Dusan Tadic

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Ballon d’Or 2019 results revealed

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The full results for the 2019 Ballon d’Or voting have been announced during the glitzy event in Paris on Monday, as the top player on the planet was crowned.

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Lionel Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or, setting a record for the most wins by a single player in history.

Messi, Virgil Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo finished in first, second and third place respectively for the coveted trophy, as Messi has overtaken Ronaldo who has won the Ballon d’Or five times and VVD was aiming to become the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 to win the award.

Remember: leading journalists along with national team coaches and captains vote for the winners of this award.

Below is the list of players from the 30-man shortlist and where they finished.

28. Joao Felix
28. Marquinhos
28. Donny van de Beek
26. Karim Benzema
26. Georginio Wijnaldum
24. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
24. Kalidou Koulibaly
23. Hugo Lloris
22. Heung-Min Son
20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
20. Dusan Tadic
19. Trent Alexander-Arnold
18. Antoine Griezmann
17. Roberto Firmino
16. Sergio Aguero
15. Matthijs de Ligt
14. Kevin De Bruyne
13. Eden Hazard
12. Raheem Sterling
11. Frenkie de Jong

The top 10…

10. Riyad Mahrez

9. Bernardo Silva

8. Robert Lewandowski

7. Alisson

6. Kylian Mbappe

5. Mohamed Salah

4. Sadio Mane

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

2. Virgil van Dijk

1. Lionel Messi

WATCH: Audacious play by USMNT’s Dest starts gorgeous Ajax team goal

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Sergino Dest respects that there’s about to be a big holiday in the United States, so naturally he’s feasting.

The Dutch American right back, 19, used an audacious flick on the touch line to help set up Ajax’s second minute goal against Lille as the Amsterdam set looks to take control of its group after Valencia and Chelsea drew in Spain.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores as Chelsea draws Valencia ]

Hakim Ziyech is the guy who delivered the finishing touch, but the shot and Dest’s flick were just the book ends of a terrific a team goal.

Donny van de Beek knifes Dest’s pass to Zakaria Labyad, who carries down the right before cutting inside for Dusan Tadic.

The ex-Saints forward lays off for Ziyech’s second goal of the UEFA Champions League campaign. He also has four assists after setting up three goals in the 4-4 thriller at Chelsea.

What’s going wrong at Saints? How do they recover?

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The good news for Southampton is that they’ve hit rock bottom. The bad news is that they are likely to stay there for some time.

From top to bottom, Southampton are a sinking ship.

Given the manner of their 9-0 thumping at home by Leicester City on Friday, the issues which have been brewing behind-the-scenes for months, if not years, came to the fore. The way the players chucked the towel in at St Mary’s pointed to much bigger problems than a bit of bad luck, going down to 10-men early and Leicester being clinical.

Southampton are a rudderless ship. They have been since Gao Jisheng purchased a majority 80 percent stake in the club in August 2017. Just a couple of public statements from Gao over the past two years have left Saints’ fans, and some of those working at the club, bewildered. Nobody knows what the plan is and they have no vision other than just trying to keep their heads above water.

Gao said this summer that Southampton are ‘not a pig to be fattened’ and that they must be sustainable.

Unless he changes that model and adds key additions, especially defensively, in the January transfer window, Gao will lose huge sums with Saints no longer in the Premier League. Southampton almost went out of business in 2008, so the club will be hesitant to gamble by spending big, but if they don’t then relegation seems certain.

Relegation is highly likely unless something drastic changes, as they are one of the lowest net spending clubs in the PL over the past decade. Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Morgan Schneiderlin, Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic have all left to make the club huge profits.

But with the likes of Guido Carrillo, Wesley Hoedt, Mario Lemina, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Fraser Forster all out on loan, some horrific transfer buys have hamstrung Saints’ model of profitable player trading as the replacements haven’t been good enough.

That is why over the past two seasons they’ve just battled off relegation twice, they’ve sold all of their best players, again, and the players who remain are not performing, are expensive mistakes out on loan or are on huge contracts and seem to have no desire to prove themselves week in, week out.

Above manager Ralph Hasenhuttl there has been an almighty clear out in recent months. Director of Football Les Reed was fired 12 months ago. Chairman Ralph Krueger was fired in April. His replacement and former Head of Recruitment, Ross Wilson, left for Glasgow Rangers last week.

Add in that Hasenhutt’s trusted assistant Danny Rohl left in preseason to go to Bayern Munich and it is a case of last-man standing for their Austrian coach.

It seems like Hasenhuttl’s position is under threat given the clear unrest among the playing squad, as there have been murmurs of discontent for some time. He’s made strange tactical decisions all season long and has no idea what his best team is. Even dating back to last season some within the club felt Hasenhuttl had got lucky due to Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff City being that bad and getting relegated instead of Saints.

The constant intensity of Hasenhuttl’s training sessions, and his personality, are wearing his players down. He has managed to send plenty of players out on loan and sell others to try and rip apart the decay at the center of this squad. But he’s not an easy man to please and plenty of Saints’ current starting lineup have felt his wrath over the past 10 months.

Officials, players and supporters of Southampton are in a state of shock after this defeat.

They should be, but there should also be a realization that this hefty loss has been a long time coming and that it will take even longer to get themselves out of the mess they’ve created for themselves.

Hopefully, at least for their sake, it is a huge wake-up call that sparks them into changes across the club. For so long their recruitment policy and academy has been the envy of others. It still can be, but they’ve been treading water for the past three years since Ronald Koeman departed in 2016 and they’ve shown a severe lack of ambition since.

Focusing on the here and now, Hasenhuttl has a huge job on his hands to galvanize this squad which was totally humiliated on the global stage.

