Στήλη: Sports

Lionel Messi

By Nick Dafogiannis

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Lionel Andrés Messi born 24 June 1987 is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team.

Personal Information:

 

  • Full name: Lionel Andrés Messi
  • Date of birth: 24 June 1987
  • Place of birth: Rosario, Argentina
  • Height: 1.70 m
  • Playing position: Forward

 

Early life:

Messi was born on 24 June 1987 in Rosario, the third of four children of Jorge Messi, a steel factory manager, and his wife Celia Cuccittini, who worked in a magnet manufacturing workshop. On his father’s side, he is of Italian and Spanish descent, the great-grandson of immigrants from the northcentral Adriatic Marche region of Italy and Catalonia, and on his mother’s side, he has primarily Italian ancestry. Growing up in a tight-knit, football-loving family, «Leo» developed a passion for the sport from an early age, playing constantly with his older brothers .At the age of four he joined local club Grandoli, where he was coached by his father, though his earliest influence as a player came from his maternal grandmother, Celia, who accompanied him to training and matches. He was greatly affected by her death, shortly before his eleventh birthday; since then, as a devout Catholic, he has celebrated his goals by looking up and pointing to the sky in tribute to his grandmother.

 

His first step and his health problem:

 A lifelong supporter of Newell’s Old Boys, Messi joined the Rosario club when he was six years old. During the six years he played for Newell’s, he scored almost 500 goals as a member of «The Machine

 

  • of ’87″, the near-unbeatable youth side named for the year of their birth, and regularly entertained crowds by performing ball tricks during half-time of the first team’s home games. However, his future as a professional player was threatened when, at age 10, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. As his father’s health insurance covered only two years of growth hormone treatment, which cost at least $1,000 per month, Newell’s agreed to contribute, but later reneged on their promise. He was scouted by Buenos Aires club River Plate, whose playmaker, Pablo Aimar, he idolised, but they were also unable to pay for his treatment due to Argentina’s economic collapse.

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In Barcelona:

 As the Messi family had relatives in Catalonia, they sought to arrange a trial with Barcelona in September 2000. First team director Charly Rexach immediately wanted to sign him, but the board of directors hesitated; at the time it was highly unusual for European clubs to sign foreign players of such a young age. On 14 December, an ultimatum was issued for Barcelona to prove their commitment, and Rexach, with no other paper at hand, offered a contract on a paper napkin. In February 2001, the family relocated to Barcelona, where they moved into an apartment near the club’s stadium, Camp Nou. During his first year in Spain, Messi rarely played with the Infantiles due to a transfer conflict with Newell’s; as a foreigner, he could only be fielded in friendlies and the Catalan league. Without football, he struggled to integrate into the team; already reserved by nature, he was so quiet that his teammates initially believed he was mute. At home, he suffered from homesickness after his mother moved back to Rosario with his brothers and little sister, María Sol, while he stayed in Barcelona with his father.

After a year at Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia, Messi was finally enrolled in the Royal Spanish Football Federation  in February 2002. Now playing in all competitions, he befriended his teammates, among whom were Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué. After completing his growth hormone treatment aged 14, Messi became an integral part of the «Baby Dream Team», Barcelona’s greatest-ever youth side. During his first full season (2002–03), he was top scorer with 36 goals in 30 games for the Cadetes A, who won an unprecedented treble of the league and both the Spanish and Catalan cups. The Copa Catalunya final, a 4–1 victory over Espanyol, became known in club lore as the partido de la máscara, the final of the mask. A week after suffering a broken cheekbone during a league match, Messi was allowed to start the game on the condition that he wear a plastic protector; soon hindered by the mask, he took it off and scored two goals in 10 minutes before his substitution.

 

Debut with the first team:

 At 16 years, four months, and 23 days old, Messi made his first team debut when he came on in the 75th minute during a friendly against José Mourinho’s Porto on 16 November 2003. His performance, creating two chances and a shot on goal, impressed the technical staff, and he subsequently began training daily with the club’s reserve side, Barcelona B, as well as weekly with the first team. After his first training session with the senior squad, Barça’s new star player, Ronaldinho, told his teammates that he believed the 16-year-old would become an even better player than himself.] Ronaldinho soon befriended Messi, whom he called «little brother», which greatly eased his transition into the first team.

