Sports Burst - Cristiano Ronaldo Takes Ballon d'Or Lead

Reuters

By Tim Stannard

 

CR7 lays down challenge to Leo Messi and Mo Salah in chase for next Ballon d'Or title 

 

It's never too soon to talk Ballon d'Or, the guilty secret of the soccer fan.

For as much as everyone tries to leap on the skateboard of superiority, claiming that it's impossible to give an individual award in a team sport...compare differing positions on the pitch...and that's a cheap click-gathering gimmick, the Ballon d'Or is a big, bag of fun. Especially when Luka Modric wins to unite the normally feuding Messi-Ronaldo clans. 

Which is why Monday sees Cristiano Ronaldo being the Joe Biden of the Ballon d'Or race with the Portuguese poacher taking a big lead in the race for the 2019 trophy. 

Sunday's UEFA Nations League win for Portugal - which included a hat-trick in the semis - has ticked the 'winning an international trophy' box. The season for CR7 for Juve was fairly solid with a Scudetto win and 21 goals in a maiden season in Serie A. It's enough to put Ronaldo in pole position. 

 

However, there is a long summer ahead for Leo Messi to win the Copa America with Argentina (in Brazil) or Mohamed Salah to add an Africa Cup of Nations title on home soil to a Champions League win with Liverpool. 

Oh, AFCON 2019 just so happens to be live and exclusive on beIN SPORTS from 21st June. 

The Ballon d'Or race is on and the Sports Burst live show is going to give it a big hug. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT. 

 

Neymar loses value as Ronaldo urges de Ligt to make Juventus move 

 

The statisticians have some gloomy news for PSG's bean-counters. 

Neymar's value has been calculated by the CIES Football Observatory to be in the region of around $135 million to $160 million due to a series of injuries that sees the footballer playing just 51% of PSG's games over two years, indiscipline and a scandal that has spooked sponsors. 

Cristiano Ronaldo makes a quick return to these pages with the footballer apparently multitasking at the UEFA Nations League final by suggesting to Dutch stopper, Matthijs de Ligt, that he swaps Ajax for Juventus this summer. "I was surprised by his request," admitted the in-demand defender who says he is now going on vacation to ponder his future. 

Real Madrid are reportedly happy to lower the asking price for James Rodriguez down from $50 million to allow Napoli the chance to snap up the footballer, who has been busy doing nothing with Bayern Munich while on loan for the past two years. 

 

Canada braces for double day of sizzling sporting success 

 

Day four of the Women's World Cup is nigh and sees Canada making its debut against Cameroon. Expectations for a strong showing at tournament are not enormously high this time around due to a combination of inexperience from a newbie-packed squad and a lack of goalscoring prowess. 

The same cannot be said for Japan who won the competition in 2011 and were runners-up in 2015. The Japanese are up against an Argentina side that has yet to win a World Cup match in its history. 

The South Americans have suffered a heck of a lot of turmoil and the team was actually disbanded for a lengthy period between 2015 and 2018 due to federation funding issues. 

 

Elsewhere in the wide, wide world of sport and there is also the small matter on Monday of the NBA Finals potentially being wrapped up by the Toronto Raptors. The Canadian outfit is 3-1 up in the series against the Golden State Warriors, playing on home territory and needs just the single victory to send Drake into a social media firestorm. 

A small shiny light in what could be a bleak evening for the Warriors is the return of Kevin Durant who trained on Sunday and has been given the official listing of 'questionable' for Monday's potentially deciding game.