Record-breaking Harry Kane surpasses Messi, Ronaldo

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LONDON — No player in Europe’s top five leagues has scored more goals in all competitions for club and country than Harry Kane in 2017.

Think about that.

Kane, 24, has been consistently excellent and on Boxing Day in the 5-2 win against Southampton, his final game of 2017, he scored a hat trick, his second in four days in the PL as he celebrated wildly at Wembley with Spurs’ fans.

His latest treble meant he had not only become the highest scorer in a calendar year in Premier League history but also surpassed the likes of Lionel Messi, Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer among Europe’s top five leagues with 56 goals in 52 appearances all competitions for club and country over the past 12 months. He also played in the fewest games of those four aforementioned players.

Simply stunning.

Kane was beaming from ear to ear as he spoke to Sky Sports after the game about his exploits.

“It has been a fantastic year. To get compared to those players – the Messis and Shearers – is what it is all about. To get another hat-trick is a great way to end the year. It is always about improving every year. That’s what I always have done throughout my career and it is what I will continue to do,” Kane said.

“It was hard not to think about it, being level going into the game. I wanted to win the game but of course I wanted to score as a striker. Getting that record was a great feeling. I’ve improved physically – recovery for games, getting ready for each game, eating right and ice baths. I feel good and sharp and at my bet at this busy period. They are fantastic players here. It’s fantastic to play with them. We’re a hard team to stop and I said to them before the game to try and set me up and they did that, so I’ll have to take them out for dinner.”

Speaking to the media after the game, Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli praised his professionalism, so too did his manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Kane’s journey from being called a “one season wonder” following his breakout campaign in 2014-15 has been the stuff of dreams for the Spurs academy product.

His manager who gave him a chance in the first team at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino, waxed lyrical about Kane’s achievements when he spoke to the media after the game.

“Harry is world-class. Of course, Messi and Cristiano are different. Today – one striker in the world, a specific position – who is better than Harry? It’s difficult to say he’s the best but he’s shown to everyone he’s one of the best,” Pochettino said. “Both of his records are massive – to break the Premier League record set by Alan Shearer and then, if you see that over the last seven, eight or nine years, it’s always Messi and Cristiano and now, it’s Harry as well.”

Kane said he was “honored” to be mentioned in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo but you seen a steely determination, and hunger, to surpass his wonderful achievements in 2017.

Breaking Alan Shearer’s longtime record as the leading scorer in a calendar year in the PL proved Kane’s incredible consistency over the past 12 months, but the two-time reigning PL golden boot winner has also hoisted himself onto the next level of goalscorers.

He is scoring goals in the UEFA Champions League regularly, battering opponents in the PL and is England’s main man heading into the 2018 World Cup next summer.

When all is said and done, we will look back at 2017 as being the year a true legend was made.

Harry Kane is certainly not a “one season wonder” and his amazing stats prove he is the best goalscorer, and one of the best players, on the planet right now.

Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images
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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.