Friday, January 7, 2011

Xavi and Ballon d’Or

Xavi Hernandez would consider winning the Ballon d’Or an honour, but is happy just to be in contention.
Xavi, 30, has been nominated for European football’s most prestigious individual award along with national and club teammates Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
He faces stiff competition for the prize from Iniesta, who scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 FIFA  World Cup final, and Argentinean holder Messi, who continues to astound with his goal-scoring exploits for club and country.
“I would be very excited to win, because it is the best award you can win at an individual level, but I will not lose sleep over it,” Xavi said.
“Just being there, along with Andres and Leo, makes me very happy.”
Xavi set a new record for Barcelona appearances in his 550th match against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
He made his debut in 1998 after graduating from the famed Barcelona youth academy and intends to see out his career with the Primera LaLiga champions.
“For me, to defend the Barcelona shirt is everything and I cannot imagine defending another,” he said.
“It is the club of my life. I am very happy and proud to have broken the record.”
“I have played football all my life, and I intend to continue here for many years. I have left my injury problems behind, because I practically no longer suffer in games.”

Everton 2 - 1 Totenham

Everton snatched a thrilling 2-1 win over Tottenham at Goodison Park to put a dent in Spurs’ title hopes.
Louis Saha put the Toffees ahead in just the third minute with his first league goal in 11 months.
Rafael van der Vaart, who is turning out to be the signing of the season after his seven-million-pound switch from Real Madrid in the off-season, pulled a goal back eight minutes later.
But Everton youngster Seamus Coleman snatched the winner in the 75th minute.
The defeat leaves Harry Redknapp’s team eight points behind leaders Manchester United although they are still very much in the fight for a Champions League place.
The opener came after French striker Saha cut in from the left and fired a shot from 20 yards which slammed into Heurelho Gomes’ bottom corner.
But there was no time for complacency and a Spurs equaliser came with a deep cross from Alan Hutton, which was flicked on by Peter Crouch and headed in by Van der Vaart.
The hosts looked the most likely to take the lead throughout the first half, with Jermaine Beckford and Coleman both missing good opportunities.
But David Moyes’ team were lucky not to go behind when a Spurs goal was ruled out just before half-time.
Gareth Bale latched onto a Saha turnover before slipping the ball to Crouch, who had needlessly crept off-side to stifle the counter-attack.
After the restart, Tim Howard made a sprawling save to deny Van der Vaart and Saha volleyed wide from a Coleman cross.
Moments later, Coleman sent another ball into the box after a surging run but Steven Pienaar fell over Gomes before he could connect.
And it was in the 75th minute that Coleman got his well-deserved goal.
Saha made a dangerous run from deep but his long-range effort was saved before Coleman reacted to head home the rebound.
Substitute Yakubu could have put Everton even further ahead but squandered his chance to shoot after a one-on-one with Gomes.