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Getting to know Cristiano Ronaldo
Editorial

Getting to know Cristiano Ronaldo

Everybody is aware of what Cristiano Ronaldo is capable on the pitch, so in his FIFA 'The Best' interview he preferred to discuss his favourite things off of it.

Opening up on everything from his favourite music to his favourite dish his mom prepares, the Real Madrid legend was thrilled with his latest award.

Here is the quick Q and A:

What is the best goal of your career?

I normally say whichever was the last one I scored - that's always the most important one.

Best part of being Cristiano Ronaldo?

Making so many people happy.

Best defender you ever played against?

It is difficult to only mention one. I've faced so many fantastic defenders.

Best day of your life?

When my son was born.

Best pump-up song?

I don' t have just one song, but a lot of them. I like upbeat music, like reggaeton.

The best thing your son has ever said to you?

Papa, I love you and you are the best in the world.

Best city in Portugal?

Funchal, on the island of Madeira.

Best stadium to play in?

Santiago Bernabeu.

Best dish your mother prepares for you?

Cod!

Iniesta called Real Madrid players to apologise for FIFA awards snub

With Barcelona aware of the upset that was caused by their non-attendance at FIFA's 'The Best' awards, captain Andres Iniesta personally phoned Real Madrid's players to apologise for it.

Barcelona directors did attend 'The Best' ceremony in Zurich, although the players did not, with the club insisting that it was due to preparations for their upcoming domestic games.

During his call to Real Madrid's players, Iniesta made it clear that the decision had nothing to do with them and was due to differences with their own club's hierarchy.

However, with or without the apology, the non-attendance by the Blaugrana did not sit well whatsoever with Real Madrid, with the club's directors considering it a betrayal of sorts.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was the least critical of Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez not turning up, Luka Modric refused to talk about it and Cristiano Ronaldo pulled a joke about the situation.

At boardroom level, the relationship between the El Clasico rivals was already virtually non-existent, with no real dialogue existing between the clubs.

The Real Madrid hierarchy were also unhappy with Barcelona not attending, with their belief being that any winners and finalists should attend the event.

It wasn't just Los Blancos who were irked by it though with a former Barcelona player voicing his annoyance, with current Juventus defender Dani Alves attending to receive his award for placing in the FIFPro Best XI.

"They've left me alone here with Real Madrid [players]," said the Brazilian. "They should have come."

Simeone: To be in the quarter-finals matters more than this defeat

It was a bittersweet night for Atletico Madrid as they advanced to the final eight of the Copa del Rey despite losing on the night against Las Palmas, but Diego Simeone wasn't too upset about conceding Tuesday's second leg.

Los Rojiblancos held a 2-0 lead from their first leg win, but fell to a 3-2 defeat at the Estadio Vicente Calderon as a result of two last gasp goals from the Canary Islanders.

"It's never nice to lose, but the positive of being in the quarter-finals is greater than the negative of this defeat," an optimistic Simeone explained in his post-match press conference.

"The final five minutes weren't good.

"Yet I will take away plenty of positives from the match."

Before the second leg, the Argentine had made a point of warning against complacency and he told reporters that his pre-match concern had been proven justified.

"I'm not surprised at all that something like this has happened in the cup, as I was saying yesterday," he said.

Analysing the more pleasing aspects of the evening, the 46-year-old pointed to the impressive performance of Angel Correa, who scored Atletico's second.

"I thought it was a complete performance from the whole team," Simeone told the assembled media

"[Correa] kept up his improvement, as he always creates chances and is always working towards a goal.

"He'll be important going forward."

Antoine Griezmann's display was also discussed, with the Frenchman scoring for the third match in a row even though he had missed Monday's training to attend FIFA's 'The Best' ceremony.

"When [Griezmann] scores it looks like he's playing better, but there are some matches where he doesn't score despite also playing better," the Rojiblanco coach pointed out.

"Obviously, though, it's better for us if he scores.

"Today he opened up the match."

The 4-3 aggregate result means that Atletico will be in the quarter-final draw and means they can prepare for Saturday's LaLiga match against Real Betis with a bit of momentum.

Luis Enrique hits out at Cristiano Ronaldo's FIFA 'The Best' comments

In his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Luis Enrique didn't have time for questions about Cristiano Ronaldo being awarded FIFA's 'The Best' award.

