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By Steve Sutcliffe
The finest Fifa Football awards were full of elegance, elegance and swankiness in the Teatro alla Scala of Milan.
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and also barcelona’s Lionel Messi came up trumps at the coach groups of men and the men’s player.
United States ahead Megan Rapinoe won the women’s player, together with her international boss Jill Ellis claiming the women’s coach award.
But there was lots going on away from the handing from these prizes, from the tactics of voting to some high-profile no-show and just one or two notable outfits.
With more than 400 managers, players and press representatives voting for the top men’s player (each selecting a initial, second and third choice), Cristiano Ronaldo unusually discovered common ground with Mauritania captain Abdoul Ba along with his Eswatini counterpart Dlamini Banele.
How, you might ask? They were the only few people to pick Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt as their first choice for player of the year.
Was it a case of strategic voting from Ronaldo, who was able to exclude winner Lionel Messi from his three? Or a show due to his Juventus team-mate that is current?
In the 2018 voting Ronaldo also omitted his old rival Messi favouring Real Madrid colleague Raphael Varane.
Messi did comprise Ronaldo because his second choice behind Sadio Mane. The other candidate for the men’s player award, Virgil van Dijk, went ahead of his Liverpool team-mates Mohamed Salah and Mane with Messi.
Speaking of Ronaldo…
There was a strange moment when the Fifa Fifpro Men’s Team of the Year was announced.
Ten titles were read out, in formation. Ten players – all present on the point – lined upward. And the hosts moved on to the prize.
The absentee? Ronaldo, whose name wasn’t known but whose improvement has been supported by Fifa’s official site.
So was that the Portugal captain not there? Juventus travel to Brescia on Tuesday, only 24 hours after director Maurzio Sarri and the glitzy service has suggested Ronaldo may not comprise because of muscular fatigue.
The journey was made by juve team-mate De Ligt to Milan, and it is a fantastic point awarded its location between Brescia and Turin.
Messi is expected to be in action on Tuesday, a home game for Barcelona against Villarreal. His flight home to Spain could have taken more then Ronaldo’s drive back to Turin.
Whatever the reason for his lack, Ronaldo was happy on Tuesday evening, submitting this Instagram message as the ceremony was reaching its completion.
“Patience and persistence are two characteristics that distinguish the professional from the amateur,” he said.
“Everything that’s big now has begun small. You can not do all, but do whatever you can to make your dreams come true. And bear in mind that after night always comes sunrise.”
In a year after a member of the team of director Marcelo Bielsa was caught spying outside the practice ground of Derby County, a fair play award for Leeds appeared distinctly unlikely.
However, also their manager that was 64-year-old and the Championship club – who called a news conference to explain his own hacking in meticulous detail – were rewarded following the Circuit’s intervention during their match against Aston Villa at the end of last year.
While Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia sought care, with Villa’s players quitting in the anticipation the ball would be kicked 31, mateusz Klich had scored for Leeds.
Bielsa ordered his players to allow Villa to equalise instantly.
Former England defender Micah Richards was definitely amazed by the improbable turn of events. “That has got to be a joke!” He explained on BBC Radio 5 Live.
His captain Harry Kane and england director Gareth Southgate were almost at among their own selections. Although the Tottenham ahead Kane picked Van Dijk moment both plumped for Ronaldo, Messi and Virgil Van Dijk.
Scotland head coach Steve Clarke went together along with his captain Andy Robertson choosing Liverpool team-mate Van Dijk ahead of Mane and Frenkie de Jong, with Kylian Mbappe, Van Dijk along with Sadio Mane.
Wales manager Ryan Giggs went to Messi Ronaldo and Van Dijk, while former priest Ashley Williams chosen for Eden Hazard Van Dijk and De Jong.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill picked Mohamed Salah, Van Dijk and Messi, and ruler Steven Davis went to Messi, Van Dijk and Mane.
While Manchester City became the first English club to acquire a national treble in 2018-19, they barely registered a mention in the awards ceremony.
They had eight players shortlisted for your Fifa Fifpro Men’s World11 but Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling were overlooked.
So was supervisor Pep Guardiola, who lost out at the men’s coach group to Klopp.
Documenting the second-highest points tally at Premier League history – 98 – and – winning three big trophies isn’t really enough.
Aside from light displays, there were some notable outfits on screen. Perfect time given the ceremony happened on the final afternoon of Milan Fashion Week…
A story of greed, deceit and herd insanity
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