UEFA Warns Clubs Could Face Exclusion From Champions League if Seasons are Abandoned

?UEFA have suggested that clubs might not be accepted into next season’s Champions League if they haven’t qualified in traditional fashion, reaffirming their desire to see the 2019/20 football season completed.

Football authorities in England and Europe initially hoped to have seasons concluded by the end of June, but the continued effects of the coronavirus pandemic has further cast doubt over whether or not football can resume as soon as initially expected.

Premier League Match Ball

In a letter sent on Thursday evening to Europe’s national FA’s, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, along with officials Andrea Agnelli and Lars-Christer Olsson wrote,? as quoted by the Guardian“We are confident that football can restart in the months to come – with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities – and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.

“Since participation in UEFA club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts about the fulfilment of such condition. 

“UEFA reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020-21 UEFA club competitions, in accordance with the relevant applicable competition regulations.”

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The letter recognised the health risk posed by the coronavirus, but further explained that UEFA have a group working on a proposal that would see leagues completed in summer months, now that? Euro 2020 has been postponed for a year: “Closely following the development of the current situation, the calendar working group will indicate as soon as possible, and ideally by mid-May, which of the plans can be enacted for the completion of the season without leaving anyone behind. 

“Stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season.”

The letter comes after Belgian officials made the decision to ?cancel the rest of the Jupiler Pro League for the 2019/20 season and use the current standings as final, becoming the first top-flight European league to take such measures.

SOCCER JPL D20 KAA GENT VS CLUB BRUGGE

Consequently, Club Brugge have been crowned champions, while second place Gent are also set to qualify for the Champions League. 

However, with UEFA committed to wanting league and European competitions finished in full, both of their places in the competition for next season could be in doubt.

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Hansi Flick Secures Permanent Bayern Munich Manager Role With Deal Until 2023

?Bayern Munich have confirmed temporary boss Hans-Dieter Flick has put pen to paper on a permanent deal with the club, running until 2023.

Flick had been placed in interim charge of the club following Niko Kovac’s sacking, but the club have seen it fit to reward him for his work with a full-time deal.

He’s guided Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga table, losing just twice in his 21 matches in charge of the club. Having initially impressed while in temporary charge, back in December the club confirmed that Flick would remain at the helm until the end of the season, but they’ve now gone one further.


The club’s CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said on their ?official website: “FC Bayern is very happy with Hansi Flick’s work. The team has developed very well under him and plays attractive football, which is also reflected in the results. We are the only German club that is still represented in all three competitions.

“I also like the way he leads the team, his human qualities are convincing, his empathy speaks for him. FC Bayern trusts Hansi Flick and we are convinced that we will continue to achieve our goals with him in the future.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Hasan Salihamidži?, who added: “From day one when Hansi took over the team, we had a plan for how we would deal with the situation. First Hansi took over for two games, then until Christmas, then there was an agreement that he would be our coach until the end of the season. 

“Hansi has been loyal and disciplined to this, that is a quality. Another are the results that Hansi achieved with our team. These results speak for themselves. Hansi and I know in which direction we want to develop the team. Football faces great challenges. We believe that Hansi is also the right head coach for this time.”

Flick discussed the direction Bayern were heading in as the most exciting part of his new role, also insisting the club can look forward to many successful years in the future.

Hansi Flick

“I look forward to tackling the upcoming tasks together with my coaching team and the team,” he said. “The conversations with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidži? were very good and characterized by great mutual trust. Together we have defined the direction for the coming years. I am sure that we can achieve a lot together. ”

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Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund: Picking a Combined Classic XI of Der Klassiker Legends

?Der Klassiker is part of 90min’s 50 Biggest Derbies in the World Series


Bayern Munich might be Germany’s real superpower, but Borussia Dortmund’s transfer ethos has seen an incredible amount of players breaking through at the Westfalenstadion before moving on to bigger things elsewhere – sometimes, even in Bavaria.

