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Explaining Ronaldo, Messi no show for FIFA awards

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For the last decade either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo have been crowned the best player on the planet, winning the coveted award five times each and finish second on the other five occasions.

On Monday in London, FIFA’s TheBest award went to Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric at the glitzy award evening in London, with Ronaldo finishing second and Mohamed Salah third. Messi wasn’t even nominated among the top three despite an incredible last 12 months, and that was one of several bizarre decisions as votes were counted by national team coaches, captains and selected journalists and officials from around the world.

Neither Messi nor Ronaldo were present to applaud Modric, as they both decided not to attend the event with Messi citing “personal reasons” on the morning of the event and he remained in Spain ahead of Barcelona’s trip to Leganes on Wednesday. While Ronaldo pulled out due to Juventus’ busy schedule as they have a Serie A game on Wednesday.

Ronaldo knew it was unlikely he would win the award after Modric was handed the best player award by UEFA and won the Golden Ball as the best player at the World Cup this summer, while Messi’s goal was in the running for the Puskas award but lost out to Mo Salah’s striker against Everton.

At many of the previous events it has been too close to call between Messi and Ronaldo as to who will win the best player on the planet. But this was the first time in a decade the award was destined to go elsewhere.

But should they have shown up on Monday?

Both Messi and Ronaldo were included in the FIFPro World 11 and the other nine players included in that team turned up. Granted, it was easier for the three Premier League players (Eden Hazard, N'Golo Kante and David De Gea) to make it, but four Real Madrid players still showed up, plus Kylian Mbappe and Dani Alves from elsewhere in Europe. Real Madrid play on Wednesday, so too do PSG and Chelsea and Man United, but their players turned up.

Can we really criticize Messi and Ronaldo for not showing up in London?

Both players have given us so much joy over the years and this is only one awards ceremony (and a slightly confusing and long-winded one at that), but what does their inability to show up when they haven’t won the main award suggest?

Are they simply so trophy orientated that they can’t bear the thought of being in a room full of the greatest players and coaches on the planet and not winning the top prize? Or did scheduling issues really stop them from turning up?

It could be as simple as the latter but it leaves a slightly sour taste in the mouth to think that Messi and/or Ronaldo believe they don’t have time to waste to attend an awards ceremony celebrating not only their greatness but that of others, when they don’t have a chance of winning the main award.

Giuseppe Rossi faces one-year ban for doping case in Italy

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ROME (AP) Former Italy forward Giuseppe Rossi’s injury-plagued career has taken another negative turn with a positive doping test.

[ MORE: United’s net debt rises

Italy’s anti-doping agency Nado Italia announced on Tuesday that Rossi will stand trial next week after testing positive for an eye drug that can be used as a masking agent.

The anti-doping prosecutor is seeking a one-year ban.

The test was taken in May while Rossi played for Genoa at the end of the last Serie A season.

Rossi is currently out of contract.

Dorzolamide, the substance that Rossi tested positive for, is not banned when administered with eye drops but Rossi told anti-doping authorities that he did not use eye drops when he was questioned twice, in June and July.

Rossi had no immediate comment.

The 31-year-old Rossi was born in the United States but played for Italy from 2008-14. His career has been slowed by a series of knee injuries.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

VIDEO: Gervinho scores incredible goal for Parma

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Yes, that Gervinho.

The former Arsenal and Roma forward scored an absolute beauty for Parma in Serie A on Saturday, with the Ivory Coast forward (who spent the last two years playing in China) putting down a marker for the Goal of the Season in Italy’s top-flight.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

Gervinho picked the ball up just outside his own box and then drove forward, beating several Cagliari players before slamming a shot off the inside of the near post.

Take a look at the video above to see the stunning solo goal which sealed Parma’s 2-0 win as their impressive start to life back in Serie A continues as they sit in seventh place in the table after promotion last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo sweating on UEFA’s match report over ban

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Cristiano Ronaldo is still unsure whether he will get a homecoming at Old Trafford next month.

Ronaldo, 33, was sent off for Juventus in their 2-0 win at Valencia in their UEFA Champions League opener in Spain on Wednesday.

That means that Ronaldo is definitely suspended for Juve’s next UCL clash against Young Boys on Oct. 2, but he could miss additional matches depending on what is in the referees report.

UEFA will examine what was in the report and the reason for Ronaldo’s red card and then decide if an additional suspension is required.

The red card itself was an extremely bizarre decision.

Ronaldo jostled with Jeison Murrillo in the box and after the Colombian defender fell to the ground, Ronaldo appeared to put his hand on Murrillo’s head. Then he was sent off. Seriously. That was it.

The Portuguese superstar reacted angrily by throwing himself to the ground, bursting into tears and then failing to get off the pitch in time as he was astounded by the decision.

Seeing Juve take on his former club Manchester United at Old Trafford on Oct. 23 was going to one of the top storylines from the UCL group stage this season.

We aren’t sure if Ronaldo will get a chance to get a warm reception from United’s fans as he’s still adored for leading them to the UEFA Champions League title in 2008 and three-straight Premier League trophies before he left for Real Madrid.

Not an ideal situation for Ronnie, but he still has some hope that a glitzy homecoming will happen.

Allegri wants VAR, Bonucci doubts ref vision on Ronaldo red

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Sky Sports in Italy says its lip readers confirm that Cristiano Ronaldo’s sending off Wednesday was down to tugging the hair of Jeison Murillo while the Valencia man was on the turf.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci wasn’t too impressed, even after his club went on to win 2-0 in Spain.

[ UCL: Real rocks Roma, Man City falls ]

“As far as I could see, it was a pretty normal clash,” Bonucci said. “Murillo put his hands on Ronaldo first, he reacted, but these things can happen and we must be stronger than everyone and everything.

“Ronaldo was angry, of course. The referee saw what he saw – not very well – and we overcame the obstacles.”

Juventus boss Max Allegri wants to take it a step further.

Juve is no stranger to calling for VAR, and Allegri is upset that the Portuguese megastar will miss at least one more match due to the red card (and could miss his Manchester United reunion should his suspension go beyond one match). From Football-Italia.net:

“I can only say that VAR would’ve helped the referee in this decision,” Allegri said. “Going down to 10 men in the Champions League for an incident like that is disappointing. We risked losing tonight with this and we’ll miss him for the next games too.”

It all pales in comparison to the vitriol seething out of Ronaldo’s sister, who reportedly posted on Instagram that “there will be a high price” for his tears, adding that “God never sleeps.”