The Real Madrid winger had indeed declared himself the best after being given the trophy after a stellar 2016, but Barcelona's Asturian boss was less than impressed.

"I'm very lucky because I haven't had the time to watch much TV in the past week, so I must have missed the type of spectacle and shows that people tell me about," Luis Enrique said referring to Ronaldo's win.

Some journalists began to laugh during Luis Enrique's answer, to which he replied that he was dead serious in his usual straightforward, no-nonsense manner.

Rio authorities call for urgent action after Maracana looting

Football officials in Rio de Janeiro have called on police to take urgent action to stop what they called "the destruction of the Maracana" after valuables were looted from the famous old stadium.

Fire extinguishers, hoses, televisions and even a bronze bust of Mario Filho, the journalist after whom the stadium was named, were among the items stolen, the Rio de Janeiro Football Federation said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The worries over the present and the future of the stadium are only increasing," the Federation said.

The stadium, which underwent costly modernisations for the 2014 World Cup and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games, has been unused since late last year with no-one taking responsibility for its upkeep.

Pictures published in Rio newspapers showed seats missing and the turf dry, worn and filled with ruts and holes.

O Globo said that windows inside the stadium were smashed, doors will not shut properly, and copper wiring has been stolen from walls and ceilings.

The Federation has arranged to meet with the city's clubs on Jan. 17 to discuss what to do about managing the stadium, but its president said more urgent action is required or that meeting will be too late.

"If there is not an immediate government intervention to stop the looting and the destruction of the Maracana then it might not even be worth meeting on the 17th," Ruben Lopes said.

The ground, which also hosted the final match of the 1950 World Cup, was used by all of Rio's big four teams, Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama, but has lain empty as clubs and authorities fight over who will manage it.

Infantino defends 48-team World Cup: More countries can dream

After winning the vote on his proposal to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has spoken of the optimism it will provide smaller countries.

The additional 12 teams qualifying for the showpiece will chiefly come from Asia, North America, and Africa, with the Swiss chief stating that Europe and South America must share the spotlight on the global stage.

"More countries can dream," expressed Infantino to reporters after the announcement. "There is nothing bigger in terms of boosting football in a country than participating in a World Cup.

"We must design the competition to the 21st Century, football is not just for Europe and Latin America.

The good thing is that the expanded tournament will still take place in 32 days and 12 stadiums, with the winning team required to play just seven games."

While admitting that the official extra allocation to each confederation is yet to be determined, the FIFA president addressed claims that money was the driving force behind the decision.

"It's hard to know what the economic situation will be in a few years," he said.

Valverde: No one thinks Barcelona have won a lot because of referees

In the lead up to the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 tie between Barcelona and Athletic Club, Ernesto Valverde has weighed into the refereeing controversy highlighted by Gerard Pique over the last two games.

Athletic's coach believes that, in fact, it's all part of the game and no one should be getting carried away with the standards of officials at this point.

"Barcelona have won a lot of titles and nobody has thought it was because of the referees," he said to reporters in his pre-match press conference.

"It's a part of the game, we all have that selective look that makes us see penalties in the opposing area - but we do not see ours.

"It's about playing the game and enjoying it and the noise from the outside does not destabilise us."

The game will be underscored by a pressure that everyone will be feeling and the Camp Nou will be a cauldron for opposing players who are looking to knock out the cup holders.

"I'm expecting a high voltage match and a very strong starting Barcelona who want to make up for disappointment of the last two games," Valverde continued.

Already without Raul Garcia and Ander Iturraspe after both were sent off in the first leg, danger man Inaki Williams has gone down with a fever and is unlikely to play as a result.

Villalibre has been training with a view to taking Williams' place in the side and it's just one more headache for a coach who also has fixture congestion to contend with.

Last Thursday the match against Barcelona ended almost at midnight and the team played at noon on Sunday against Alaves.

On Wednesday, Athletic will return from Barcelona at dawn and on Saturday they will play in Leganes at 13:00 CET.

"There is a lot of wear and tear because we have a week of matches in a row with certain schedules that condition us ... it seems that they are scheduled like that on purpose," Valverde concluded.

 
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