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Best FIFA Awards 2018: Who won the hardware, made Best XI?

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Luka Modric won the Men’s Best Player award at Monday’s Best FIFA Football Awards show in London, capping off an extraordinary 2018 (a bit early, granted) for the Croatian who helped Real Madrid to a third straight Champions League title and guided his country to the 2018 World Cup final in the calendar year.

[ EFL CUP: Liverpool vs. Chelsea highlights this week’s 3rd round ]

“It is a great honor and a beautiful feeling to stand here with this amazing trophy,” he said in his acceptance speech. “First of all, I would like to congratulate Mohamed [Salah] and Cristiano [Ronaldo]. I am sure in the future you will have another opportunity to fight for this trophy.

“This award is not just mine. It is my teammates from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches I would not have won this. Without my family I would not be the player I am today.”


Marta won the Women’s Best Player award, for the first time in her legendary career, after leading Brazil to glory at the 2018 Copa America and scoring 13 goals to go with six assists for her NWSL side, Orlando Pride.

“This means so much. It is not only about Marta but it is about my teammates and women’s football.

“It is amazing. For me, it is most important to see women’s soccer grow up each year. If I keep doing well and that can help outside of the field too then I am happy.”


Didier Deschamps, who guided France to its second World Cup title this summer, won the Men’s Best Coach award.


Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah won the 2018 Puskas award for the best goal scored, upsetting Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale who each scored a stunning bicycle kick for Madrid in Champions League play last season.


FIFPro Best XI

Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Eden Hazard (Chelsea)


London-born actor — and apparent England superfan — Idris Elba took home the award for best- (or worst-, depending on personal preference) dressed.

PL AT HALF: Stars shining across six 10 a.m. ET kickoffs

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We’ve seen goals, goals, goals across five of six Premier League matches which kicked off at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday.

[ MORE: Fulham draw Watford ]

There’s a lone nil-nil in the bunch, and that one’s offered promise of finish as well.

Manchester United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

A sensational first touch pass from Paul Pogba (see above) and a low drive from Fred have the Red Devils leading at Old Trafford.

Leicester City 1-1 Huddersfield Town

The struggling Terriers took a surprising early lead, but Kelechi Iheanacho had the score line before the break.

Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

The Saints were unable to use Liverpool loanee Danny Ings, and the attack is struggling to do anything while the Reds have goals from a Xherdan Shaqiri-prodded own goal for Wesley Hoedt and a follow-up marker from center back Joel Matip.

Mohamed Salah scored in stoppage time after a Liverpool free kick rang off the cross bar and bounced on the goal line for the Egyptian to deposit in the goal.

Cardiff City 0-3 Manchester City

Moments after Cardiff nearly found a shocking way into the champions’ goal, it was Sergio Aguero who restored order for Manchester City. Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan added goals before halftime.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Newcastle United

Chances for both sides at Selhurst Park, though the Eagles are holding control of it.

Burnley 2-0 Bournemouth

Matej Vydra and Aaron Lennon score two minutes apart to give Turf Moor a delightful halftime break.

Key battles for Tottenham vs. Liverpool

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Tottenham Hotspur host Liverpool on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) in a battle of last season’s third- and fourth-place finishers jockeying for the right to make a genuine challenge to Manchester City’s stranglehold on the Premier League title.

[ MORE: Premier League preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool ]

Tottenham were victorious at Wembley Stadium — site of Saturday’s clash — to the tune of 4-1 last October, courtesy of a Harry Kane brace and single goals from Dele Alli and Son Heung-min, before the two sides played to a memorable 2-2 draw at Anfield in February.

Three points for the home side would see Spurs pull level to the Reds on 12 points, while an away win would open the gap between Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino‘s to six points.


Harry Kane vs. Virgil Van Dijk

It’s the world most expensive defender taking on the center forward who would likely command the largest transfer should he hit the market. That’s blockbuster stuff, and rightly so as both Kane and Van Dijk so nearly have every quality you’d expect to see from the ideal player in their respective positions. Kane possesses the size, strength, hold-up and passing ability, craftiness and finishing touch to put any half-chance into the back of the net. Van Dijk, on the other hand, can engage Kane in the kind of physical battle that’s most likely to wear him out over 90 minutes, while simultaneously sticking right alongside him in the open field. Kane won’t often find himself too far from Van Dijk on Saturday, which could mean he’s in for a long, hard day.


