By Tim Stannard
1) Ronaldo’s hot streak week continues with golden goal
Not only is 500 the age that Cristiano Ronaldo is going to live to – and beyond – due to the Portuguese player’s perfect pampering routine. But it is also the number of club career goals the footballer has now scored for Sporting CP, Manchester United and Real Madrid over the years. The latest strike snuck in to seal a fairly cozy 2-0 semifinal win in the FIFA Club World Cup over Club America over in chilly Yokohama, Japan. The half-thousand total was reached in just 689 matches.
Real Madrid will not go on to play Kashima Antlers in Sunday’s final before going off on their Christmas vacations, when Coach Zizou will hope that a slump in form does not blight his team as it did with Carlo Ancelotti two years ago, after a Club World Cup sojourn.
2) Ronaldo waiting for Messi wedding invite
Ronaldo is dominating the interweb waves in Spain on another topic, too. And arguably one that is a heck of a lot more important. Will CR7 be invited to the wedding of Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo? Apparently, what appears as a mad, crazy notion could well happen with the pair getting on just fine these days as they head towards middle age.
Indeed, 2017 is set to be a big one for Messi as the football battles to win back the Ballon d’Or, choses napkins and invitation fonts and also sign a new deal with Barcelona. It’s on the cards for the next few months says club president, Josep Bartomeu, in an exclusive interview with beIN SPORTS on the XTRA on Thursday from 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
3) City wait on Gundogan knee news
On Thursday, Manchester City are set to see the extent of suspected knee ligament damage that saw German midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan, leaving Wednesday’s victory over Watford just before halftime. The injury was suffered to the same knee that was operated on in May which saw Gundogan’s debut with City delayed after a move from Borussia Dortmund.
4) Dutch delight on beIN SPORTS
A busy midweek continues in Europe with Genoa taking on a struggling Sampdoria in a Serie A catch-up game on Thursday that is live on beIN SPORTS from 2PM ET / 11AM PT. And making a welcome debut on the channel, it’s the Dutch Cup – KNVB as its mother calls it – with a clash between second tier Cambuur and the mighty Ajax. That game is on beIN CONNECT from 12:30PM ET / 9:30AM PT.
5) Europe poo-poos mega-team World Cup
Europe’s football clubs have given their thumbs down to the concept of an expanded 48-team World Cup, for all the good it will do them. The European Club Association (ECA) said that there are already too many games being played across the continent without even more being added.
The proposal from FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, is to be discussed at a meeting on 9th January, when the amount of money to be made from an increase in numbers will almost certainly be at the top of the decision-making agenda.