Bloomberg Sports releases Top 50 Players list

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Bloomberg Sports used their “Football Power Index” to rate players in club soccer throughout the world on a scientific 100-point scale over the past year’s play.  They released the 50-player list today, and it’s topped by the Primera Division duo of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Those top two spots were obvious – Messi and Ronaldo have been top 2 for the last 3 years – but following them is an interesting cast.

Franck Ribery of treble-winning Bayern Munich grabs the third spot, followed by German foes Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus. Midfielder Andrea Pirlo of Juventus rounded out the top 5.

The Bundesliga, with two teams making the Champions League finals, again received evidence they’re a world-class league as they pulled the most players on the list (15).  The English Premier League, despite having their highest-ranked player down at number 6 in Robin van Persie, put up quantity with 14 players making the rankings.

Bayern Munich had more players than any other club, placing five on the list, while Juventus had four.

Bloomberg describes their point system as in-depth, saying, “Our advanced analysis covers greater than 100 types of player actions, leading to roughly 1,000 to 1,500 data points for each European match. Evaluating the data, we shift to analyzing players based on their core responsibilities on the field. The ratings are updated continuously, allowing for player performance to be tracked on a weekly basis.”

The description also mentioned they pride themselves on recognizing players who may not have the biggest names but provide immensely valuable contributions to their clubs.

To view the rest of the players on the list, click here.

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

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He has four goals in less than two matches, and Portugal is off to another flying start courtesy of their star forward.

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Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Portuguese a 1-0 lead against Morocco in the fourth minute after brilliantly heading home a corner kick.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal a similar spark at the beginning of their 3-3 draw against Spain in their first Group B match when Ronaldo drew, and scored a penalty kick inside of the opening three minutes.

Is there anything this man cannot do?

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.