To gain further match experience, Messi joined Barcelona C in addition to the Juveniles A, playing his first game for the third team on 29 November. He helped save them from the relegation zone of the Tercera División, scoring five goals in ten games, including a hat-trick in eight minutes during a Copa del Rey match while man-marked by Sevilla“s Sergio Ramos. His progress was reflected in his first professional contract, signed on 4 February 2004, which lasted until 2012 and contained an initial buyout clause of €30 million. A month later, on 6 March, he made his debut for Barcelona B in the Segunda División B, and his buyout clause automatically increased to €80 million. He played five games with the B team that season but did not score. Physically he was weaker than his opponents, who were often much older and taller, and in training he worked on increasing his muscle mass and overall strength in order to be able to shake off defenders. Towards the end of the season, he returned to both youth teams, helping the Juveniles B win the league. He finished the campaign having scored for four of his five teams with a total of 36 goals in all official competitions.

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Barcelona team:

After 2004 Lionel plays a key role in Barcelona and in Argentina national team and his performance is unreal . Every year he scores over 30 goals and is one of the most difficult opponents for the defenders . His career is huge amd many consider him the best player of all time . He has broken several records and has won many trophies in the 15 years he has been playing . His biggest competitor is Cristiano Ronaldo although he says they are good friends.

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Records:

 

Troρhies:

 

 

Leicester’s Fairytale: Premier League 2015-2016

By George Tzanatos, Philip Panagotou, Dimitris Maroudas & Fotis Trihas

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The Wembley “Curse”

1929-1930: Leicester city finished 2nd in the league, which was its best place until the miraculous season.

1948-1949: The “curse” of Wembley started by losing the FA cup final against Wolves.

1961, 1963, 1969: Leicester lost again the FA Cup Final against Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.

But , the curse continues…

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 2013: EFL CHAMPIONSHIP 2012-2013 SEMI FINALS PLAY-OFFS: (Leicester Fc vs Watford Fc)

Leicester awarded a late penalty and they had a chance to score and qualify in the final with many chances of getting promoted to the Premier League but they didn’t grab the chance and they conceded a goal in the last minute.

By pressing this link you can see the last minutes of this match.

Καταγραφή

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrFOTT_y8C0

 

The  Miracle before the  miracle

  • Premier League 2014-2015:The season before being awarded the  championship Leicester was a step away from relegation with just 19 points in the first 29 games. Only a wonder could save them….. They had to gain more points that they already have. And they did it. In the last 9 games they achieved to win 22 points with 7 wins in a row and a draw.

 

One of the biggest achievements in football’s history

    Premier League 2015-2016: Leicester at august 2015 hired Claudio Ranieri (the former coach of Greek  national team) with the aim to stay in the Premier Laegue. As Ranieri acclaimed, in the pre-season press conference, “ Our goal is to reach 40 points. ”

 Καταγραφή

Despite the tough competition in the best league in Europe, things escalated better than the most optimistic supporter could imagine. Leicester made a magic start to the season and they were hunting, through big wins out of the blue, the 1st spot. In the end of the first round after 19 matches  they were positioned 2nd with the same points as Arsenal who was first.

Καταγραφή

In the second round of the Premier League the dream continues as Leicester makes a winning streak that secures them a spot in the best competition of Europe, the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. Leicester continues their tremendous performances against top clubs such as Manchester City and Tottenham.

After a couple of stressful matches the team accomplishes to remain in the first place and it only needs 2 points to win the title. The most crucial match for Leicester that season was the match between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stanford Bridge where it ended to a   draw (2-2).

 

Leicester Fc has won the Premier League.

The Best Players

  • Jamie Vardy: The top scorer of Leicester scoring 24 goals and breaking the record for scoring goals in 11 consecutive matches!

 Καταγραφή

  • Riyad Mahrez: The pulling force of Leicester’s attack scoring 17 goals and sharing 11 assists.
  • N’golo Kante: He made a superb season doing everything on the pitch.
  • Kasper Schmeichel: The defensive “wall” keeping 15 clean sheets.

Honorable Mention

  • The former president of Leicester City Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died last October in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium.

