January 14th, 2015

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Atleti keep getting snubbed for awards

Despite producing one of football’s biggest miracles last season, Diego Simeone's warriors received little acknowledgement in Zurich – unlike their city rivals
by Carlo Garganese

Real Madrid dominated the awards at the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday to cement their status as the best team in club football. Cristiano Ronaldo roared his way to yet another Ballon d’Or in the main category – becoming only the fourth player in history to win the prize three times. James Rodriguez scooped the Fifa Puskas Award for best goal of 2014, Carlo Ancelotti took silver in the Fifa World Coach of the Year, while four Madrid players were selected in the FIFPro World XI (including Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria). A further three Madridistas made the FIFPro reserve XI.

Despite clinching a stunning Liga title win on a limited budget, Real’s city rivals Atletico - who they welcome to Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday in the Copa del Rey - enjoyed next to no recognition in Zurich.

Only two Atletico-related players, Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois, were chosen on the Ballon d’Or’s original 23-man shortlist, both of whom went to Chelsea in the summer. The striker received just 1.02 per cent of the vote and finished in 11th position. The goalkeeper earned only 0.51% and was down in 20th place.

Diego Godin, Miranda and Filipe Luis were all ignored when Fifa and France Football drew up their long list, despite forming the best club defence in Europe last season. The omission of Godin, in particular, is inexplicable after he eliminated Italy at the World Cup, scored the goal that won La Liga, and also struck in the Champions League final. Midfield masters Arda Turan and Koke were also overlooked.

All of these above players were also snubbed for the Fifa FIFPro World XI, with only Courtois making the reserve selection. The FIFPro XI is one of the most democratic awards in football - voted for globally by over 23,000 professional footballers. Contrary to public opinion, it is not influenced by Fifa or politics at all and there is no shortlist to steer players. Yet Godin and Miranda were shunned, while David Luiz - part of the Brazil team humiliated by Germany at the World Cup - made the cut.

The Atletico defensive pair's omission for Luiz was a point of ridicule shared both by fans and pundits. Arda and Koke must be raising the same question about the inclusion of an ageing Andres Iniesta. Could it be that Atletico’s cynical style of play wins them few friends in the football fraternity? Or simply that many in football vote on reputation, not achievement?

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Aaron #4

GAME WEEK #22! - Wednesday Night Football


Asian Cup - Jan. 15th Games

Group C - UAE, Iran, Bahrain, Qatar
Game 2 of 3

15 Jan 2015
06:00pm (7am UTC)
Bahrain v United Arab Emirates
Canberra Stadium

15 Jan 2015
08:00pm (9am UTC)
Qatar v Iran
Stadium Australia (Sydney)

Original Game Times are AEDT (UTC+11). Times in parentheses are UTC.
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