FIFPro World XI Named at Prestigious FIFA Best Awards Ceremony in London

Manchester United and Spain goalkeeper David de Gea is among the players to have been named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI for 2018, though there was a notable omission from the team – in Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

With the Best FIFA Football Award ceremony having taken place in London on Monday night, several players were recognised for their contributions to the sport over the past year.

The Spanish stopper joined Real Madrid stars Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo and Luka Modric in the world’s top side, while Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi was included as well.

Former Barca star defender Dani Alves, now at Paris Saint-Germain, made up the defensive line for the World’s best as Chelsea pair N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard were named among the best midfielders.

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The Blues midfielders have been two of the most impressive players in the Premier League and they both had incredible campaigns in the World Cup, with the former going on to win the trophy with France while the latter won bronze with Belgium.

New Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has also unsurprisingly made it into the prestigious 11 after another great year in Europe with Madrid, and French prodigy Kylian Mbappe would join him after a World Cup-winning summer.

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?Modric, who won the World Cup’s Golden Ball and was only recently named UEFA’s Player of the Year, has been handed yet another personal triumph off the back of an incredible season with Real and an impressive World Cup performance with Croatia.

The Croatian midfielder would also be presented with the night’s top award, being named the Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2018.

“This trophy is also for my family without who I would not be the player and person that I am,” he said. “Thanks to my fans all over the world for great support and love that they are showing me.”

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Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta Discusses Sarri’s Style & Backs Eden Hazard to Become Best in the World

?Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta believes that he is perfectly suited to Maurizio Sarri’s trademark style of football, also admitting that the tactics could help Eden Hazard become the best player of the system.

Sarri likes his players to press high up the field, which leaves the side in danger as his full backs are encouraged to push as far forwards as possible. Both Azpilicueta and left back Marcos Alonso have faced criticism this season after being caught out of position by opposing teams.

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Speaking to ?the? Daily Mail, ?Azpilicueta said: “I prefer to defend as far as possible up the pitch.

“It’s different and you can see we press very high, the defensive line is very high but that’s what we want. We want to be dominant in the game and recover the ball as quick as possible and enjoy the ball when we have it.

“You have the striker where you want him, as far as possible from the goal. These days, even when you are in the box you cannot feel safe because the quality the strikers have. It’s more complicated to defend there.”

He went on to praise teammate ?Hazard, who has netted five goals in his opening six games. He said: “I’m sure he can be the best. He has that quality of eliminating defenders. It’s amazing. 

“But this season he is adding goals and assists. Sometimes he was playing very good but maybe not selfish; he always gives passes to team-mates.

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“Eden has all the qualities to be the best. And his personality as well, the way he behaves. He’s the best player in the team but the way he respects everyone, he’s a normal person. 

“That’s amazing to have the best player and his behaviour and everyone loves him in the club. That’s as important as his work on the pitch.”

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?Chelsea enjoyed a perfect start to the new ?Premier League season, but a goalless draw with ?West Ham on Sunday saw drop his first points as Chelsea manager.

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Maurizio Sarri Admits Antonio Rudiger Is a Doubt Ahead of Liverpool Showdown

Antonio Rudiger is an injury doubt for Chelsea’s Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool on Wednesday, after Maurizio Sarri admitted the defender had picked up a knock in Sunday’s draw with West Ham.

The Germany international was forced off in the 69th minute and replaced by Gary Cahill, sparking fears over his availability for the Blues double header with Liverpool in the league and cup in the coming days.

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As quoted by ?Football.London, ?Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri assured fans that it was not a serious injury, but admitted that he is unsure exactly over how long the former Roma player will be out for.

Sarri said: ”I don’t know, I want to speak with the doctor, but I think nothing serious. Maybe three or four days, no more.”

Since signing for the Blues for a fee of £29m in the summer of 2017, Rudiger has been a consistent performer and notched 45 appearances in all competitions for the club last season. 

Chelsea have a difficult but crucial week ahead. They take on ?Liverpool at Anfield in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday night before again playing the Reds at Stamford Bridge in the ?Premier League. 

Judging by Sarri’s assessment, Rudiger is likely to miss the mid-week clash in what is expected to be a much changed Chelsea lineup anyway.

Asked about what type of Chelsea side will line up in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night at Anfield, Sarri said: ”I don’t know. They have played yesterday and have one day’s more rest than us.

“I don’t know. I want to see the picture of the situation tomorrow morning during the training session.”

Liverpool remain the only team with a 100% record in the Premier League this season, winning their first six Premier League matches.

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Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic Names the Former Man Utd Player He Idolises & Discusses Where He Can Improve

?Chelsea loanee Mateo Kovacic has admitted to watching videos of former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes to help him improve his game and prepare for life in the English top flight.

Kovacic joined the Blues on a season-long loan from Real Madrid this summer and has already featured five times for the Premier League club.

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Speaking to ?Sky Sports, the Croatian star said: “Every player has to be himself — but for me Scholes was one of the best ever.

“He was amazing. I still enjoy watching his videos on YouTube. Sometimes I go home and watch him to learn something new.

“He had everything, he was the modern midfielder — scoring goals, defending well, tackling.

“I don’t copy anybody but I do like to watch Scholes. I also watch other players to see what I can do better. Players like ?Luka Modric and Andres Iniesta, too.”

?Kovacic did admit that at least in one area he was a long way behind his idol Scholes; goalscoring.

