Head coach of the Atletico Madrid senior team, Diego Simeone has weighed in on the drama building up regarding the next person to be crowned the winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2016.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the man leading the race following his sterling performances in the past season for Real Madrid and for his efforts at leading his country Portugal to glory.

Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba even joined to proclaim that Ronaldo is the man for the crown this year. He said he “played against Cristiano in the Champions League final in 2008; he won with Manchester United against Chelsea. He is a true leader and he deserves the Ballon d’Or for the great work he has done for Real Madrid and Portugal.” The Ivory Coast international claimed that though the player couldn’t play for long in the final, that he remained the biggest reason they got there in the first place. The three-time winner is also piped by Neymar, a team mate of Ronaldo’s main arch rival, Lionel Messi, to win the crown this year.

He said “winning titles plays a big role in the race for the Ballon d’Or. Ronaldo won the Champions League and now Euro 2016 as well. So I reckon he is in a good position.”
Ronaldo won the award, believed to be the most prestigious individual award in football, in 2008, 2013 and 2014. For the past eight years, he and Lionel Messi have been jostling for first and second place, except once when Ronaldo was out of the top three. Messi is still the record winner with five times but his form reduced in the past season prompting a snub from the award this year.

Diego Simeone feels Griezmann who led the team to the Champions League final, scoring 32 goals in all competitions that helped the team to third place in the La Liga and leading France to the final of the Euro 2016, should at least be among the top three if he doesn’t eventually win.

Ephraim Mashaba claimed that he is extremely happy

South African coach Ephraim Mashaba claimed that he is extremely happy with the performance given by his team in the game against Gambia.

After back-to-back draws in the qualifying games against Cameroon, South Africa were in desperate need of three points in order to put them back into contention for reaching the tournament final. It certainly came in the form of a 4-0 win. The timing of the victory could not have been much better, as South Africa have now moved within a point of second placed Mauritania.

Only the top two teams qualify for the final with the second team having to go through play-offs.
At this stage,Mashaba will be happy even with reaching the play-offs. Cameroon have a substantial lead in the table, as they are a further four points away fromMauritania.

South Africa’s final qualification match will be againstnone other than Mauritania. It will be a do or die game for the Bafana Bafana, who were extremely good in the game against Gambia according to their manager. If South Africa failed to reach the African Cup of Nations next year, it may lead toMashaba’s position coming under review. The 4-0 win over Gambia was the biggest win during the African Cup of Nations 2017 qualifier.

“That was total football from the boys and it only goes to show the amount of potential we have in the country. Winning by such a massive margin and away from home shows this team can go places. Since our arrival here in Banjul, Gambia had constantly warned us that they wanted to humiliate us to finish the campaign on a high. But my boys had other ideas; their desire to win, the hunger in their eyes and will to do something special was there for all to see,” saidMashaba.

Ephraim Mashaba promised some key changes to the national team

South African national team manager Ephraim Mashaba promised some key changes to the national team squad for the upcoming Cosafa Cup in Namibia.

This will be the precursor to the 2018 World Cup qualifying games for the South African national team. Hence,Mashaba has hinted that he may use this tournament as a preparation for the qualification campaign that starts in September. South Africa may be one of the strongest teams going into theCosafa Cup, but the big prize that awaits them is the World Cup. After having featured in the 2010 edition when they were the hosts, South Africa will want to experience the joy once again.

The national team has been on an extremely good run in the last few months. They have suffered just the one loss against Angola in the last eight games of all competitions. This, however, does make them look like proper contenders for the African Cup of Nations, which begins in 2017. Only the games against Gambia and Mauritania remain for the national team, who are winless so far. South Africa have drawn all their three games to sit third in the table. Only the top two teams from the group can take part in the African Cup of Nations.

“After long deliberations with the other coaches regarding the Cosafa Cup, we came to the conclusion that we must use this tournament to build our future teams.Many a time we as national team coaches always talk about how little time we have with the players ahead of a big game and how we didn’t have enough time to prepare but now we have ample time to do that. The 2016 squad for the Cosafa Cup is mainly made up of u23 players,” said Mashaba. TheCosafa Cup starts on June 11 and ends on 25th.

Kaka praises Cristiano Ronaldo

Brazilian and former Real Madrid superstar Kaka says that his former teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, should be given more respect by the club’s supporters.

The Portuguese international is regarded as one of the finest players in world football. His presence at Madrid has coincided with a great competition in Spanish football and indeed across the world between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Even though the latter has slightly edged against the Portuguese, many feel that the differences between the two are marginal. Ronaldo has consistently been scoring more than 50 goals per season in the last few years.