Καταγραφή

 

Sources:

Greek television documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5Y2g7LYifw

Official Premier League Website Premierleague.com

 

Football

By Roumeliotis Theodore

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Football is a team sport that is played with two teams of 11 players. Both teams are trying to put a ball into a goal. The team that will score the most goals is the one that wins.Football has become an Olympic sport since 1936 but also a sport since 1966. In short, it has taken on a global dimension.

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Football is today the most popular sport in the world. By the beginning of the 21st century, more than 250 million athletes in more than 200 countries were involved. The soccer game is played on a variety of levels, from friendly, with fewer or more than eleven players, children or adults, to any size field, with two random goal-scoring, to professional, professional football players, strict observance of rules and more than 100,000 enthusiastic spectators to watch in a special football arena of high technical standards. FIFA is the supreme organizational principle of football.

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_football

 

BASKETBALL AS A WAY OF LIFE

By Nikolas Kanellakis & Konstantinos Vlaxos Diakakis

NCAA Basketball: Fresno State at San Diego State

           Since 2nd grade, basketball has been a large part of our time. We are now in the first year of Senior-High School and basketball has majorly worked our experience for the time. It has helped in making us the individuals we are today. We are convinced that, even if you do another sport type (that does not include a ball), it has had a huge effect on your life and options, too. Here are four ways in which basketball has positively affected us:

  1. It has helped us get life-long acquaintances with mates and managers.
  2. It has offered us mentors who have helped make us the sort of person we are.
  3. It has given us chances to get to know people we could never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
  4. We have met some of our greatest friends through basketball, for which we will always be thankful for.

To get out of the difficult situations in life, you need something that is bigger than you, you need something to believe in; for us, it was basketball. Basketball saved our life, allowed us to compete, to improve ourselves and understand life. Through this sport we understood who God was, better than we did in church. Church taught us what was right and wrong, basketball taught us faith. It means everything to us. Additionally, playing basketball teaches you many other values and principles that you cannot even imagine. In the sport of basketball, you cannot succeed unless you believe in yourself and your teammates. It is this belief that gives you confidence.  You must believe you will make that crucial free throw or make the buzzer-beater, which will make you win the game.  That is the first step to move forward. Similarly in life, you must believe in yourself. You must have faith in your abilities. Without this belief and faith in your capabilities, you cannot be successful or happy. In order to balance sports and other activities, you have to make certain sacrifices. This, for us, would mean cutting down on leisure so that we can balance studies and sport. A lot of time management is involved here, too. In life as well, nothing worth having comes easy. Sacrifices need to be made at every step in order to achieve what you aspire to. Through sports, you learn how to do this and how to utilize your time for your greater good. Last but not least, Through sports you learn to respect – your coach, your teammates, the referee and even your opponents. You learn to acknowledge that sometimes your opponent might be better. You learn that without respect, winning doesn’t mean anything. You learn to never put another player down. In life, without respecting others you cannot get anywhere. Strong people never put others down; they lift them up. Basketball teaches you just that. So, we believe that basketball cultivates many other aspects that are very essential for every person in his life.

        As a conclusion, through the sport of basketball we have grown as personalities and we have gained confidence as individuals. So, we will try to continue to do what we love, no matter what the circumstances are.

Odisseas Vlachodimos

By Kerbesiotis John, Varvatsoulis Gerasimos, Kairis John, Efthimios Karagiorgos & Georgiou Stefanos

 

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Date of birth 26 April 1994 (age 25)
Playing position GOALKEEPER
Current team BENFICA,NATIONAL TEAM OF GREECE

NATIONAL TEAM OF GREECE

On 9 November 2018, four days after FIFA’s approval of Vlachodimos” request to play for Greece, he was called up by Angelos Anastasiadis for the matches against Finland and Estonia in the UEFA Nations League. He debuted for Greece in a 1–0 win over Finland on 15 November that year.

CURRENT TRANSFERMARKT VALUE:

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HIS CAREER IN BENFICA:

On 18 May 2018, Vlachodimos signed a five-year contract with Portuguese side S.L. Benfica.

Vlachodimos started the 2019–20 season again as a first-choice. On 29 August 2019, he extended his contract with Benfica until 2023, setting an annual salary of €1.2 million.