But how are we going to pick our Klassiker XI?

Well, it’s not just the biggest names. You’ll see some of the best, of course, but there’ll also be some players who had some huge moments in Der Klassiker, as well as a few of those who’ve crossed the divide between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.


GK – Roman Weidenfeller (Dortmund)

Roman Weidenfeller

There are quite a few different options that could make our Klassiker XI, and while the likes of Manuel Neuer or Sepp Meier might have had a bigger impact on the sport as a whole, no goalkeeper has made such a big impact in this fixture like Roman Weidenfeller.

In the 2011/12 season, with Borussia Dortmund looking to retain their Bundesliga title, Weidenfeller saved a late penalty in the second Klassiker of the season, which is remembered as the moment Jürgen Klopp’s side really won the title.


RB – Philipp Lahm (Bayern)

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Despite playing through Borussia Dortmund’s most successful stretch in the top flight, Philipp Lahm didn’t struggle all that often in Der Klassiker.

In 32 appearances, Lahm ended up on the winning side on 17 occasions. He never scored against Borussia Dortmund, but with a tally of seven assists, the former Germany international was always a force to be reckoned with.


CB – Mats Hummels (Dortmund, Bayern)

Robert Lewandowski

Mats Hummels didn’t cross the divide once. In fact, he didn’t cross it twice either.

The former Bayern Munich academy star first joined Borussia Dortmund in 2008, arriving on loan before completing a €4m move to the Westfalenstadion the following year. Hummels returned to Bavaria in 2016, but moved back west three years later.

It’s not just Hummels’ constant switching between the two which makes him a guaranteed starter in this team either. He’s played in 31 Klassikers, scoring five times – three against Bayern Munich, two for them – and getting an assist.


CB – Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern)

World Cup Finals - "The Netherlands v BRD"

Franz Beckenbauer wasn’t one of the best defenders of his generation. He was, without question, the greatest of all time.

Der Kaiser only ever played against Borussia Dortmund 16 times, but he was involved in three goals in Bayern Munich’s biggest ever win – 11-1 against the Black and Yellows – and he finished his career with four assists in Der Klassiker, which was more than he managed in any other fixture.


LB – Paul Breitner (Bayern)

Paul Breitner

Paul Breitner is remembered just as well today for his memorable haircut as he was during his playing career for his political beliefs, but the man nicknamed Der Afro, as it turns out, was quite a good footballer too.

Breitner started his career in defence and went on to move into midfield, where he formed an impressive partnership with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

His best years were in the 1970s, but it was actually in the latter stages of his career where he really started to make an impact against Borussia Dortmund, scoring five goals and picking up two assists from the 1979/80 season until he hung up his boots three years later.


RM – Arjen Robben (Bayern)

Arjen Robben

Although Weidenfeller came up clutch with a penalty save for arguably the biggest individual moment in a domestic Klassiker, Arjen Robben – who missed that spot-kick in 2012 – came up trumps a year later in the Champions League.

He was involved in 16 goals against Borussia Dortmund in his career, but it’s one deft touch of the ball late on at Wembley which Robben is so widely remembered for, scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final.


CM – Matthias Sammer (Dortmund)

Gianfranco Zola,Matthias Sammer

It certainly came as a bit of a surprise when he pipped Ronaldo Nazário to the Ballon d’Or in 1996, but Matthias Sammer is the most recent winner of the award to play for either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.

The defensive midfielder had come off the back of an outstanding season with Dortmund and Germany when he won the award, and although he only played for the Black and Yellows, he did go on to spend time behind the scenes at Bayern Munich once he retired.


CM – Thomas Müller (Bayern)

Thomas Mueller

There isn’t anyone who sums up Bayern Munich quite like Thomas Müller.

The Raumdeuter isn’t just a club legend due to the fact he’s an academy graduate, as Müller’s also had quite the career and, if the 2019/20 season is anything to go by, the best might still be yet to come from the 30-year-old.

