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Ballon d’Or 2019: Ronaldinho, Puyol, others react as Messi wins sixth award

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Brazil legend, Ronaldinho, has congratulated Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, after the Argentine international won the Ballon d’Or for a record sixth time on Monday night in Paris, France.

Messi beat Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk to win this year’s Ballon D’ Or.

Ronaldinho, a former teammate with Messi at Barcelona, took to his official Twitter page to describe the 32-year-old as an ‘amazing athlete’.

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He wrote:

“Now there are 6 my brother @leomessi Congratulations on the much-deserved achievement, unfortunately, it was not possible to be with you tonight in Paris.

“But inside my heart is all affection and esteem for the amazing person you are, as an athlete, you need not speak, every game is a show !!!”

Also reacting, former Barcelona captain, Carles Puyol described Messi as an example of “passion and love for soccer.”

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He wrote:

“Congratulations Leo, six are already there and I’m sure you’ll still win some more … Thank you for making us enjoy so much, you are an example of passion and love for soccer.”

Barcelona team-mate, Arturo Vidal also joined:

“Congratulations @leomessi You keep expanding your LEGEND, you’ll be forever the best!

And so did Carles Alena:

“Congratulations Leo! You’re number 1!!!! You deserve it!!!!!”

Arthur also got in on the act:

”I am privileged to live with and play with this genius. Congratulations, ace!”

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Norwich relegate after 4-0 loss to West Ham

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West Ham United consigned Norwich City to relegation from the Premier League as four goals from Michail Antonio gave the London side a 4-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

The result leaves Norwich bottom of the standings with 21 points — 13 adrift of 17th-placed Watford who beat Newcastle United 2-1 with three more rounds of fixtures to be played.

Antonio constantly troubled the Norwich defence with his presence in the box and the 30-year-old struck twice in each half to become the first West Ham player to score four in a league game since 1981, doubling his season’s tally.

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West Ham, who are 16th, moved six points clear of the relegation zone and are above Watford on goal difference.

Meanwhile, manager Daniel Farke said the club will not attempt a quick return with a splurge of new signings.

Norwich would go down with lucrative ‘parachute payments’ from their one season back in the top flight, but Farke ruled out big signings when he addressed the media on Friday.

“It won’t be a case we risk the future of this club by spending everything we have to get straight back to the Premier League,” the German said.

“There are no guarantees even if clubs do that. We won’t do anything that you would label crazy.

“Put it this way. When I see speculation we’re going to spend 10 or 15 times what we spent in the Premier League. No chance.”

Several Norwich players are expected to become targets of Premier League clubs, namely defenders Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis and midfielder Todd Cantwell.

“We have had plenty of experience of our players being linked with other clubs and they are still here,” Farke said.

“No one has been in my office and said they don’t want to be here. I don’t expect that either. This club has given them trust, backing and no one forced them to sign long-term contracts.”

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Season over for Liverpool’s inspirational captain

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will play no further part in the champions’ bid for Premier League records with his knee injury ruling him out of the rest of the season.

Klopp confirmed that the skipper will not be able to feature again this campaign, but will not require surgery and should be fit again for next season.

He will also be there to lift the Premier League trophy against Chelsea on July 22 as the Reds finally end their 30-year wait to be crowned champions.

“Hendo is the best possible of all bad news: it is a knee injury but no surgery needed,” said Klopp. “He will not play any more in the latter stages of this season but I am pretty positive he will start with us the new season. It was an awful moment when he went down with injury. In Germany, we would call him an animal as he deals with pain so well.

“You saw he knew something happened which shouldn’t have happened. Everyone felt for him. It was a real mood killer.

“We were all concerned when we saw him going down and he left the pitch and when we got the news it was a big relief for all of us.

“It is not cool but it is the best we could get, Hendo is a quick healer and he will be back soon.

“But he deserves to lift the trophy and he will lift the trophy.”

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Tiger Woods announces plans to return to PGA Tour next week

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Tiger Wood

Tiger Woods will make his first PGA Tour start since February at next week’s Memorial Tournament.

The 15-time major winner pulled out of the Players Championship in March with a back injury before the coronavirus shutdown.

Professional men’s golf in the US has resumed behind closed doors and Woods is set to resume his season in Ohio from 16-19 July.

“I’ve missed going out and competing with the guys,” said Woods, 44.

“I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Woods, who has won the Memorial Tournament five times, finished 68th in his last PGA Tour appearance at the Genesis Open in February.

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He last played publicly in a charity match that saw him and Peyton Manning beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in an event that raised $20m (£16.4m) for coronavirus relief efforts in the United States.

Tiger Woods is aiming to defend the Masters title he won for a fifth time in 2019 when the rescheduled tournament takes place from 12-15 November at Augusta National.

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The rearranged USPGA Championship is now set to be the first major of the year in San Francisco from 6-9 August and the US Open is to be played at Winged Foot in New York State from 17-20 September, while the Open Championship has been cancelled.

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