 

 

ODYSSEAS VLACHODIMOS

ODYSSEAS IS HALF GERMAN AND HALF GREEK.HE HAS PLAYED   IN SMALL NATIONAL TEAMS OF GERMANY AND AFTER HE PLAYED FOR GREECE NATIONAL TEAM.

 

HIS CAREER IN HIS TEAMS:

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HIS CAREER IN NATIONAL TEAMS:

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HE HAS AN OLDER BROTHER WHO PLAYS IN Sonnenh of Groaspach.

National Basket Association (NBA)

By Alexander Moussafiris, Antony Dendis, Andrew Tzolas & Alexander Tsapkounis

Καταγραφή

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men’s professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada). It is widely considered to be the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.

The current league organization divides thirty teams into two conferences of three divisions with five teams each. The current divisional alignment was introduced in the 2004–05 season. Reflecting the population distribution of the United States and Canada as a whole, most teams are in the eastern half of the country: thirteen teams are in the Eastern Time Zone, nine in the Central, three in the Mountain, and five in the Pacific.

Atlantic Boston Celtics Boston, Massachusetts TD Garden
Brooklyn Nets New York City, New York Barclays Center
New York Knicks New York City, New York Madison Square Garden
Philadelphia 76ers Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center
Toronto Raptors Toronto, Ontario Scotiabank Arena
Central Chicago Bulls Chicago, Illinois United Center
Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland, Ohio Quicken Loans Arena
Detroit Pistons Detroit, Michigan Little Caesars Arena
Indiana Pacers Indianapolis, Indiana Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Milwaukee Bucks Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum
Southeast Atlanta Hawks Atlanta, Georgia State Farm Arena
Charlotte Hornets Charlotte, North Carolina Spectrum Center
Miami Heat Miami, Florida American Airlines Arena
Orlando Magic Orlando, Florida Amway Center
Washington Wizards Washington, D.C. Capital One Arena
Northwest Denver Nuggets Denver, Colorado Pepsi Center
Minnesota Timberwolves Minneapolis, Minnesota Target Center
Oklahoma City Thunder Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Chesapeake Energy Arena
Portland Trail Blazers Portland, Oregon Moda Center
Utah Jazz Salt Lake City, Utah Vivint Smart Home Arena
Pacific Golden State Warriors Oakland, California Oracle Arena
Los Angeles Clippers Los AngelesCalifornia Staples Center
Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles, California Staples Center
Phoenix Suns Phoenix, Arizona Talking Stick Resort Arena
Sacramento Kings Sacramento, California Golden 1 Center
Southwest Dallas Mavericks Dallas, Texas American Airlines Center
Houston Rockets Houston, Texas Toyota Center
Memphis Grizzlies Memphis, Tennessee FedEx Forum
New Orleans Pelicans New Orleans, Louisiana Smoothie King Center
San Antonio Spurs San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center

 

Following the summer break, teams begin training camps in late September. Training camps allow the coaching staff to evaluate players (especially rookies), scout the team’s strengths and weaknesses, prepare the players for the rigorous regular season, and determine the 12-man active roster (and a 3-man inactive list) with which they will begin the regular season. During the regular season, each team plays 82 games, 41 each home and away.

The Boston Celtics have won the most championships with 17 NBA Finals wins. The second most successful franchise is the Los Angeles Lakers, who have 16 overall championships (11 in Los Angeles, 5 in Minneapolis). Following the Lakers, are the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors (2 in Philadelphia, 4 in Oakland) with six championships each. The San Antonio Spurs have five championships, all since 1999.

 

GIANNIS ANTENTOKOUMPO

By Kamberos Dimitris, Michalopoulos Nick, Kakaroumbas Panagiotis & Kounelis Giannis

Καταγραφή

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Greek professionabasketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Nicknamed the «Greek Freak» due to his athleticism, he primarily plays forward, but is also capable of playing guard with his ball-handling skills.

Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece on December 6, 1994, the son of immigrants from Nigeria. Even though Antetokounmpo and three of his four brothers were born in Greece, they did not automatically qualify to receive full Greek citizenship. For the first 18 years of his life, Antetokounmpo had no papers from Nigeria or Greece.Antetokounmpo grew up in the Athens neighborhood of Sepolia. The New York Times reported: «Like many other immigrants to Greece, his parents struggled to find work. Antetokounmpo and his older brother, Thanasis, helped out by hawking items such as watches, bags and sunglasses. In 2007, Antetokounmpo started playing basketball, and by 2009, he was playing competitively for the youth squad of Filathlitikos. In 2011, he joined the senior men’s team of Filathlitikos, and played with them in Greece’s third-tier level semi-pro league, the Greek 3rd Division, during the 2011–12 season.

On April 28, 2013, Antetokounmpo officially made himself eligible for the 2013 NBA draft.He fulfilled his draft projections as a first-round pick by being selected 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. On July 30, 2013, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Bucks.

On September 19, 2016, Antetokounmpo agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract extension with the Bucks.  As a result of his efforts, Antetokounmpo was named to the All-NBA Second Team, earning his first All-NBA honor He was also named the recipient of the NBA Most Improved Player Award for the 2016–17 season, becoming the first player in Bucks history to be named Most Improved Player.

At 2017-2018 season he was named a starter for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, becoming the first Buck since Marques Johnson (1979–80) to be named a starter in two straight All-Star Games. This season,he has many great performances and he has many chances to win the MVP award.

A New European Force

By Gotsopoulos Nickolaos & Andrikopoulos Vassilis

 

Promitheas Patras B.C is a Greek professional basketball club that is based in Patras, Greece. It is a part of the Greek multi-sports club A.S. Promitheas Patras. The club’s full name can be rendered as either A.S.P. Promitheas B.C. or A.S. Promitheas Patras B.C. The club is named after Prometheus, one of the most well-knows Greek mythological Titans, and the flame representing the fire knowledge he gave to people is the club’s emblem (logo). The club is owned by Vangelis Liolios, who is also the owner of the Greek coffee company, Coffee Island, and managed by the coach Makis Giatras.

As a club, Promitheas makes a point of emphasizing the importance of their NOUS programme and more to the point, their willingness to give opportunities to young players from their NOUS program. The project that coach Giatras describes sounds similar in its holistic nature to that of the famed La Masia at Barcelona FC.

 

Giatras: «Certainly, it is very important for us to have players from the Academy that will also play a role in the men’s team. Players coming from our academy, beyond their talent, will have a character that suits the identity of the club. We have the will for these kids to join the team and to be counted as valuable members.  We house them and (privately) educate them. We just built a state-of-the-art training center. All of this, is to provide the best possible conditions to develop them as athletes but also as people.»

The focus on youth development certainly seems to be paying off. Promitheas are serial winners at the U16 and U18 level in Greece and when you look through the list of professionals on the roster, you also see names like Sandramanis (2000), Karaiskos (2001), Lanaras (2001) all given the confidence by the club and coaching staff to contribute at the senior level. Without question however, the name that jumps off the page when it comes to Promitheas’ young stars, is Lefteris Mantzoukas. At fourteen years of age, he was the youngest player ever to score in the top tier of Greek basketball last season and he did so against Olympiacos no less. Now fifteen and standing 6’6” (2.01m), Mantzoukas could be one the most fascinating stories to follow in the Basketball Champions League this season.

No matter which schemes coach Giatras and his staff choose to put on the floor, Promitheas BC in the Basketball Champions League, with their trusted core, athletic recruits and crop of young stars, are already promising to be one of the must-follow stories of this young season. When you consider this is a season that sees their countrymen AEK, return as champions and the likes of Brose Bamberg, Hapoel Jerusalem and Virtus Bologna also join for the first time, stealing headlines already, is a good start.

FOOTBALL

By Dimitris Vlachos, George Varvitsiotis, Thommas Antonopoulos & Alexander Kepenos

football

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world’s most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Association football is one of a family of football codes, which emerged from various ball games played worldwide since antiquity. The modern game traces its origins to 1863 when the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association.

Players are not allowed to touch the ball with hands or arms while it is in play, except for the goalkeepers within the penalty area. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may also use any other part of their body except the hands and the arms. The team that scores most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, which organises World Cups for both men and women every four years.

