Cristiano Ronaldo on Ballon d’Or: “I deserve to win it every year”

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The waiting is almost over, as the FIFA World Player of the Year will be announced on January 13 in Zurich.

But that’s a few weeks away yet, so it’s time for the three finalists to get a final statement out there as to why they deserve the trophy. So that’s exactly what Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has done.

Ronaldo, 28, has been runner up to Lionel Messi the past two years and those two giants are joined by Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery as the current best three players in the world. Ronaldo has scored 34 goals in 25 appearances this season and given Messi’s long-term injury, the Portuguese star certainly deserved to come out on top this time.

Let’s see if Cristiano agrees with that assessment.

“Do I deserve to win it? Maybe I deserved to win it last year or the year before,” Ronaldo told Spanish magazine A Bola. “I think I deserve to win the Ballon d’Or every year. I like winning everything, but I know that it doesn’t depend on me. I’d like to win it, but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, that’s just life.”

Ronaldo then continued to rattle off his achievements over the past few years, to give his heady claims a little more weight. Come on Cristiano, we all know you’re an incredibly talented players and the favorite in many eyes to lift the coveted World Player of the Year this season. His form this season has been stunning and heading into World Cup 2014, Ronaldo could take the tournament by storm when Portugal face Germany, Ghana and the USA during the group stages.

But just in case here’s another reminder, from the man himself, of just how good he is.

“I don’t know if I deserve to win it this year,” Ronaldo said. “I’ve been in the top three for the last six years and in the FIFApro Team of the Year for the last seven or eight, so I really have nothing more to add. My numbers speak for themselves. What I’ve achieved, in some way, is key to winning individual awards.”

Minnesota’s Molino lifts Trinidad and Tobago to big win (video)

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Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino has given Trinidad and Tobago life in the race to win a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Molino’s 37th minute goal gave hosts T&T a 1-0 lead against visiting Panama at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday, and the Soca Warriors held on to win its first points of qualifying.

Panama had a Luis Tejada goal controversially ruled offside as Los Canaleros nearly pulled their fifth point of the Hex. Panama faces the USMNT on Tuesday in Panama City.

[ WATCH: Zaha scores wonder vs. Russia ]

Molino fooled long time LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a low shot across the body. The Panama backstop couldn’t get low enough or far enough with his dive to stop the shot.

The win has T&T in fifth place on the Hex table, behind Honduras on goal differential and three points ahead of the last place USMNT.

The U.S. needs a two-goal win to pass T&T, and a three-goal win to climb above Honduras.

WATCH: Zaha drives Russia nuts with mazy dribble goal

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Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast.

With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field.

He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013.

Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.

Everton loses Coleman to leg break on Ireland duty

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A horror tackle from Wales’ Neil Taylor snapped Seamus Coleman‘s leg in gruesome fashion on Friday.

Taylor was given a red card, and Coleman was stretched off the pitch in the 0-0 draw.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill confirmed what was apparent from the match replay: the Everton man has a broken ankle.

“It’s a bad break. He’s a fantastic player and character. It’s a major blow for the lad, his club and us.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world – I haven’t seen it. He’s gone to hospital. I saw his reaction immediately and it didn’t look good. He was holding is leg up and it didn’t look good.

This is not only awful for the player, but causes stress as Everton mounts its assault on the Top Six. The right back has also manned right mid for Ronald Koeman this season, and has four goals and four assists in 26 Premier League matches.

Mason Holgate, Muhamed Besic, and Phil Jagielka have played some right back for Everton, while Ramiro Funes Mori has deputized at left back.

Emotional McClean speaks after honoring deceased teammate (video)

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After wearing the No. 5 to honor of his recently deceased teammate, James McClean met with the media following Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Wales in World Cup qualifying on Friday.

McClean played with Ryan McBride at Derry City, and left Ireland camp to attend funeral services after McBride died following a match last weekend. McClean was also mourning the death of friend and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness.

Throw in a gruesome injury to teammate Seamus Coleman and, in McClean’s words, “I’ve had better weeks”.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

McClean, 27, spoke with evident emotion following a Man of the Match turn in Ireland’s draw (video below).

“It was a really tough week. The lads here have been great. They rallied around me. The manager was first class as well. He let me go up to Derry there on Tuesday and say my goodbyes. It’s been a tough week with Seamus injury as well. It’d been nice if we had have got a win and ended on a positive note, but it wasn’t to be.

“(McBride and McGuinness) were going through my thoughts today. I wanted to put in a performance that would make them proud. In the national anthem and the moment’s applause, holding my wee girl, it was emotional but I tried to put that in the right way into my performance. Hopefully tonight I’ve done the lads proud.”