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Cristiano Ronaldo claims fourth Ballon d’Or

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In an announcement with little drama, Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the Ballon d’Or recipient as the best player in the world for 2016.

Surely spurred by his club and country double, the Real Madrid and Portugal star has edged one award closer to rival Lionel Messi’s five.

Ronaldo won in 2008, 2013, 2014, while Messi won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015.

Kaka is the last different name to win the award, claiming it in 2007 in AC Milan. He’s now with Orlando City of Major League Soccer.

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France Football‘s award was the Ballon d’Or until 2010, when it merged with FIFA’s World Player of the Year Award. This year, France Football again presents the Ballon d’Or again, while FIFA will award its own offering on Jan. 9.

There will be some guffaws in the Leicester City dressing room, as 7th place Riyad Mahrez beat Jamie Vardy by one place.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba finished tied for 14th, a spot behind current teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Dimitri Payet of West Ham finished in a tie for 17th.

Names 2-5 were not released but Messi and Antoine Griezmann were widely tipped for 2 and 3 (in some order). Neymar and Luis Suarez would likely be the other two.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
    6. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
    7. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)
    8. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
    9. Gigi Buffon (Juventus), Pepe (Real Madrid)
    11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
    12. Rui Patricio (Sporting CP)
    13. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United/PSG)
    14. Paul Pogba (Manchester United/Juventus), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)
    16. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
    17. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea still pursuing Roma duo, and more

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Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.

According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.

[READ: MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker]

With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.

Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.

After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:


MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:


Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]