Cristiano Ronaldo won FIFA's player of the year award for the fourth time on Monday, beating his old rival Lionel Messi who was pulled out of the ceremony only a few hours earlier by his club Barcelona.
Italian Claudio Ranieri won the coach of the year award for leading rank outsiders Leicester City to the English Premier League title.
Ronaldo was rewarded for his performance in 2016 when he won the Champions League with his club Real Madrid and then Euro 2016 with Portugal. Five-times winner and four-times runner-up Messi was second and Frenchman Antoine Griezmann third.
MANILA, Philippines – After the disappointing crowd turnout in the AFF Suzuki Cup, the Philippine Football Federation is eyeing venues that are more accessible to fans for the Azkals’ home games in the coming AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
PFF president Nonong Araneta told The STAR that Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila looms as the top candidate even as football-loving provinces like Bacolod and Cebu are considered.
“It depends on the preparations (of the venues). If Panaad or Abellana (Cebu City Sports Complex) or the new USC stadium in Cebu will be ready, we might bring it there. Otherwise, (it’s) Rizal,” Araneta said.
The Philippine Azkals will get to know which teams they’ll face in the third and final round of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers when the Asian Football Confederation holds a draw on Jan. 23.
The Azkals reached the last stage of the qualifiers for Asia’s biggest football tournament after placing third in the second round, marked by a dramatic 3-2 victory over North Korea at home last March.
Twenty-four countries, including the Philippines, have qualified for the competition, and will be divided into four groups composed of six. The top two teams in each group advance to the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
MANILA -- The Philippines Football League (PFL) now has five official football clubs.
This, according to Philippine Football Federation (PFF) general-secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes in a phone interview on Tuesday.
With the hosting for the Suzuki Cup over, the PFF is turning its attention to the launch of the PFL that will supersede the United Football League (UFL) as the top tier of Philippine club football competition.
Philippine coach Thomas Dooley refused to dwell on the latest setback suffered by the Azkals even as he shifted his focus on preparing the team for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying tournament starting March next year.
Dooley’s charges exited the AFF Suzuki Cup at home after a disappointing campaign that saw them draw with Singapore and Indonesia, before being ousted by Thailand, 0-1, Friday night at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Although they played at home, the Azkals were a shadow of the team that reached the semifinals of the past three tournaments.
BOCAUE, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals have come full circle in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
From an outsider pre-2010, they forced themselves into the company of the regions elite. From a certified contender carrying high expectations six years later, they now found themselves plummeting back to the doghouse after a bungled campaign on home soil.
“We won’t shy away from it, it’s a disaster,” said Fil-German Stephan Schrock.
BOCAUE – The Philippines failed to cash in on its opportunities and in turn bowed out of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup.
Coach Thomas Dooley rued his side’s missed chances, which led to the Azkals’ 1-0 loss to Thailand on Friday at Philippine Sports Stadium here.
“We created a lot of chances. We didn’t have the 100-percent chances, but we had six, seven good chances. But in the end, we ran to a counter,” he said.