Lining up the best final match-ups of the UEFA Champions League’s last four

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We’ve got the teams, the match days and the draw date for the UEFA Champions League semifinals, but which teams should we hope to be drawn apart from each other for the sake of drama?

Friday is the day we learn the semifinal pairings for tournament, to be played May 5-6 and May 12-13, as Barcelona, Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich learn the last obstacles between their clubs and a date with history on June 6 in Berlin.

[ MORE: All UEFA Champions League news ]

So of the six remaining possibilities for that final, which is the most appealing? Well, there isn’t a real loser of the bunch, but let’s give it a go.

6. Juventus vs. Bayern Munich — When this is your No. 6 match-up, the UCL final is going to be good no matter how the semis shake out.

5. Barcelona vs. Juventus — Possession-fest 15′ with musical guests Sigur Ros? Maybe Barca isn’t the same as it was a half-decade ago, but for soccer purists this one has beauty written all over it.

4. Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich — Two sides that’ve appeared in the most and third-most finals have never dueled for the title of European champion. Xabi Alonso gets a rematch with his old team and Pep Guardiola goes up against his former enemies with a new crop of players.

source: Getty Images3. Juventus vs. Real Madrid — A rematch of the 1998 final, with Real’s Predrag Mijatović scoring the winner. There’s a lot of old Manchester United blood in this one, from those who flunked out (Paul Pogba), to those that formed an incredible attack (Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez), to a long time defender in Patrice Evra. It also would make Berlin the set piece capital in the world, and allow Andrea Pirlo to play more video games.

2. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid — I know El Clasico is the easy No. 1, but forgive us for finding more love in our choice. As for this one, national bragging rights, Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo, the list of reasons goes on and on. Give us another Clasico, please.

1. Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich — Pep (right and above) versus his former unit is an alluring, some would say mouth-watering match-up. But what that ignores is the absurd collection of talent and subplots. Neymar getting his shot against a team with German national teamers that punked his nation in the World Cup as he watched on the sidelines. Lionel Messi having the same opportunity. Luis Suarez versus Xabi Alonso. So. much. drama.

All of this means we’re rooting for a semi draw of:

Barcelona and Real Madrid

Bayern Munich and Juventus

Feel free to disagree. Let’s hear it.

Leeds, Bielsa win Fair Play honor FIFA’s The Best awards

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Well this is peak FIFA.

Football’s governing body has just awarded Leeds United and much-admired manager Marcelo Bielsa its FIFA Fair Play award at its 2019 The Best awards ceremony in Milan.

[ MORE: Klopp wins manager award ]

The reason the Whites won the award is understandable, if you just ignore the fact that they were publicly caught cheating months earlier… and that the “fair play” moment came after an extremely questionable play which led to a brawl.

The win comes for Bielsa’s decision in late April, when his player Mateusz Klich scored a goal despite Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija being injured on the pitch.

Bielsa instructed his players to allow Villa to tie the match after a post-goal fight saw a red card to Anwar El Ghazi.

Fair play? Sure, and Leeds kissed goodbye its slim hopes of finishing in automatic promotion place in the Championship.

However, Leeds was also caught monitoring Derby County training sessions, leading to Bielsa to admit in January that he had spied “all the rivals” that season.

I mean, who were the other nominees? Jose Callejon and the Turkish player who fouled players with a sharp object during play?

Bielsa admitted this during an extraordinary Powerpoint session for media members in England which showed the maniacal depths of his preparation, which curried a lot of favor with the media and fans.

Yes, even though he admitted Leeds cheated the whole season.

He also said, “I thought I wasn’t violating the norm,” which is ridiculous.

Now of course we should be too pious, either; A whole lot of teams cheat in this way and football is a cutthroat game. Bielsa is a managerial legend and loved by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, and Jorge Sampaoli.

Jurgen Klopp wins FIFA’s The Best men’s manager

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Jurgen Klopp has been named the top manager in the world for the past season at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony on Monday in Milan, Italy.

The UEFA Champions League-winning manager beat out Premier League winner Pep Guardiola of Manchester City and UCL finalist Mauricio Pochettino of Spurs.

[ WATCH: FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony ]

Klopp, of course, was magnanimous in victory.

 “It is great, nobody expected this 20, 10, five, four years ago that I would be standing here,” Klopp said. “We know what an incredible job Mauricio Pochettino did and what Pep did.”

He thanked the owners and players of his club.

“To the owners thank you, they gave me an incredible team. I have to thank my team – as a coach you can only be as good as your team is. I’m really proud of being manager of such an incredible bunch of players. This is an individual prize, I don’t 100% understand individual prizes, I’m here for a lot of people.”

Good for Klopp.

Watch Live: FIFA’s The Best awards 2019

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FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony takes place in Milan, Italy on Tuesday as the top players and managers on the planet will be crowned.

The ceremony starts at 2:30 p.m. ET and you can watch it live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes (click on the link below).

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo are the three nominees to be crowned the best male player on the planet.

USWNT duo Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are up for the top female award, as is England’s Lucy Bronze.

Outgoing USWNT head coach Jill Ellis is the favorite to land the award for the best coach in the women’s game, while Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino are all among the candidates to be named the best managers in the men’s game.

Click on the link above to watch the glitzy ceremony from Milan as plenty of other awards, like the Puskas Award for the best goal scored in the world, will be dished out.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Matchweek 6 produced some stunning displays across the Premier League, with big wins, comebacks and late drama across plenty of games.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Players from Liverpool, Man City and Leicester City dominate our rankings, while the likes of West Ham and Bournemouth are also well represented. There are also plenty of new entries among our top 20.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – New entry
2. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – Even
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – Up 13
4. James Maddison (Leicester) – Up 16
5. Joel Matip (Liverpool) – New entry
6. Bernardo Silva (Man City) – New entry
7. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) – New entry
8. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) – New entry
9. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – New entry
10. Fernandinho (Man City) – New entry
11. Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea) – New entry
12. Mark Noble (West Ham) – New entry
13. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Even
14. Mason Mount (Chelsea) – Down 10
15. Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) – Even
16. Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth) – Up 3
17. Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham) – New entry
18. Chris Wood (Burnley) – New entry
19. Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal) – New entry
20. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – New entry