For years to come when you mention Southampton people will laugh and say “they were smashed 9-0!”

Just ask Ipswich Town fans. They’ve had to deal with that since they were thumped by that same record scoreline at Manchester United back in 1995.

Of course, the scoreline reverberates around the world and it is the worst defeat in Saints’ 134-year history. It was also the biggest-ever away win in the top-flight since the English Football League was founded in 1888. Think about that.

But aside from the mammoth hiding they took at the hands of a ruthless Leicester side, the manner in which Saints lost was utterly shocking.

The players let themselves down, the club down and their manager down.

Hasenhuttl may not pay the ultimate price in the coming days, and he should be given the chance to prove this thumping was a freak result and one which they can bounce back from and be stronger. Hasenhuttl did well to keep Saints up last season but since that initial impact he had has faltered and he is now part of the bigger problem and doesn’t seem to have help from his board and his thinking is muddled.

But it will take some doing for Saints to not only recover in the coming weeks but also stay in the Premier League this season. They need to bring through young players once again, and they have some promising youngsters coming through. Too many players in their current squad have had chance after chance and are clearly not good enough.

What is clear is that neglecting to add to the squad and having no direction from Gao over the past two years has hit Southampton hard.

The performance on the pitch against Leicester City was appalling and embarrassing, and that tone has been set by the total lack of competence at the top of the club.

Hasenhuttl mentioned the Titanic in his opening press conference as Saints boss last December. The doomed ocean liner left the Port of Southampton on its ill-fated maiden voyage, and Hasenhuttl jokingly said that he hoped his team didn’t hit an iceberg in their battle against relegation.

Southampton have, and now they are in a huge battle to stay afloat.

Chelsea grab huge win late on at Ajax

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Chelsea beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam on Wednesday, as substitute Michy Batshuayi scored the winner off a Christian Pulisic assist.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform? ]

Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea now sit top in Group H, leapfrogging Ajax. The hosts hit the post in the second half and were the better team for vast swathes of the game and until Pulisic and Batshuayi came off the bench to cause havoc late on in the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The UEFA Champions League semifinalists from last season had now answer to a mature Chelsea display, as the Blues’ attacking options off the bench made the difference in their sixth-straight win in all competitions.

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Ajax started well with and had a penalty shout for handball waved away, then Joel Veltman drilled a shot just wide.

In an end-to-end encounter Mason Mount cut inside but his shot at the near post was saved as the Blues looked dangerous on the counter.

After a poor defensive clearance the ball fell to Hudson-Odoi but he hurried his shot and wasted a glorious chance.

Ajax thought they had taken the lead before half time as Hakim Ziyech’s cross deflected to the back post where Quincy Promes tapped home. After a delay via VAR, the goal was disallowed as Promes was just, just offside.

Promes was in again moments later after good work from USMNT right back Sergino Dest but Cesar Azpilicueta recovered well to block his effort.

In the second half Dusan Tadic was a growing force in the game as Chelsea were pinned back by Ajax.

Edson Alvarez hit the far post with a superb diving header from a corner and moments later Daley Blind forced Kepa into a save.

Christian Pulisic came on for Willian for the final stages as Chelsea tried to regain control of the game and that is what he did for them.

Pulisic cut in from the left time and time against Ajax, getting past Dest to send a shot just wide and a deflected effort then fell to Batshuayi who sent his effort way off target from a glorious position.

But Pulisic then set up the winning goal as he beat Dest on the dribbled and pulled it back for Batshuayi to hammer home the winner as the subs combined to secure a sixth-straight win in all competitions for Lampard, and his biggest yet as Chelsea’s manager.

2019 Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist released

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The first 30 names for the 2019 Ballon d’Or have been released. There are some usuals, there are some surprises, and there are some head-scratchers.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both headline the list as expected, as the two share eleven previous awards between them. Behind them are young stars Kylian Mbappe, Frenkie de Jong, and Matthijs de Ligt, with the latter two having made the Champions League semifinals with Ajax. Another pair of Ajax players also make an appearance as Donny van de Beek and Dusan Tadic impressed in that European run.

The goalkeepers on the list are somewhat contentious. Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson rightly appears, having led the Reds to new heights since joining in the summer of 2017. Tottenham netminder Hugo Lloris also shows up, a curious selection given his down form for Spurs the last two or three years. In fact, Lloris has made the most errors leading directly to goals of any Premier League player in the past three seasons, according to Opta. Alongside those two is Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who has locked down the starting spot at the Camp Nou each of the last four years.

Other Premier League players on the list include whopping six more Liverpool players in Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino, and Trent Alexander-Arnold plus Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Manchester City’s five attackers in Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez.

The most glaring absentee left off the list is Paris Saint-Germain attacker Neymar, who spent much of the year injured or suspended but when on the field put up video game numbers. Considering that France Football hands out the award, his exclusion seems to have a hint of troll to it. Luka Modric, the reigning winner, was also left off the list after struggling over the past year with Real Madrid. Others left off include Paul Pogba, Harry Kane, and N’Golo Kante.

The names on the list seem to heavily favor last year’s Champions League. Players like Tadic, Wijnaldum, and Lloris, for example, are excellent players but would be difficult to argue they deserve a spot in the top 30 players in the world. Meanwhile, players like Neymar, Kane, Lautaro Martinez, Sergio Ramos, Joshua Kimmich, Miralem Pjanic, Angel di Maria, Raul Jimenez, and countless others who either departed the competition early or didn’t appear altogether were an afterthought.

The winner will be announced December 2.

Full 30-man shortlist
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona)
Sergio Aguero (Man City)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Alisson (Liverpool)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Heung-Min Son (Tottenham)
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Bernardo Silva (Man City)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)
Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
Marquinhos (PSG)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)