He’s no stranger to Der Klassiker either. In 33 games against Borussia Dortmund, Müller has scored 10 goals and picked up seven assists, including in a DFB-Pokal final and two German Super Cup finals.


LM – Mario Götze (Dortmund, Bayern)

Mario Goetze

It’s easy to forget given Mario Götze’s health problems, but the Germany international was one of the most sought after footballers on the planet when he broke through at Borussia Dortmund – gaining similar levels of attention to Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

His €37m move to Bayern Munich in 2013 made one hell of a statement, not least because the transfer was leaked some months before it was actually completed, but after a difficult three years in Bavaria, Götze returned to Borussia Dortmund.

Götze’s been involved in eight Klassiker goals during his career, a combined stat which he’s only bettered in four other fixtures.


ST – Gerd Müller (Bayern)

Gerd Mueller,Jack Reilly,Manfred Schaefer

Gerd Müller certainly wasn’t the most complete footballer to ever play the game. But Der Bomber might just be the best goalscorer.

Inside the penalty area, Müller was more lethal than anything we’ve ever seen, setting records left, right and centre thanks to his ability to get the ball in the back of the net.

He’s still the top goalscorer in Bayern Munich’s history, as well as the Bundesliga’s, and until very recently he was also the all-time record goalscorer in Der Klassiker.


ST – Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund, Bayern)

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The person who took the title of Der Klassiker’s top goalscorer?

Of course, it was Robert Lewandowski.

The Pole came through at Borussia Dortmund at time where an incredible recruitment policy created a title-winning side, but Lewandowski has reached new, unthinkable heights since crossing the divide to Bayern Munich.

As well as being the Bundesliga’s most prolific foreign player, Lewandowski has scored 23 goals in Der Klassiker across all competitions in just 33 games, starring in just over 20% of all the wins there have ever been between Germany’s two super clubs.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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The Current 30 Best Strikers in the World – Ranked

Here at 90min, we love the gas.

We talk football, we throw opinions out there and we love to generate debate.

Some people agree with what’s said, some people hate what they hear and read, some people find it funny and some people go out of their minds with incandescent rage.

But that’s all part and parcel of being a football fan – we’re a community brought together by the love of this great game, and the special thing is that we all want to have our say. 

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Now we’ve sold the concept of talking football to you, let’s get another hot topic on the go shall we?

Having already dissected the 25 best goalkeepers, full-backs, central defenders and defensive midfielders in the world, we can’t wait any longer to get to the strikers. For this, we’re upping the ante to 30 – basically because there’s so many top dogs knocking around.

For clarity, the players included on this list play the majority of their games from a central striking role. Hence, no Messi or Griezmann, no Salah or Mane, and no Allan Saint-Maximin, before you throw any nearby toys out of the pram.

So strap in – I know I have – and feast your eyes on the current 30 best strikers in the world…


Honourable Mentions

We kick things off with a nod to some players who are still good, but not top 30 material right now. 

These include Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuain and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the exceptionally well known pile, through to Erin Zahavi (check out his goal record in China by the way), Arkadiusz Milik, Odsonne Eduoard and Iago Aspas – all of whom score goals and contribute good things on a pretty regular basis.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

There’s also the likes of Memphis Depay, Donyell Malen and Tammy Abraham to consider, but there time hasn’t come just yet.


30. Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette

Lacazette’s goal return for Arsenal has actually been pretty ordinary of late, with his place in Mikel Arteta’s side far from assured.

But the Frenchman offers so much outside of goalscoring, dropping deep to link up play with midfield, as well as foraging down the channels to put pressure on opposition backlines. He also has a tremendous understanding with Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang, though it’s often the Gabon international’s goal tally that reaps the rewards.


29. Dusan Tadic

Dusan Tadic

Back in the summer of 2018, Tadic departed Premier League mid-table lovers Southampton to experience a new challenge with Ajax.