He is on course to hitting this target once again in the 2015-16 campaign. However, there has been some discontent amongst Madrid supporters of late and this boiled over in the recent game against Celta de Vigo. Ronaldo was booed by a section of his own supporters, who appeared to be unhappy with the selfish attitude of the player. A number of occasions, Ronaldo’s intent to score goals has reduced his team’s chances of finding the back of the net. Kaka may not have scored a lot of goals during his couple of years at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he remains as a favourite amongst the supporters for being a team player first and foremost.

Kaka is now at Orlando City FC as one of the club’s designated players. “Cristiano is a great player and I’m not just talking about his quality, but what he has contributed to Real Madrid. I’d like to see supporters show more respect to Cristiano for what he has done for this club. Hearing people boo Cristiano is not right after everything he has done for this club. When you go out to play for Real Madrid you know what it’s like, it’s not just like that with Cristiano, it has been like that with (Zinedine) Zidane, Raul, (Iker) Casillas… it has always been like that,” said Kaka.

After a dire start of 2015, Ephraim Mashaba is pushing ahead with South Africa

The South African national football team struggled to clinch positive results in the start of 2015 as they lost against Algeria and Ghana while only being able to settle with draws when facing off with Senegal and Gambia.

These matches were played ranging from January of 2015 until June of that same year and this was a period of time when the South African national football team just couldn’t find a way to secure victories on a consistent basis.

This string of draws and defeats were the main reason of why Ephraim Mashaba was under heavy pressure for a particular period of time but despite these underwhelming results, the South African manager was confident that he was implementing the correct game-style with his squad.

Things have been going fairly better for Ephraim Mashaba and his team as they managed to overcome Angola as the South African national football team defeated Angola with an aggregate scoreboard of 4-1 which was more than enough for them to secure their spot into the last phase of the CAF World Cup qualifying.

South Africa is now 1 of the last 20 African nations that are still competing for their chance to get into the 2018 World Cup. This is a huge morale boost for Ephraim Mashaba and his squad, especially taking into consideration the dreadful campaign that they went through at the beginning of 2015 but have slowly managed to pick themselves up.

Ephraim Mashaba is particularly happy to see his squad perform better as the South African manager was under heavy pressure some time ago and was at the center of the media with rumors being splashed out involving him getting sacked but these rumors have been diminishing as Mashaba now has time and space to breath for a while.

Unsatisfactory results could lead with the dismissal of Ephraim Mashaba

Ephraim Mashaba has guided the South African national team to a number of underwhelming results which has put his managerial position of the squad in danger.

The 65 year old South African manager Ephraim Mashaba on numerous occasions has been labeled as someone who is ‘’detached from reality’’

Mashaba has recently been questioned by a number of journalists in regards to his decision of not voting in favor of Lionel Messi in relation to the latest Ballon d’Or nomination as Mashaba instead voted for C.Ronaldo but the problem is not that he casted his vote for the Portuguese superstar but that his , so in other words, Mashaba doesn’t consider Lionel Messi to be one of the top 3 players in the world.

Every person is free to vote for anyone they want but it’s extremely hard to believe that Messi is not the best performer out there.

The South African national team has recently been undergoing a string of underwhelming results that have put in danger the lifespan of Mashaba in his current position of the national side.

South Africa’s start in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers has been a frustrating one as they had to settle with a goal-less draw against Gambia and later lost when facing off with Mauritania in a match that concluded with the South African team losing 1-3.

The only way that South Africa can advance through the next African championship is if they are able to defeat Cameroon on their upcoming home and away matches which kick off in March.

Mashaba and his team struggled in 2015 as well after failing to deliver in the Nations Cup of that year with losses against Algeria and Ghana and drawing with Senegal.

Spain have the opportunity to become European champions

Spain have the opportunity to become European champions for a third successive time when they go to the Euro 2016 as the defending champions.

The incredible spell of trophies for the team started with the Euro 2008. This was their first major trophy in more than four decades. However, it did not take long for the national team to add more in the space of a few years, as they won the likes of the World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. The biggest disappointment for the national team after almost a decade came at the World Cup 2014 when they even failed to get past the group.

Vicente del Bosque has just announced his plans to retire from management after the end of the Euro 2016. His contract comes to an end in June and there has been a lot of speculation about his future. Rather than let the speculation continue, the former Real Madrid manager has tried to give the best opportunity for Spain to find a new man to run the national team. It also eliminates any confusion within the squad. Spain will need to go into the Euro 2016 with a clear head since they have a difficult group according to their manager. Spain will be facing Croatia, Czech Republic, and Turkey in this major tournament.

