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Top 20: Ranking the best players ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup


Just days separate us from the start of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup — a tournament that draws soccer fans and the nations that they support one step closer to next summer’s World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Confederations Cup preview — Group A ]

While traditional powerhouses like Germany, Portugal and Chile aim to continue their reign atop the global game in this eight-team competition, the rest of the field looks to put their stamp on the tournament.

[ MORE: Confederations Cup preview — Group B ]

Since the Confederations Cup switched to its current format in 1997, the host nation has won three of the six competitions to date, while Brazil leads any other country with four titles on its own.

Of the eight teams to compete in this summer’s competition, Mexico is the only previous winner, and Juan Carlos Osorio’s side will aim to capture El Tri’s second win when the final takes place at Krestovsky Stadium.

Below, PST ranks the top 20 players that will take the pitch at this summer’s Confederations Cup, which kicks off on June 17.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Confederations Cup coverage ]

20. Fyodor Smolov (Russia)
19. Chris Wood (New Zealand)
18. Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)
17. Jose Fonte (Portugal)
16. Marco Fabian (Mexico)
15. Tim Cahill (Australia)
14. Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal)
13. Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
12. Miguel Layun (Mexico)
11. Emre Can (Germany)
10. Eduardo Vargas (Chile)
9. Andres Guardado (Mexico)
8. Bernardo Silva (Portugal)
7. Joao Moutinho (Portugal)
6. Giovani dos Santos (Mexico)
5. Arturo Vidal (Chile)
4. Julian Draxler (Germany)
3. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (Mexico)
2. Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Adidas reveals away kits for Mexico, Argentina, 7 other World Cup squads

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Fans of El Tri, La Albiceleste, Die Mannschaft and more can now get their hands on another set of 2018 World Cup jerseys.

Adidas unveiled the latest designs for the away kits of nine World Cup squads, including Mexico, Argentina and the defending champions Germany, with some of the team’s star players modeling the kits. Carlos Vela, Lionel Messi and Toni Kroos are all pictured in Adidas’ photo shoots with the new kits, and the uniforms are inspired by the kits worn at previous World Cups.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sweden, Colombia, Japan, Belgium and the host nation Russia are also included.

“For adidas, the World Cup has always been the stage to showcase some of our most iconic products, innovations and designs,” Juergen Rank, Senior Design Director said in a statement. “Many of these classic designs remain hugely popular with fans, and we want to continue to celebrate them while introducing new innovations, combining authenticity with progression.

“The new official World Cup away kits feature both the latest product technologies to ensure peak performance on the pitch and easily identifiable classic looks, making them perfectly suited to both the stadium and the street.”

Check out the latest kit release from Adidas below.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.