What few of us would have expected was Tadic’s remarkable transformation into one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe. Granted, the Eredivisie standard perhaps leaves a little to be desired, but netting 38 goals in his debut season – in all competitions – was a bolt out of the blue.

No longer isolated out on the wing and out of possession, Tadic is showing what he can really do in a false nine position, showing pinpoint accuracy with his finishing to couple up with some intricate link-up play.


28. Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela

Another player whose career has reignited after moving onto pastures new is Mexico forward Vela.

Once a failed Arsenal academy graduate, he then spent five years at Real Sociedad confirming that he was actually talented before a return to the Americas beckoned.

There, a change of role has propelled Vela into MLS limelight and he’s now a prolific goalscorer. His wand of a left foot helped him score at a better than a goal per game during 2019, and he’s now regarded as one of the biggest stars across the Atlantic.


27. Gabriel Jesus

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Manchester City FC"

Playing second fiddle is never an easy job, but that’s what Gabriel Jesus has done for much of his career at Manchester City.

The Brazilian is undoubtedly a talent, evidenced by the faith placed him at such a young age by Pep Guardiola. Has his best years ahead of him, which should allow him to break out of Sergio Aguero’s shadow at some point – as well as helping him become Brazil’s leading light for many tournaments to come.


26. Dries Mertens

Dries Mertens

If you’re not familiar with S.S.C. Napoli, may I please point you in the direction of the 2019 Diego Maradona documentary film.

Once you’ve sampled some of that, you’ll realise what it means to play for Gli Azzurri and what it means to become a legend of such a passionate, well-supported club.

One such legend is Mertens, who during the 2019/20 season became the club’s all-time record goalscorer, surpassing another supremely popular figure, Marek Hamsik. The Belgian hasn’t been overly prolific of late, but is still a wonderful all-round player.


25. Duvan Zapata

Duvan Zapata

Scoring goals was something of a pastime for Zapata, rather than a regular hobby before he joined Atalanta in 2018.

But since then, the Colombian has been transformed under the tutelage of Gian Piero Gasperini and is now what some would call ‘a goal machine’. 28 goals in his first full season at the club – aided by his electrifying pace and understanding of the Nerazzurri’s system – looks to be just the starting point of a wonderful few years ahead.


24. Gabigol

Gabriel Barbosa

One man born to score goals was Gabigol – look no further than his nickname if you don’t believe me. Also, look no further than his goalscoring record in South America, which makes for pretty sensational reading.

Admittedly, he wasn’t been able to reproduce his form on the European stage, but his spell at Flamengo has shown many around the world that he’s got that little bit of x-factor about him.


23. Moussa Dembele

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Some really, really special players have kickstarted their careers with Scottish Premiership heavyweights Celtic, and Dembele looks to be no different.

We all saw how good Henrik Larsson was in the past, we’re all seeing how good Virgil van Dijk is right now, so if Dembele can be anywhere near as good as they are, he’s going to be a pretty special player in the future. 

A hive of Premier League interest is already swarming around a player who has scored well over 100 career goals in just over five seasons as a professional.


22. Wissam Ben Yedder

Wissam Ben Yedder

Breaking into France’s national team setup – particularly up front – is a pretty tricky thing to have ticked off the career accomplishments list, but that’s exactly what Ben Yedder did in 2018 after years of consistently scoring goals.

Standing just 5ft 7in tall, Ben Yedder’s main strengths lie in his ability to wriggle away from defenders and he loves taking people on before firing home. Has registered double digit goal seasons seven times in his career, flourishing in both La Liga and at home in Ligue 1.


21. Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial

?Manchester United are fast-tracking their way back to the promised land babies (note, this is wild speculation and pure conjecture) and all eyes are on Anth…..Bruno Fernandes.

In all seriousness, the Red Devils have been notably better since Fernandes arrived but you have to give some credit to Martial too. He’s operated both on the left wing and up front – not easy when you’re trying to find consistency – and continues to operate, on the whole, very well.