While goals aren’t the most important element of a player like Kovacic’s game, the ?Chelsea midfielder does still have a surprisingly poor record of finding the net.

Scholes netted 155 times in 718 appearances for ?United, while Kovacic has scored just three in 110 appearances in all competitions. That gives him a goals per game ratio of just 0.02, compared with the 0.16 of Scholes.

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Kovacic said: “That is the problem in my career, I have not scored enough — and it’s something I need to improve on.”

Despite his lack of goals, the 24-year-old has still already had an illustrious career, having moved to ?Real Madrid in August 2015 where he has won the Champions League three times.

Kovacic was also part of the Croatia team that reached the World Cup final this summer, losing to France in the end.

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West Ham 0-0 Chelsea: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Blues Drop Points for the First Time This Season

West Ham and Chelsea were made to share the points in their first encounter of the season in a 0-0 draw at the London Stadium on Sunday.

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The Hammers grabbed their first win of the campaign against Everton at Goodison Park last weekend and were hoping to hand Manuel Pellegrini a second straight win in this contest.

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Maurizio Sarri’s Blues had won all of their previous matches in impressive fashion but were held scoreless in the first half, with West Ham having a right go at the visitors’ goal themselves.

West Ham were able to keep things level in the second half as well and actually got the best chance of the match, with Andriy Yarmolenko contriving to put a free header wide from point-blank range.

They were also handed two big chances in the first half but Michail Antonio put the first way off target and Kepa Arrizabalaga stuck out a foot to save his next shot from a few meters out.


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Key Talking Point

The Hammers did well to absorb the pressure and keep the Blues out as Chelsea controlled possession. However, they will rue their missed chances, especially the one thrown away by Yarmolenko who was the hero for them against Everton last time out.

Pellegrini’s men were able to defend well for most of the game and also sprang some neat counters with great pace when they nicked the ball off Chelsea. They will go into the week feeling like they should have topped the Blues on this particular occasion, given the glaring opportunities they were presented over the course of the match.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Fabianski (8); Zabaleta (7), Diop (8), Balbuena (7), Masuaku (8); Noble (7), Obiang (7), Rice (7); Anderson (7.5), Yarmolenko (6); Antonio (6.5)

Substitutes: Adrian, Cresswell, Snodgrass, Sanchez (N/A), Ogbonna, Fredericks, Perez (N/A)


Star Man

Lukasz Fabianski: Sure Alvaro Morata’s goalbound shot bounced off his face. But the fact is it was goalbound and the Blues would have likely nicked a 1-0 win if he hadn’t bravely rushed out to get in the way.

Fabianski also made a late dive to stop a very good shot from substitute Ross Barkley to keep a point for his struggling side and his overall performance was indeed encouraging.

Worst Player: Overall, Yarmolenko had a decent outing for the Irons, yet he has to go down as their worst player after missing such a sitter.

How he managed to get such a clear, unmarked aerial strike off target certainly baffles and it will probably dwell on his mind for some time.


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Key Talking Point

Chelsea dominated in the early going but took their foot off the gas approaching the end of the first half and allowed the Hammers the best chances in the period. They could have been behind 2-0 at halftime had Michail Antonio been more clinical.

Having started the match brightly, the Blues – possibly hung over from their Europa League exploits and delayed flight in midweek – looked a bit laboured heading into the second half.

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Eden Hazard was expected to have another great performance leading up to the match but the Belgian seemed more intent on giving Alvaro Morata a goal after the Spaniard came on in the second period.

Sarri’s insistence on playing N’Golo Kante out wide has finally proven somewhat ill-advised as the Frenchman did not look himself at all this time around and even spurned two good chances in the box.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Kepa (7); Azpilicueta (7), Luiz (7), Rudiger (8), Alonso (6.5); Jorginho (8.5), Kante (7), Kovacic (7), Willian (8); Hazard (7); Giroud (6)

Substitutes: Caballero, Cahill (N/A), Zappacosta, Moses, Fabregas, Barkley (7), Morata (6)


Star Man

Jorginho: The Brazilian was the man for Chelsea on a day when they played their poorest. Sarri’s summer signing controlled things in the middle of the park for his side and was helped by the fact that he was afforded loads of space.


Jorginho worked several impressive passes to unlock the Hammers’ defence and made a concerted effort to keep play moving forward. It’s very unfortunate that none of his remarkable passes did not end up being an assist.

 

Worst Player: Olivier Giroud had a terribly poor game up front for Chelsea and will look back on this one wishing he had done better. He was made to fight for scraps, admittedly, but he did fail to convert a good chance after being played in by Jorgino and hardly linked up with the rest of the attacking line as he has been known to do.

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The French forward was eventually taken off for Morata and didn’t look at all pleased. But he only has himself to blame after giving such a poor account of himself.


Looking ahead

The Hammers can feel pretty confident heading into their upcoming matches and can build on their defensive showing against the Blues.

As mentioned above, they will rue their missed opportunities, yet they should be proud of their efforts against a team such as Chelsea, who have been near perfect this season – barring Sunday’s performance.

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The Stamford Bridge side have a tough week ahead, with back-to-back fixtures against Liverpool coming up next week. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are the only team who haven’t dropped any points so far this season and will be playing Chelsea in the League Cup on Wednesday and in league action on Saturday.

Sarri will surely be concerned after being held by West Ham and it will be interesting to see his reaction in the next few games.

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