Lionel Messi ranked soccer’s MVP, twice as valuable as Cristiano Ronaldo

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For several seasons Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been inseparable at the top of the game.

It causes constant debates between soccer fans that like to discuss the following: who is better, Mess or Ronaldo?

In a study released by the CIES Football Observatory, Messi’s value has been set at a staggering $270 million. That is almost twice as much as Ronaldo’s valuation of $142 million in the same study.

Does something seem slightly wrong with that?

Ronaldo scored 55 goals in 45 appearances for club and country last season while Messi, who struggled with injury for brief spells, netted 36 times in 39 appearances. Ronaldo helped Real to a Copa del Rey and a UEFA Champions League title. Messi was trophyless at Barcelona. Who sounds more valuable based on the 2013-14 season now…

MORE: Ronaldo makes TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people list

In the ninth edition of this report Luis Suarez is ranked as the third most valuable player in the world at $132 million, then comes Chelsea’s Eden Hazard ($61.2 millions ) and Barca’s Neymar ($80.6 million) to round out the top five.

CIES continued to rank even more players and there were some surprises when it came to stars who were way overvalued as their value dropped considerably from the price they were bought for last season.

Top of that list was Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale who was purchased from Tottenham for $132 million back in September 2013 but is now worth $83.6 million. That is a drop of just under $50 million in a season as Bale initially struggled to settle in the Spanish top-flight but has since kicked on and was instrumental in Real winning the Champions League title.

Other players who saw their values drop significantly were Radamel Falcao after AS Monaco splashed out $80 million for his services but the Colombian suffered a serious knee injury. Tottenham’s Argentine winger Erik Lamela barely played in his debut season at White Hart Lane and is now valued at $22.7 million after arriving for $47 million last summer.

If you love these lists and dissecting exactly how influential each player is, the guys at CIES have plenty more data to interest you. Check them out, right here.

Group C wide open as Denmark, Australia settle for draw

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Denmark and Australia settled for a 1-1 draw on Thursday, as this exciting Group C affair had nothing to separate the two nations at the end of 90 minutes.

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As it stands, the Danes lead the group with four points, while Australia earned its first point of the World Cup.

France will meet Peru later on Thursday, with Les Bleus having won its first match and Peru having suffered defeat to Denmark.

The Danes broke through after seven minutes when Nicolai Jørgensen picked out a perfect back-heel pass to Christian Eriksen at the top of the box, before the Tottenham Hotspur attacker volleyed home for a 1-0 lead.

Jørgensen nearly doubled the Denmark advantage in the 24th minute when the 27-year-old had an open header from close range that skewed just wide of the target.

Australia worked its way into the match following the opener, and were awarded a penalty kick in the 37th minute after VAR Mark Geiger altered an initial decision for a handball inside the box.

Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick to level the match at 1-1, giving the Socceroos life.

A dangerous free kick four minutes later almost gave Denmark the lead once again, however, Eriksen couldn’t get a crucial touch on the ball to knock it over the goal line before Ryan collected.

The second half continued with lightning pace from both sides, and Aaron Mooy‘s 71st minute blast came inches away from giving Australia an improbable lead.

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The two nations will conclude Group C play on June 26, as Denmark faces France and Australia takes on CONMEBOL side Peru.

Video: VAR awards Australia penalty, before Jedinak converts

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The Socceroos battled admirably in the latter stages of the first half, and Australia was rewarded for their efforts.

Australia has leveled the match at 1-1 after a Mile Jedinak penalty kick cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s stunning opener in the seventh minute.

After an initial decision to play on by the head referee, VAR Mark Geiger opted to award a penalty kick to the Aussies after Yussuf Poulsen was caught with his hand away from his body on a Mathew Leckie header.

Poulsen was also shown a yellow card for the infraction, which rules him out for Denmark’s group-stage finale against France.

Video: Eriksen volley has Denmark ahead inside 10 minutes

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Denmark is well on its way to another three points on Thursday, and this time it’s Christian Eriksen who has finally broken through at the World Cup.

 MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Eriksen put the Danes in front in the seventh minute after a tremendous volley that gave Australia goalkeeper Maty Ryan no chance at keeping it out.

After a sloppy turnover in their own half, Australia could only watch as the ball fell to Nicolai Jørgensen, who cleverly back-heeled to Eriksen at the top of the box.

The Danes pulled off a 1-0 victory in their first Group C match against Peru, while Australia fell 2-1 to France.

Croatia coach says “we have nothing to lose” against Argentina

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Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic chose his words wisely when discussing their final Group D opponent, Argentina, but his side won’t be backing down when they take on Lionel Messi and Co.

[ MORE: Spain gets win after Iran equalizer called off by replay ]

With three points already in the bag for the European nation, Croatia currently sits atop their group, however, Dalic recognizes the task that lies in front of him and his team on Thursday.

“I didn’t say that Argentina was the easiest opponent,” Dalic said. “I said that this was the easiest game for us. We have nothing to lose. We are playing against one of the best.”

Croatia does have the benefit of having won its first match in group play, which has given the side a decided enthusiasm heading into the meeting.

For Ivan Rakitic — who plays at Barcelona with Messi — he believes there isn’t much he or anyone on his team can say or do to further prepare themselves for the Albiceleste.

“What can I tell them that they don’t know?” Rakitic said. “The world knows. Messi is one of the best players in the world. He will have his moments, clearly. It is up to us to stop him, to play the right way against him, and to enjoy the match and play our best.

“It’s a beautiful thing to play against one of the best teams in the world. We are especially motivated.”

In four all-time meetings, Argentina leads 2-1-1 against Croatia, including a 1-0 victory during the 1998 World Cup in France.

The two teams last met in 2014 following Argentina’s World Cup final defeat to Germany, with Messi and Co. earning a 2-1 victory over Croatia.