Though he’s yet to enter the prolific goalscorer category, he’s a hard grafter and looks to be taking his game in the right direction.


20. Raul Jimenez

Raul Jimenez

Speaking of going in the right direction, that brings us nicely on to Wolves – and Mexican striker Raul Jimenez, who has brought his game on leaps and bounds since an ill-fated spell with Atletico Madrid.

Now, he’s one of the most reliable forwards in Europe, with his workload – and the pressure that goes with it – unparalleled across the ‘top five’ leagues. All areas of his game are strong, particularly his work rate and ability in the air, but they’ll be some who say his finishing must improve.

And they’re right – he’s not as consistent in front of goal as he could be.


19. Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino

Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool – what a rollercoaster ride it’s been on Merseyside since Jurgen Klopp assumed the reins from Brendan Rodgers (remember he was there folks).

Initially there was some bad times, but my goodness me have there been some good ones – both domestically and in Europe. While the Reds’ team is equipped with superb players all over the shop, few have an effect on the side quite like Roberto Firmino.

The Brazilian is the glue that holds things together – no, he doesn’t score goals for fun like others, but he gets the best out of each and everyone of his teammates. An invaluable trait to have.


18. Paulo Dybala

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Let’s rewind to a time when I was playing FIFA 13 career mode and Palermo was the team of choice.

Not only did I have Afriyie Acquah patrolling midfield – trust me, he was incredible – there were also two incredible talents getting better and better with each passing game – one was Josep Ilicic, and the other was Paulo Dybala.

Turns out, FIFA knew what they were doing – as the Argentine is now one of the most talked about footballers in the world, as well as being one of the most gifted. Courted throughout the majority of 2019, Dybala’s signature is one that everybody would want if given the chance – owing to his fast feet, creativity, dribbling skills and swashbuckling finishing ability.

He doesn’t score bucket loads but, boy, is he good.


17. Lautaro Martinez

Lautaro Martinez

When Barcelona are sniffing around a player’s coat tails aged just 22, you know that player is probably a bit special.

And that’s exactly what Martinez is – an exciting talent all set to blossom into one of the best strikers in the world. A lethal and powerful finisher with both feet, the Argentine is also tremendous in the air, where his exploits have helped revive Inter’s slowing Serie A pulse.

Great things are expected of a player wanted by some of the games very best – and richest – clubs.


16. Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford

When a fresh faced 18-year-old Rashford burst onto the scene with four goals in his first two Manchester United games, the Red Devils took a deep breath.

Was a new local talent ready to take on the mantle of the ageing Wayne Rooney, leading United back to the very top of English football? Well, not quite yet, but Rashford is certainly looking the part and hasn’t really looked back since that whirlwind first week.

Playing as either a left winger or central striker, he’s elevated his game year on year and is now a fearsome Premier League goal threat.


15. Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi

Few players in the world of football have captured the media’s attention like Mauro Icardi has. Though, unfortunately for him, it’s his wife – and agent – Wanda Nara who steals the limelight most of the time.

But despite kerfuffle and controversy that seems to follow Icardi around, there’s one side to his actual game that is very clean – his finishing. Clinical, deadly and unerringly accurate, the Argentine was born to score goals, evidenced by his 100+ strikes in the colours of Inter.


14. Josep Ilicic

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Remember that FIFA story I was telling you about? Time for part two!

No, don’t worry, I won’t really get into that – but what I will get into is Ilicic’s astonishing improvement over the past few years, especially since he joined Atalanta. 

With an absolute cannon of a left foot, a penchant for finding space and a goal record that most out-and-out strikers would kill for, Ilicic is hot property when deployed in the false nine role.


13. Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

Back in February 2019, ?a piece was penned (by yours truly, shameless plug) about Romelu Lukaku still having a bright future at Manchester United.

