'Marca' Soccer Awards 2013

Ibrahimovic is sending Cristiano Ronaldo a ‘Dare to Zlatan’ shirt for his birthday

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What do you get the guy who has everything? A little piece of yourself.

That’s no Hallmark card. Based on what we saw today on Twitter, that’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s philosophy to high-level gift-giving, with the Paris Saint-Germain icon taking time out after his Tuesday flamboyance to say “Happy Birthday” to another of the world’s biggest stars.

Cristiano Ronaldo turned 29 on Wednesday. (Seriously: That kid Manchester United bought from Sporting? He’s 2-freaking-9 years old.)  Ibra — the nice, dues-paying member of the Superstar Soccer Society that he is — remembered his pal’s birthday the way all celebrities do. He consulted his marketing team and came up with a clever, self-promoting tweet:

As far as clever self-promotion goes, this is good stuff. Just because it’s Cristiano’s birthday doesn’t mean it can’t be about Zlatan.

Still, I can’t decide the best part: the actual t-shirt; the strategic placement of the scissors and bow; folding back the wrapping paper to reveal the pattern; or the hashtag – #DareToZlatan. Is daring to Zlatan just trolling people on their birthday? If so, I’ll definitely #DareToZlatan PST’s Steve Davis when his birthday comes around.

Shortly after Real Madrid defeated Atlético on Wednesday, Cristiano Ronaldo responded. As of the time of this post, he was beating Zlatan in favorites but trailing on retweets:

Which tweet was better? Um … tweet for Zlatan, but share for Cristiano? Eh, forget it. Ibra and Ronnie win Twitter for the day.

Now whose birthday’s tomorrow?

“Super computer” predicts final Premier League standings

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With eight games gone and 30 to go in the Premier League, now is the time that those preseason predictions start to get revised and new knee-jerk picks are made.

[ MORE: Klopp’s 10 best quotes ]

Stats.com have run the numbers through their “super computer” — how big is this thing? To me, it’s the size of several rooms… — and the intriguing table will surprise many.

[ MORE: Bradley to coach Sunderland?

Manchester City will win the title, pipping Arsenal to the crown, while Manchester United will finish in third and Chelsea will recover to finish fourth. At the bottom, only Bournemouth will be relegated out of the newly promoted teams, while it is looking bleak for Sunderland and Aston Villa.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter for $100 million

Do you agree with the findings of Stats.com?

Click on this link via talkSPORT to see the points tally for each team, as it promises to be a tight race for the title and against relegation.

Predicted final Premier League table

1- Manchester City
2- Arsenal
3 – Manchester United
4- Chelsea
5- Liverpool
6- Tottenham Hotspur
7- Everton
8- Southampton
9- Crystal Palace
10- West Ham United
11- Swansea City
12- Stoke City
13- Leicester City
14 – West Bromwich Albion
15- Newcastle United
16- Norwich City
17- Watford
18- Bournemouth
19- Aston Villa
20- Sunderland

After defying quit calls, Blatter mediates between FAs

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ZURICH (AP) After defying pleas from FIFA sponsors to quit immediately, President Sepp Blatter is continuing regular business at soccer’s governing body, presiding over a dispute between football federations on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter for $100 million ]

Palestinian Football Union president Jibril Rajoub told The Associated Press: “Blatter is functioning well and in a good mood with common sense, a sense of humor.”

According to Rajoub, Blatter ruled at Tuesday’s meeting with Saudi Arabia’s federation that a decision to force the Palestinians to play a World Cup qualifier at a neutral venue was “invalid.”

[ MORE: Bradley to coach Sunderland?

FIFA’s World Cup committee initially ordered the Oct. 13 game to be relocated from the West Bank to neighboring Jordan after the first leg was played in Riyadh.

[ MORE: Klopp’s 10 best quotes ]

Rajoub says FIFA has now agreed to postpone the fixture until a resolution is found.