“We will go there with the aim of winning the Euro for the third consecutive time. It would be fantastic for Spanish football. No one has ever achieved this. However, we know we will have to face extraordinarily tough opponents.We’ve drawn two teams who played in the same group as the Netherlands and eliminated them — Turkey and the Czech Republic.Then we have to face Croatia, who are very strong and who, for me, are among the strongest teams at this tournament,” said del Bosque.

Johan Cruyff believes that the €80m price tag on Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is absurd

Former Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff believes that the €80m price tag on Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba appears to be absurd to him.

The French international is seen as one of the hottest properties in world football. He has been vital to Juventus’ resurgence in the domestic and European competitions. Last season, he almost help the Italian club to win all major titles on offer. It is believed that the player will seek a transfer from the Italian Serie A should Juventus not provide him the path to do so. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester City are some of the giants being linked with him.

All these clubs can easily afford the € 80 million reportedly demanded by Juventus. While Barcelona and Real Madrid have signed players for these figures, City easily have the biggest financial resources amongst all top clubs. However,Cruyfffeels that Pogba is certainly not worth this figure since he is yet to prove himself on a consistent level. The former Manchester United midfielder has been important to Juventus, but he has also been aided by the presence of players like Vidal and Carlos Tevez. It could be argued that their presence has made Pogba look like a much better player than he actually is.

“The figures seem to be absurd. €80 million for Pogba is absurd,” said the former Barcelona manager. City have reportedly submitted on offer in the region of £ 70 million. This would take the fee closer to 100 million in terms of euros. Signing the former United player for this amount of fee would ensure that their arch rivals receive a substantial windfall. Pogba joined Juventus on a free transfer after letting his contract with United expire. Juventus have already lost key players like Vidal and Tevez and they would not want to rip up the entire spine of the team with the sale of Pogba.

Ephraim Mashaba has had a huge headache in recent days

South African manager Ephraim Mashaba has had a huge headache in recent days due to the lack of availability of training sessions and players ahead of the crucial match with Mauritius.

South Africa take on Mauritius in the 2016 Chan qualifiers. This is the preliminary round with South Africa aiming to reach the group stages without fail. The game against Mauritius could be a potential banana skin especially due to the recent developments.Mashaba had to contend with the withdrawal of as much as 10 players ahead of the game. Clubs like Kaizer Chiefs decided to recall their players just ahead of this game.

This meant thatMashaba had to cancel the last few training sessions due to the lack of players. The manager has tried to balance the situation by bringing players from the likes of Platinum Stars and M. Tigers. Bloemfontein Celtic are also expected to provide one more, which would bring the tally to 18 for the time being. Right now, South African do not have the sufficient number of players to even fill the bench. The disruption to the preparation could not have come at a much worse time forMashaba, as he had seen his team only get used to playing with each other under his tactics.

“It doesn’t matter who you play for or against, preparation is very crucial. Normally the day before the match we hold our practice session at the match venue where we are given about an hour, and there is not much you can do in that time, so we had to change the venue so we can have as much time to train as we want. But the flip side is that it is just 24 hours before a match so you also can’t over train – we had to try and find a balance,” said Mashaba.

Shakes Mashaba has come under fire

South Africa’s national team boss Shakes Mashaba has come under fire recently for his failure to take the national team past the group stages at the recent African cup of nations.

Since the country and the World Cup in 2010, there has been little progress made with regard to the national team. It was confirmed once again after a poor showing at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Despite being expected to at least reach the quarter-finals for beyond, South Africa did not even get past the group stages after falling to Equatorial Guinea.

Having been appointed as the replacement for Gordon Igesund only in August 2014, Shakes Mashaba has had a lot of questions about his ability to coach the national team.Mashaba will have a big test of his qualities when South Africa play against Nigeria and Swaziland in the friendly matches towards the end of March.Mashaba will have a great opportunity to put an end to the highly inconsistent form that the team has been showing. A victory against minnows Swaziland will not be seen as a major point, but getting success over former Africa Cup of Nations winner Nigeria will be a major boost to the confidence.

“I am Ephraim Mashaba. Those who still doubt my qualities of coaching the national team are wasting time. People are still questioning whether I am the right person to coach this team or not.Who is the right person? Who is the right person to coach this team? I am South African by nature, I deserve to be here.My colour doesn’t stop me from coaching the national team, I want people to know, it’s one section. I will deal with it with time,” said the manager, whose team’s last win came in a friendly against Zambia before the Africa Cup of Nations.