Danny Rose or Ben Davis vs. Mohamed Salah

Pochettino has a big choice to make at left (wing) back — as is the case nearly every time out. Typically blessed with a pair of options which offer a night-and-day contrast to one another, Salah is the rare instance of an opponent for whom the Spurs boss truly needs a more well-rounded option. Rose’s attacking tendencies fit part of one gameplan that says the best way to defend Salah is to pin him back by overlapping on his side, but his lack of defensive discipline will almost certainly see him caught out of position a number of times, for which Salah will surely punish him. Davies’ defensive discipline will keep him in the right spots to at least slow Salah and make him work, but his lack of range and inability to change direction won’t allow him to stay in front of the Egyptian — not to mention all of the wide attacking play Spurs lose when he’s picked over Rose, thus inviting constant pressure on the backline as a whole.


Mousa Dembele vs. Naby Keita

Dembele is the soccer equivalent of American football’s “downhill runner”: the type of player who needs the first step or two to be unimpeded in order to generate a bit of moment, who’s then nearly impossible to slow down or take the ball off him once he begins to barrel forward. In his six-plus seasons at Spurs, Dembele has singlehandedly dragged his side to victory on dozens of days, while he’s been rendered completely ineffective on just as many others. It’s tempting to make Eric Dier — who’s far less comfortable and dynamic with the ball at his feet — the target of a press, but it’s Dembele who can be slowed to a crawl and subsequently blunt the entire Spurs attack. Keita will again be the one tasked with triggering the Reds’ high press, and he should made to stick on Dembele from the first to final whistles.

He could’ve scored six: Salah shines for Egypt

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Mohamed Salah had a night.

Returning to Egypt for the first time since the World Cup, Salah scored twice and added two assists in a 6-0 win over Niger in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. He also missed two penalties, converted the rebound of one.

[ MORE: Maguire extends time at Leicester ]

The video doesn’t lie: The Egyptian superstar probably could’ve scored as many as six goals (and Niger’s defense was terrible). That estimate may even be conservative.

It started with Salah missing a first minute penalty, but this video shows just how dominant of a performance was put forth by the Liverpool star. Regardless of opponent, it should be eye-opening for those who think his incredible season with the Reds was simply a product of Jurgen Klopp‘s system.

Salah’s dispute with Egyptian FA not over

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CAIRO (AP) Mohamed Salah has revived a months-long dispute with soccer authorities in his native Egypt, accusing them of ignoring his complaints about their unauthorized use of his image.

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The dispute over image rights and lingering tensions over his treatment during the World Cup have cast doubt on whether Salah, the top scorer in England’s Premier League last season, will continue playing on the national team.

“It’s normal that a football federation seeks to solve the problems of its players so they can feel comfortable. But in fact, what I see is exactly the opposite,” the Liverpool winger tweeted Sunday.

“It is not normal that my messages and my lawyer’s messages are ignored. I do not know why all this (is happening)? Do you not have time to respond to us?!” he added.

Egypt’s football association said in a statement it would discuss Salah’s demands Monday.

Ramy Abbas, Salah’s agent, said he and his client have asked for guarantees regarding the 26-year-old’s “well-being” while on the national team and assurances that his image rights won’t be violated again. “Enough is enough,” Abbas tweeted.

Salah’s tweet was widely shared in Egypt, where he is seen as a national hero.

Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris called for the resignation of the football association’s board members.

“Treating an Egyptian figure like Mohamed Salah who raised his country’s name in an unprecedented way should not have been like that… Resign and relieve us after the abject failure,” Sawiris tweeted Monday.

The dispute first surfaced in April when the Egyptian national team prominently featured Salah’s image on its plane, which was provided by official team sponsor WE. Salah has a sponsorship deal with a rival telecommunications firm, Vodafone.

At the time, Youth and Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz announced that all of Salah’s demands would be met following an emergency meeting of the football association’s board. Farag Amer, head of parliament’s Youth and Sports committee, said President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi had ordered that the dispute be quickly resolved.

Salah is due to be back in international action under new coach Javier Aguirre in September, with Egypt facing Niger in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

But his participation could be in doubt.

Salah’s relationship with the association has been strained since he was apparently used as a political symbol while the World Cup squad was based in Chechnya. In June, two people close to Salah told The Associated Press that the player has been considering retiring from international play.

Salah was said to have been particularly annoyed by a dinner banquet hosted by Ramzan Kadyrov, the ruler of the Russian region of Chechnya, in which he granted the Egyptian “honorary citizenship.”

Salah was criticized in British media after posing for photos with Kadyrov, who has repeatedly been accused of human rights abuses, including torture and the killing of political opponents. Kadyrov denies the allegations.