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Friday, August 29, 2014

Ronaldo wins best player in Europe award

MONACO — Cristiano Ronaldo has won UEFA’s award as the best player in Europe last season after scoring a record 17 goals in the Champions League.

The Real Madrid and Portgual forward beat Bayern Munich pair Manuel Neuer of Germany and the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben.

The voting was by journalists from UEFA’s 54 member countries at the Champions League groups draw event.

Ronaldo also ensured Portugal qualified for the World Cup by scoring a memorable hat-trick in a playoff win against Sweden.

Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Franck Ribery previously won the award first presented in 2011.

UEFA created the prize after the original European Footballer of the Year honour, known as the Ballon d’Or, merged with FIFA’s world player award.

Nadine Kessler of Germany won the women’s award.

CAMBIASSO JOINS LEICESTER. Former Argentina and Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso has joined Leicester City on a one-year deal, the English Premier League club said yesterday.

Cambiasso, 34, was a free agent after being released in the close-season by Inter, where he spent 10 years and won five Serie A titles and the Champions League.

He made more than 50 appearances for Argentina in an 11-year international career, and scored one of the goals of the tournament at the 2006 World Cup, finishing off a 26-pass move in an 6-0 rout of Serbia.

Cambiasso began his playing career at Independiente, before having spells at River Plate and Real Madrid.

He could make his debut for promoted Leicester in Sunday’s home game against Arsenal.

BALOTELLI WARNED BY CONTE. Mario Balotelli has some work to do to earn the respect of Italy coach Antonio Conte.

Conte told the Gazzetta dello Sport that he’s not sure Balotelli’s decision to move back to England is positive or not, “but I do know that whoever joins the national team must then deserve to stay there.”

Balotelli, Italy’s most talented and most temperamental forward, transferred from AC Milan to Liverpool on Monday.

Conte says “the man is more important than the footballer. Talent is secondary. First you’ve got to sacrifice yourself for the squad.”

Balotelli was criticized severely after Italy was eliminated after the first round of the World Cup under Cesare Prandelli, who then resigned.

Conte, who led Juventus to the last three Serie A titles, is a strict disciplinarian.

Herald staff with agencies

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