to a quarterfinal against African champion Mamelodi Sundowns in Osaka on Sunday.

The winner of that game will face Copa Libertadores winner Atletico Nacional in the semifinal Wednesday. European powerhouse Real Madrid also enters the tournament from the semifinal stage.

The use of video replays was available during the match but there were no official reviews. The technology is there to be used only for correcting clear errors in game-changing decisions.

Previews of all 10 Premier League games – Week 15

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur (10) reacts after a challenge during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on April 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Week 15 of the Premier League season has arrived with Manchester United hosting Tottenham, Liverpool welcoming West Ham and Leicester City and Manchester City clashing at the King Power Stadium.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live, here ] 

With some intense relegation battles between Swansea City and Sunderland and Hull City and Crystal Palace, there is plenty on the line as the festive season really starts to heat up.

Below are previews, score predictions and everything else you need to know about all 10 games this weekend.


Chelsea vs. West Brom

Leicester City vs. Manchester City

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool vs. West Ham

Arsenal vs. Stoke City

Southampton vs. Middlesbrough

Swansea City vs. Sunderland

Watford vs. Everton

Hull vs. Crystal Palace

Burnley vs. Bournemouth