Lionel Messi is expected to lift his eighth Ballon d’Or later this month after the winners for both the male and female awards for 2023 were leaked.
This comes after the 36-year-old achieved glory with Argentina after leading them to World Cup triumph in Qatar last year.
The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star then joined Inter Miami in July and immediately set MLS abuzz with a string of spectacular performances.
According to Spanish media outlet SPORT, Messi will be awarded his 8th Ballon d’Or ahead of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, who helped his club to a treble, and Kylian Mbappe who was the World Cup’s Golden Boot winner.
Mbappe guided France to the final in Qatar, where he scored a hat-trick against Argentina, only to lose the trophy on penalties.
In addition to Messi’s triumph, the report adds that Barcelona midfielder Aitana Bonmati has won her first-ever Ballon d’Or Feminin prize on the back of Spain’s success at the Women’s World Cup.
As was the case with Messi, Bonmati also won the Golden Ball at this year’s Women’s World Cup, and the 25-year-old also clinched Champions League and Primera Division glory with La Blaugrana.
FIFA rankings: Super Eagles drop two spots globally — after winless start to WCQ
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped two spots from 40th to 42nd in the world based on FIFA’s latest rankings.
According to the list released on Thursday by the world football governing body, the three-time African champions stayed in sixth position on the continent.
Nigeria’s decline on the log can be attributed to the disappointing start to the Eagles’ 2026 World Cup qualification campaign.
Jose Peseiro’s team failed to beat Lesotho in a 1-1 draw at the Godswill Akpabio stadium on November 16. The team also played out the same scoreline against Zimbabwe in Rwanda.
The Crocodiles of Lesotho were ranked 153rd in the world before the match, while the Warriors of Zimbabwe occupied the 125th slot prior to the Eagles’ encounter.
In FIFA’s latest log, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia retained their positions as the top three African teams in that order, while Algeria and Egypt completed the top five on the continent.
Meanwhile, Argentina remained number one in the world while France and England maintained second and third spots, respectively. Belgium and Brazil took the fourth and fifth positions in the ranking.
The next FIFA world ranking will be released on December 21, 2023.
Sporting Lagos get N1m fine over fans unruliness during NPFL game
The board of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has imposed a fine of N1 million on Sporting Lagos FC over the unruliness of the club’s fans during their match against Heartland FC.
According to a tweet on the league’s official X account, Sporting Lagos fans threw objects on the pitch during the team’s matchday nine fixture, which finished 1-1 at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, on Sunday.
The league body charged the Noisy Lagosians with breaching the framework and rules of the NPFL “for failing to provide adequate security”.
Sporting Lagos must pay the fine within 14 days, or failure to comply within the stipulated time would be considered a continuous breach of the league’s framework and rules.
NPFL then ordered the Lagos club to implement an effective matchday security arrangement and organise a re-orientation programme for its fans.
The league body warned the club that any recurrence would lead to severe sanctions.
Sporting Lagos are playing their first-ever season in the NPFL. The team is sitting eighth on the league table after garnering an equal number of wins, draws and losses from 12 games.
No money to pay off Peseiro if we sack him, says NFF board member
Nse Essien, a board member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), says Jose Peseiro, Super Eagles head coach, has not been sacked because the federation cannot afford the severance payment.
Essien spoke with journalists after the Eagles’ 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe in their second game of the 2026 World Cup qualification campaign.
The result left Nigeria winless in the qualifiers, having previously drawn Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio stadium last week.
The performances have generated a lot of criticism for Peseiro, while some social media users called for his sack.
Addressing the situation, Essien said the top brass at the NFF are also “not happy” with the Portuguese and his latest streak of results with the Eagles.
He claimed Peseiro was employed by the sports ministry and not the NFF, and “not paid a dime” have been paid to the Portuguese.
“If you check the internet, almost everyone is asking for the sack of the head coach. It is unfortunate that out of six points, we have just two, and we have found ourselves in a precarious situation,” the NFF board member said.
“When you say NFF should sack the head coach, we didn’t employ him. This regime didn’t employ him when you come to look at it; it was the Sports Ministry that employed him.
“Up till now, we were supposed to have paid their salaries, but up till now, they have not paid a dime.
“When you now sack him, who pays for compensation? That is the situation we find ourselves in. Not a dime has been paid to this coach, who earns about $70,000 every month.
“We have to respect his [Jose Peseiro’s] contract. If we had the money to give to him [pay him off], why wouldn’t we relieve him? We are not happy.”
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others
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