If the youngsters fail to deliver, Messi and Ronaldo will show them how it's done.

UEFA name Europe’s top three players: Messi, Ronaldo or Ribery?


A shortlist of Europe’s 10 best players has been whittled down to three.

And usually when Lionel Messi’s involved, he’s the clear winner for just about every single award going. Even the European tiddlywinks champion is cursing the diminutive Argentinian magician…

However, this year Messi has some real competition to be named European Player of the Year. An award ceremony will be held on August 29 to see if Messi, Franck Ribery or Cristiano Ronaldo will lift the coveted title of Europe’s top player.

Previously UEFA released their top 10 players of the year and the position those players finished in has been announced. There was some notable omissions from the top 10, with last years winner Andre Iniesta left out and his teammate Xavi was also snubbed.

Anyway, just missing out on the top three was Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, who came in fourth. The towering Pole almost brought the Champions League trophy to BVB and had a sensational UCL campaign. Behind him in fifth was Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben, who scored the winner in the final and can count himself unlucky to not make the top three.

(MORE: UEFA names shortlist for Player of the Year, who’s in your top 10?)

Outside of the top five another Bayern Munich player, Thomas Muller, appeared as Bayern’s European dominance is clear for all to see. Then came Welshman Gareth Bale, who was voted the seventh best player in European soccer. If he joins Real Madrid can he break into the top three? Then, just to rub it in, another Munich player came in eight with Bastian Schweinsteiger rewarded for all his hard work. Ninth spot went to Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester United’s Robin van Persie was voted as the tenth best player in Europe.

Agree with those decisions? This is likely to cause some debate.

Messi’s Barcelona side didn’t win the UEFA Champions League. But he did score an incredible 60 goals in 50 games. Ronaldo scored 55 goals in 55 games. Both of them are unstoppable. But does Ribery, no disrespect, deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as those two? He scored 11 times in 43 games and added plenty of assists. But I would argue that Robben played a bigger part in Munich’s success last term. Sidenote: is Radamel Falcao really not in the top 10?

Anyway, despite all that debate, the big question now is who will win the big prize. Messi, Ronaldo or Ribery?

Who you got?

Ex-Guatemalan soccer chief pleads guilty in FIFA bribe case

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) A former Guatemalan soccer federation president has pleaded guilty in New York to charges related to a sprawling corruption investigation of world soccer.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri ready for return, pursuing Chinese Super League ]

Brayan Jimenez pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy charges, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. It’s unclear when he’ll be sentenced.

The 62-year-old Jimenez is among 40 people from around the world charged in a FIFA bribery scandal over lucrative broadcasting rights.

Prosecutors say Jimenez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Florida-based sports marketing company. They say in exchange for the money Jimenez awarded the company media marketing rights to the Guatemalan soccer team’s World Cup qualifying matches in 2018 and 2022.

Jimenez’s attorneys haven’t returned a message seeking comment on his guilty plea.

D.C. United acquires Igboananike from Fire in trade

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06:  Andrea Pirlo #21 of the New York City FC looks to pass against Kennedy Igboananike #77 of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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With the playoffs still very much in sight, D.C. United is making another attempt to boost its struggling attack.

[ MORE: NYCFC, Rapids meet in Bronx on Saturday ]

After recently trading for New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins and New York Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, D.C. has completed a trade for Chicago Fire attacker Kennedy Igboananike in exchange for target allocation money and a third-round draft selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

In over a season-and-a-half in MLS with the Fire, Igboananike notched 11 goals and four assists in 49 matches. The Nigerian forward is a Designated Player, and is due to make over $900,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union website.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

D.C United is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on 20 points through 21 matches. The team is four points behind the New England Revolution for the final playoff position.

Report: Atletico set to offer $52 million for Chelsea’s Costa

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Diego Costa of Chelsea shoots past Thiago Silva of PSG to score a gol to level the scores at 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Already with one of the world’s most dangerous attacks, Atletico Madrid is prepared to add another dimension into the mix.

[ MORE: Man City makes final bid for defender John Stones ]

Daily Mail is reporting that the Spanish side is prepared to offer Chelsea over $52 million for striker Diego Costa, who joined the team from Atletico back in 2014.

While the Blues have maintained their position that Costa isn’t for sale, Atletico looks to boost its already strong offense with the 27-year-old Spaniard. Diego Simeone’s group already features talented attacking duo Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

During his previous stint in La Liga, Costa netted 56 goals across all competitions in two seasons with the Rojiblancos.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

Chelsea is reportedly pursuing former striker Romelu Lukaku after signing Belgian Michy Batshuayi this summer. Antonio Conte’s side also features young forward Bertrand Traore, who has made a strong impression during the preseason.

Report: Manchester City makes final bid for John Stones

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Diego Costa of Chelsea and John Stones of Everton compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on January 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Take it or leave it.

Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.

[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]

City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.

While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.