While my sentiments of his impending improvement were right, what I didn’t know at the time is that the best thing for Lukaku to do was to get out of England – and the scrutiny and ridiculous over-analysis of his game – to find his confidence again.

At Inter, he’s just done that – and is pounding goals in for fun again in Serie A. Lukaku looks happy, fit and ready to conquer, with plenty of years at the top ahead of him yet.


12. Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy

The rise and rise and rise of Jamie Vardy – from non-league football to ?Premier League winner and golden boot contender – really is one of football’s feel good stories.

Furthermore, the fact that Vardy has achieved so much at Leicester, who are a good side but can hardly compare with big clubs financially, is testament to just how hard he has worked over the years.

Pace, a never-say-die attitude and a willingness to give 100% each and every time he steps on to the pitch are some of his best qualities; as his crisp finishing ability.


11. Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

Pushing the top 10 ten boundary – but missing out by the length of an incisor – is Uruguayan gnasher Luis Suarez.

He may be entering the latter stages of his career, but Barcelona’s lead marksman still has one of the sharpest tool kits in the trade. At his peak, Suarez was among the very best in the world, and perhaps was even the best striker for a time.

He’s still very good now, scoring goals at a decent lick in Catalonia – it’s just a shame he’s been laid low by injury problems.


10. Timo Werner

UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC"

Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale and Timo Werner – what do they all have in common? Yep, they’re the three most talked about transfer targets in recent memory.

In Werner’s case, it’s still very much a case of is he really worth it? Playing up front for RB Leipzig, the German’s not really had the chance to show that he can deliver – regularly at least – at the absolute highest level. But in the glimpses we have seen, he’s shown he’s more than up to the task, scoring goals and leading the line with aplomb.

Die Roten Bullen are a genuine threat in Germany because of how good Werner is, and it may not be too long before he’s adorning Liverpool red.


9. Harry Kane

Harry Kane

There have been few England strikers – ever I’d imagine – who made as much of a splash as Harry Kane did when he broke onto the scene.

It was all a bit weird to be honest, because before he went goal crazy, Kane had endured some pretty ordinary loan spells away from Tottenham. Now, though, he’s one of the most clinical finishers around, with two feet capable of firing home from all angles.

Not only that, Kane is a penalty specialist and also loves a long shot or ten. The cherry on the top of his icing is his link up play – which club and international supporters of him will tell you is really rather good.


8. Karim Benzema

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BETIS-REAL MADRID

Underappreciated, undervalued and the equivalent of a footballing Formula 1 car – three very appropriate ways that you could describe Benzema.

That last reference, of course, follows his spat with international teammate Olivier Giroud, but that’s a story for another time. Instead, we’re here to talk about his Real Madrid greatness and the fact that he’s scored – and continues to score – bucket loads of goals for the club.

There’s very few flaws to report in the Frenchman’s game, so long as you don’t scour Twitter for a video showing some absolutely abysmal misses during his career to date.


7. Erling Braut Haaland

Erling Haaland

Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Samassi Abou* – three generational talents who, in their respective times, took each and every collective breath away.

Now, that feeling is likely to happen again as we watch on with admiration at the emerging talents of Haaland. A youngster who can, quite literally, do it all, it’s frightening to think that the Norwegian has a good 15 years of kicking ass ahead of him.

Sit up and take notice, this boy is the future.

*worth Googling


6. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Haaland may be the future of the game, but he’s also Borussia Dortmund’s future – unlike Aubameyang, who left the German giants in his rear view mirror back in 2018.

When he did so, he set ?Arsenal back a cool £56m – a fee that he’s, probably, repaid already. Scoring goals is what Aubameyang does and terrorising defenders with his blistering pace is what he’ll continue to do for years to come.

With a terrific goal record safely tucked under his belt, there’s no disputing that he’s one of the very best – but his toes will be twitching to show that on the biggest stages going.


5. Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero

Manchester City’s rise to the top of the English game has relied on heavy investment, we all know that.