Association football is played in accordance with a set of rules known as the Laws of the Game. The game is played using a spherical ball of 68–70 cm circumference known as the football (or soccer ball). Two teams of eleven players each compete to get the ball into the other team’s goal (between the posts and under the bar), thereby scoring a goal. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner; if both teams have scored an equal number of goals then the game is a draw. Each team is led by a captain who has only one official responsibility as mandated by the Laws of the Game: to represent his or her team in the coin toss prior to kick-off or penalty kicks.

The primary law is that players other than goalkeepers may not deliberately handle the ball with their hands or arms during play, though they must use both their hands during a throw-in restart. Although players usually use their feet to move the ball around they may use any part of their body (notably, «heading» with the forehead) other than their hands or arms. Within normal play, all players are free to play the ball in any direction and move throughout the pitch, though players may not pass to teammates who are in an offside position.

During gameplay, players attempt to create goal-scoring opportunities through individual control of the ball, such as by dribbling, passing the ball to a teammate, and by taking shots at the goal, which is guarded by the opposing goalkeeper. Opposing players may try to regain control of the ball by intercepting a pass or through tackling the opponent in possession of the ball; however, physical contact between opponents is restricted. Football is generally a free-flowing game, with play stopping only when the ball has left the field of play or when play is stopped by the referee for an infringement of the rules. After a stoppage, play recommences with a specified restart.

At a professional level, most matches produce only a few goals. For example, the 2005–06 season of the English Premier League produced an average of 2.48 goals per match. The Laws of the Game do not specify any player positions other than goalkeeper, but a number of specialised roles have evolved. Broadly, these include three main categories: strikers, or forwards, whose main task is to score goals; defenders, who specialise in preventing their opponents from scoring; and midfielders, who dispossess the opposition and keep possession of the ball to pass it to the forwards on their team. Players in these positions are referred to as outfield players, to distinguish them from the goalkeeper. These positions are further subdivided according to the area of the field in which the player spends most time. For example, there are central defenders, and left and right midfielders. The ten outfield players may be arranged in any combination. The number of players in each position determines the style of the team’s play; more forwards and fewer defenders creates a more aggressive and offensive-minded game, while the reverse creates a slower, more defensive style of play. While players typically spend most of the game in a specific position, there are few restrictions on player movement, and players can switch positions at any time. The layout of a team’s players is known as a formation. Defining the team’s formation and tactics is usually the prerogative of the team’s manager.

Luzhniki_Stadium2

Ballon d” Or

By: Κωνσταντίνος Παπαγιαννόπουλος & Κωνσταντίνος Χαραλάμπους

The Ballon d’Or (French pronunciation: ​[balɔ̃ dɔʁ]; «Golden Ball») is an annual football award presented by French Football. It has been awarded since 1956, although between 2010 and 2015, an agreement was made with FIFA and the award was temporarily merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year, and known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or. However, the partnership ended in 2016 and the award was reversed back to Ballon d’Or, while FIFA also reverted to its own separate annual award (now named The Best FIFA Men’s Player).

Conceived by sports writer Gabriel Hanot, the Ballon d’Or award honours the male player deemed to have performed the best over the previous year, based on voting by football journalists. Originally it was an award for players from Europe. In 1995 the Ballon d’Or was expanded to include all players from any origin that have been active at European clubs. The award became a global prize in 2007 with all professional footballers from around the world being eligible.

History

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Stanley Matthews of Blackpool was the inaugural winner of the Ballon d’Or. Prior to 1995, the award was often known in English language media as the European Footballer of the Year award. Milan’s George Weah, the only African recipient, became the first non-European to win the award in the year that rules of eligibility were changed. Ronaldo of Internazionale became the first South American winner two years later. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won the award a record five times each. Three players have won the award three times each: Johan Cruyff of Ajax and Barcelona, Michel Platini of Juventus and Marco van Basten of Milan. With seven awards each, Dutch, German and Portuguese players won the most Ballons d’Or. Spanish club Barcelona has the most winners, with 11 wins.Between 2010 and 2015 inclusive, the award was merged with a similar one, the FIFA World Player of the Year award, to create the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which was awarded to the world’s best male player before FIFA and France Football broke the merging agreement. After 2011, UEFA created the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award to maintain the format of the original Ballon d’Or. Eight players (Bobby Charlton, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Paolo Rossi, Zinedine Zidane, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaká) have won the FIFA World Cup, the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or during their careers.

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