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Real Madrid rigged Ballon d’Or to stop Ronaldo from winning in 2018 – Giorgio Chiellini

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Juventus defender, Giorgio Chiellini, has claimed that Real Madrid denied Cristiano Ronaldo a sixth Ballon d’Or last year, by rigging the votes.

Ronaldo, who moved to Juve from Real in the 2018 summer transfer window, finished as the runner-up in the 2018 ceremony, behind his former Blancos team-mate Luka Modric.

This year’s Ballon d’Or was won by Lionel Messi, who lifted the trophy for the sixth time to go one ahead of Ronaldo’s five titles.

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Speaking at the ceremony in Milan, Chiellini said:

“It’s ok that Messi has won the Ballon d’Or this year.

“The real theft was last year, Real Madrid decided that Cristiano should not win the Ballon d’Or. It was really strange.

“Cristiano won the Champions League, [but I suppose] by that logic Van Dijk should have won it this year.

“Maybe last year Griezmann, Pogba or Mbappe should have won for doing extraordinary things at the World Cup. Modric made no sense.”

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Watford beat Newcastle 3-2 with two second-half penalties

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Watford striker Troy Deeney eased his team’s relegation fears with two second-half penalties as they beat Newcastle United 2-1 on Saturday for their second straight Premier League victory.

Deeney blasted his spot kicks straight down the middle in the 52nd and 82nd minutes to give the home side a win which leaves them 17th on 34 points with three games to play, six ahead of third-bottom Bournemouth who have a game in hand.

The game began with a minute’s silence to mark the passing of former Newcastle and Ireland manager Jack Charlton, who won the World Cup with England as a player, after he died on Friday aged 85. The players also wore black arm-bands in tribute.

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Dwight Gayle had put mid-table Newcastle in front after 23 minutes when he steered the ball home after a superb glancing header from a corner by visiting defender Federico Fernandez, which looked to be heading in at the far post.

Watford came roaring back at the start of the second half, with Deeney putting them level from the spot seven minutes in after Matt Ritchie upended Kiko in the box.

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Deeney had another chance shortly afterwards but his stinging shot was saved by Martin Dubravka, and strike partner Danny Welbeck had a shot deflect off two Newcastle players before looping over the keeper and landing on the roof of the net.

The Hornets weren’t to be denied, and when Javier Manquillo wrestled Ismaila Sarr to the ground Deeney stepped up once again to smash the ball home for the winner

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Having come back from a goal down to win 2-1 in midweek against now-relegated Norwich, Watford boss Nigel Pearson praised his team’s fighting spirit.

“It doesn’t matter how we win at the moment, as long as we do, and this gives us a little bit more of a chance (of staying up),” he said following the final whistle.

Reuters

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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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