cristiano yawp 2014 Ballon 2

There’s no doubt about this win. Cristiano Ronaldo was the world’s best player in 2014. Sure, he didn’t win the World Cup but neither did Messi do what Pele and Maradona did before them.

But is it perhaps time we stopped judging best players according to the World Cup? Isn’t Europe the highest standard of football today? If so, then Cristiano – and Messi may be doing as well as some of the best players ever.

Speaking of Messi – while there was something special about him leading Argentina to a World Cup Final (which they lost), his individual numbers and his team accomplishments could not challenge Cristiano’s – who won the Champions League with Real Madrid and managed to score an incredible 42 goals in 30 La Liga games.

This is Cristiano’s 3rd best player win. Remarkable as that is, it still leaves him one behind Messi who has four. Next season should be interesting. The Guardian’s Barney Ronay says Cristiano’s “talent has been refined in the past year to make him the most captivating and thoroughly modern footballer on the planet.”

We can’t disagree.

And we can only wonder how Messi could possibly exceed him.

How good would Messi have to be this year to eclipse the incredible Cristiano for the 2015 Ballon d’Or?


Gerrard set for LA

Gerrard set for LA

It’s not going to happen right away but it is going to happen – trust us. Unless you believe there could be a repeat of Frank Lampard leaving New York City FC at the altar for Manchester City, the God of Liverpool, Steven Gerrard will go to the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer. Of America. Of California. Of beaches and pools and sun.

But not right now. He will go at the end of the Barclays’s Premier League season. In May. In fairer weather. For him and for his club and for his manager – who “almost” won the league last year for Liverpool for the first time in decades. But didn’t.

Stevie leaving – that’s going to be one long going away party – or shall I say wake? – on the Merseyside. And it’s going to be one long wait for the Galaxy. Reports indicate that it will be an 18-month deal for Stevie G at $6M a year. That’s if he actually gets there.

But once he gets there – all will be good. Trust us. And it won’t be all beach chairs and cocktails. It will be business – because Stevie G will always be Stevie G.

A player first.


Brayden Point - forward, Canada

Brayden Point – forward, Canada

There’s much chatter around the forwards playing for Team Canada in the 2015 World Junior Hockey tournament. Most of it has to do with Connor MacDavid or the team’s de facto top line of Sam Reinhart, Max Domi and Anthony DuClair. Fine players all…but after Canada’s first two games (shutout wins over Slovakia and Germany), one of the best players on the ice has been Robby Fabbri – and each time the team’s “13th forward,” Brayden Point, gets on the ice, interesting things happen.

Point’s ample skills and vision were on display a couple of weeks ago when he was easily the best player on the rink in a Team Canada warm-up in Toronto v a squad of all-stars drawn from three local universities. Admittedly, Canada was missing its top forwards named above plus captain Curtis Lazar, and ok, the opposition wasn’t quite up to even Slovakian standards – but Point still dominated the game like no one else in a red jersey.

Listed at only 5’8″ and 160 lbs, Point was drafted in the 3rd round, 79th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning – but may have a hard job making the pros unless he does some serious time in the weight room. But who knows? The game, even in the NHL, is shifting inexorably to favour players with exactly Point’s combination of speed, technique, and ability to see plays before they develop (Patrick Kane is no behemoth).

A chance to shine and a good next week of hockey could make a strong case for @braydenpoint19.


RIP Phil

by the Abbot on November 28, 2014

in Cricket


Phillip Hughes, Australia: 1988 – 2014

“Shocked to hear about Phil. Sad day for cricket. Deepest condolences to family, friends and well wishers. RIP.” - Sachin Tendulkar.