But to win things, consistently, you need to buy exceptional players who are willing to stick around and lay the ground work for something special in the future. You also need players who will put their hand up in the big moments, shouldering the burden of expectation and leading their team to victory.

For City, Aguero has done that for almost a decade – and is rightly regarded as the club’s best ever up top. Not only that, he’s one of Europe’s – and the world’s – finest, still scoring goals for fun on a regular basis.


4. Ciro Immobile

Ciro Immobile

When Immobile’s venture to the Bundesliga in 2014 went south pretty rapidly, you would have been forgiven for thinking that he wouldn’t make it at the top level.

After all, he’d only had one exceptional season of scoring at Torino before Borussia Dortmund took a punt on him.

What we now know is that Immobile is one of the most natural finishers of the modern era, capable of carrying a side on his back. Two great feet, a superb leap in the air and the versatility to play anywhere across the front three makes him a real handful for any defence in the world.


3. Cristiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo

For almost a decade and a half, we’ve all wagged our chins at our respective office desks and asked which of Messi or ?Ronaldo is really the greatest of all time?

That question will never be answered, but what can be answered is that the Portuguese phenom – sorry The Undertaker – is the third best front man going right now.

Yes, Ronaldo is still scoring a pile load of goals and yes, he contributes most for current club Juventus – but sometimes you have to recognise greatness, move with the times and hand the mantle over to youth.


2. Kylian Mbappé

FBL-FRA-CUP-LYON-PSG

And the youth in this case is Kylian Mbappé, whom we all expect to dominate the footballing landscape for many, many years to come.

He may barely be out of nappies, but Mbappé is already at the very top of the game, striking fear into anybody who comes up against him.

Good points: Two footed, powerful shot, direct runner, unbelievably quick, agile, well balanced, intelligent, creative, unselfishness, willing to learn, goal machine.

Bad points: N/A.

Say no more.


?1. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski

So how on earth is Mbappé not the best striker in the world? Well, that would be because of the existence of Robert Lewandowski.

A complete forward, who epitomises everything and anything you’d want from a striker in your side, the Pole is insanely consistent. He bags goals, goals and more goals, goes on crushing scoring rampages and also acts as the perfect foil to bring his teammates into play.

Furthermore, his abilities have seen Bayern become serial winners during his tenure in Munich – and the unnerving thing is that he still has many years left at the top.


For more from Toby Cudworth, follow him on Twitter!

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Belgium Cancels Rest of 2019/20 League Season – What it Could Mean for Rest of Europe

?Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League has taken the decision to cancel the remainder of the 2019/20 season as a result of coronavirus, making it the first top-flight European league to do so.

Most other domestic leagues across the continent still remain committed to trying to finish the campaign in some way, whether it just be heavily delayed or with all remaining games behind closed doors, or possibly both.

UEFA is thought to be targeting August for things to be wrapped up, with suggestions the governing body is considering plans to hold ‘final four’ mini-tournaments that month in Istanbul and Gdansk to decide the Champions League and Europa League respectively.

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The Pro League’s board of directors has decided, however, that it is not desirable to continue the 2019/20 season after 30 June, having been advised that games in fan-filled stadiums cannot take place before, that players could still be at risk and that even behind closed doors there would be unnecessary additional strain on law enforcement and health services.

But rather than void the season and expunge results, the standings as they are now will be the final ones. That means Club Brugge will be crowned champions, with Gent second and therefore claiming Belgium’s other Champions League qualifying berth.

The league has set up a working group to look into sporting complaints or financial implications.

One of the reasons the cancellation and position freeze has been possible in Belgium is that the league includes round-robin playoffs to determine the champions after a ‘regular season’. And with 29 of the 30 regular season games complete, it is effectively just scrapping the playoffs.

Brugge already held a 15-point lead at the top of the standings, which would have equated to a seven-point head start in the ten-game playoffs, leaving little room for complaints.

