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Breaking down the Ballon d’Or shortlist: Messi, Ronaldo and Neuer

ESPN FC’s Paul Mariner and Alexis Nunes weigh in on the Ballon d’Or and FIFPro Top Forwards shortlists.

The three finalists for the FIFA Ballon d’Or were announced on Monday: Lionel Messi, Manuel Neuer and Cristiano Ronaldo. Here’s a look at the stats that made them great in 2014 and the possible accomplishments that lie before them…

* After one goal in eight previous World Cup games, Lionel Messi scored four times at the 2014 World Cup and won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. He’s had 52 goals in 62 games for club and country this year, also adding the La Liga and Champions League… Read more ›

Five Aside: Messi sets second scoring record in a week with hat trick

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi becomes the Champions League all-time goals leader with 72.

Lionel Messi scored his 72nd, 73rd and 74th Champions League goals Tuesday against APOEL Nicosia in Cyprus, breaking Raul’s all-time record of 71 goals in the tournament.

Here are five stats on the Argentine’s scoring record.

* The hat trick scored against APOEL was Messi’s fifth career Champions League hat trick, two more than any other player in tournament history.

* In the 47 Champions League games where Messi has scored at least one goal, Barcelona is 38-2-7, losing to Celtic in 2012… Read more ›

CL draw system increases Group of Death chance

The Champions League draw pots for this evening are based on the UEFA coefficients for clubs at the end of last season. Those coefficients are based on a five year performance in European competition. In general, this system works reasonably … Continue reading Read more ›

Ze Germans are…Something?

Question of the day: What do you get when you cross a little original work, some very smart analysis by other writers, and niggling doubts about accepted soccer analytical theory? If you’re me, you get a headache, a desperate need for a nice California Zinfandel (sadly almost impossible to find in my part of the […] Read more ›

Introducing MiPMoP: On the Difference Between Bayern and Barca

This new blog of mine is slightly over a month old, and before the new car smell wears off completely I think it’s time I did a formal introduction for a concept that I’ve sort of left hanging around the edges of a handful of posts I’ve written. The concept is a simple one for […] Read more ›

Messi and Ronaldo – Clasico Special

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably the two best players of this generation. They go head-to-head for the 6th time this season. The intent of this post is to celebrate these two players on the eve of a Clasico. While both Messi and Ronaldo have scored 41 goals a piece so far, they following [...] Read more ›