SOCCER JPL D23 KV KORTRIJK VS CLUB BRUGGE

To cancel or not to cancel is the question that is being asked of the major European leagues. Could others follow Belgium’s example, which would have the benefit of minimal disruption on next season and a clean slate for 2020/21? Or is there too much uncertainty to declare it final?

For starters, none of the major European leagues are anything like as close to a justifiable end point like Belgium, just one game away from the end of the regular season.


Premier League

Mohamed Salah

In the Premier League, clubs have nine or 10 games left to play. Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top and few might argue if the season was called at this point, but can even such a large gap be enough when it was still mathematically short? Belgium can argue that once it was decided the playoffs were cancelled, Brugge’s 15-point lead was unassailable with only one game left.

Sides having played different numbers of games causes problems for an immediate halt as well. In the hunt for European places, the likes of Arsenal and Sheffield United are a game short of those around them. Had either played that game and won it, it could make a serious difference to their league placing and, in Sheffield United’s case, even be worth Champions League football.

At the bottom it is even tighter, with three teams in and out of the relegation zone level on points and separated by goal difference. In Belgium’s case, relegation is still to be decided.

If the season ends now:

Champions: Liverpool

*Champions League: Liverpool, Leicester, Chelsea, Manchester United

Europa League: Wolves, Sheffield United, Tottenham

Relegated: Norwich, Aston Villa, Bournemouth

Cause for complaint: Sheffield United, Arsenal, Bournemouth, Aston Villa

*Manchester City excluded due to UEFA ban


La Liga

Lionel Messi,Toni Kroos

In La Liga, at least every team has played the same number of games – 27. But, again, with as many as 11 left un-played, the implications of cancelling the season are not favourable, especially when it comes to the two-point title race between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Third place to sixth – which will determine Champions League qualification – are separated by two points.

If the season ends now:

Champions: Barcelona

Champions League: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Real Sociedad

Europa League: Getafe, Atlético Madrid

Relegated: Espanyol, Leganés, Mallora

Cause for complaint: Real Madrid, Getafe, Atlético Madrid, Mallorca


Serie A

FBL-KSA-ITA-JUVENTUS-LAZIO

Serie A has more of the season left to play, with 12 or 13 games remaining for clubs. The title race between Juventus and Lazio has just one point in it. At least the sides in contention for the rest of the Champions League and Europa League places are a little more spaced out, which would make finalising the current standings more justifiable from their perspective.

The relegation battle in Italy is another very tight one though, with Genoa and Lecce level on points, but one in the drop zone and one out.

If the season ends now:

Champions: Juventus

Champions League: Juventus, Lazio, Inter, Atalanta

Europa League: Roma, Napoli

Relegated: Brescia, SPAL, Lecce

Cause for complaint: Lazio, Lecce


Bundesliga

Achraf Hakimi,Robert Lewandowski

The Bundesliga has, for the most part, nine rounds of games left. On the plus side, those two who have a game in hand wouldn’t be unduly disadvantaged. Eintracht Frankfurt could rise one place in the bottom half, for example, by winning the game they haven’t played, while Werder Bremen wouldn’t be able to escape the automatic relegation zone with only one more.

At the top, Bayern Munich have a four-point lead over Borussia Dortmund. Bayer Leverkusen are two points shy – and therefore potentially within one win – of a Champions League place.

If the season ends now:

Champions: Bayern Munich

Champions League: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach

Europa League: Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke

Relegated: Paderborn, Werder Bremen

Cause for complaint: Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Freiburg, Hoffenheim


Ligue 1

Kylian Mbappe

Ligue 1 is a similar story, with 10 games left and Lille one point off a Champions League place. No critical places are currently decided by tie-breaker criteria, with the relegation battle at least a little spaced out and Paris Saint-Germain 12 points clear at the top.

If the season ends now:

Champions: Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Rennes

Europa League: Lille

Relegated: Toulouse, Amiens, Nimes

Cause for complaint: Lille


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