May 29, 2024

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Ballon d’Or Awards: Lionel Messi anticipating eighth career trophy after World Cup glory with Argentina

This is an article version of the CBS Sports Golazo Starting XI Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in soccer. You can sign up to get it in your inbox three times a week here.


📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Monday, Oct. 30
🏆 Ballon d’Or coverage, 2 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+, CBS Sports Golazo Network
🇺🇸 MLS: Orlando City vs. Nashville, 7 p.m. ➡️ FS1
🇺🇸 MLS: Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas, 9 p.m. ➡️ FS1

Tuesday, Oct. 31
🇩🇪 DFB Pokal: Wolfsburg vs. Leipzig, 1 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+
🇮🇹 Coppa Italia: Bologna vs. Hellas Verona, 4 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🌍 Women’s friendly: Canada vs. Brazil, 7:39 p.m. ➡️ FS2

🏆 And the award goes to …

Paris will serve as the center of the soccer world today as many of the sport’s top talents hit the French capital for the presentation of the Ballon d’Or. After Karim Benzema and Alexia Putellas took home the men’s and women’s awards last year, respectively, a new winner is expected in both categories. Though a fresh crop of talent is staking their claim on the men’s game, Guillem Balague notes on Morning Footy that once again, the award is Lionel Messi’s to lose.

  • Balague: “There’s a touch of glamor related to the Ballon d’Or. How do you decide who is the best? Yes, individual statistics help but there is something more about Messi that, for as long as he gives us so much pleasure and wins, I think he should be there. … This is not over yet. The era of Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo is over, yes. The era of [Jude] Bellingham, [Kylian] Mbappe, [Erling] Haaland — and Messi — has just started.”

On the women’s side, Putellas is expected to pass on the Ballon d’Or to her club and country teammate Aitana Bonmati. It would be the latest accolade for Bonmati after she followed up Spain’s World Cup triumph with the tournament’s golden ball award and Europe’s top individual honor, but would also mark another sign of progress for the women’s game in her country. Balague said Putellas’ win last year was treated as a footnote, but Bonmati’s would showcase the increased attention the women’s game is earning in Spain.

  • Balague: “You look at [Bonmati’s] role, which is described by Pep Guardiola as an Iniesta — I think she’s more like a Xavi but in any case, she’s the engine or the brains of the midfield. … This should help improve the condition of pitches, bring interest for women’s football and a lot of things that should benefit Spanish football in general.”

A handful of other awards will be handed out during the ceremony, including the Kopa Trophy for the best men’s player under 21 and the Yashin Trophy for the top men’s goalkeeper. Bellingham is a favorite for the Kopa Trophy, while Emiliano Martinez could take home the Yashin Trophy after winning the World Cup with Argentina last year.

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⚽ Goals galore over the weekend


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It was a very busy weekend on both sides of the Atlantic, starting with the latest edition of El Clasico on Saturday. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Bellingham once again saved the day for Real Madrid as they clinched a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in stoppage time. The in-form Englishman now has 13 goals in 13 games and has almost single handedly lifted his side to first place in La Liga.

The following day, Manchester City pummeled Manchester United 3-0 on a day in which everything seemingly went right for City and went wrong for United. Haaland had two goals and one assist but Guardiola’s whole team had a field day as United’s midfield failed to show up, which once again puts Erik ten Hag in the hot seat amid a woeful run of form. Over in Italy, Inter picked up a 1-0 win over Roma in a match that was all about Romelu Lukaku. The match marked his return to the San Siro after leaving Inter for Roma over the summer, and though he did not score, he was the center of attention — good and bad — during the high-stakes matchup.

In the U.S., the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs began on Saturday with wins for the Philadelphia Union, LAFC, the Houston Dynamo, FC Cincinnati, and Sporting Kansas City. SKC were the only lower seed to pick up a win so far, demolishing the West’s top seed St. Louis City 4-1. The U.S. women’s national team also resumed action on Sunday, notching a 3-0 win over Colombia that showcased young players like Mia Fishel and Jaedyn Shaw.

Don’t miss CBS Sports Golazo Network’s Morning Footy, now in podcast form! Our crew brings you all the news, views, highlights and laughs you need to follow the Beautiful Game in every corner of the globe, every Monday-Friday all year long.

🔗  Top Stories

Rubiales ban: FIFA suspended ex-Spain federation president Luis Rubiales for three years after he forcibly kissed Jenni Hermoso during the Women’s World Cup trophy ceremony.

🇫🇷 Violence in France: Marseille-Lyon was called off on Sunday after Marseille fans attacked Lyon’s team bus and injured manager Fabio Grosso.

👍 Best of times: Harry Kane scored a stunner for Bayern on Saturday, Bellingham’s unbelievable streak continues, Napoli came back from a two goal deficit, the USWNT showed signs of progress, and Fran Kirby made her England return.

👎 Worst of times: Nothing’s going right for Manchester United, while Chelsea’s attack is sorely missing Christopher Nkunku.

🇺🇸 Three the hard way: MLS debuted a new playoff format this year with a best-of-three series in the first round, but it might not be a popular one.

🇳🇱 Dost recovery: Dutch forward Bas Dost is recovering after he suddenly collapsed during NEC’s game against AZ on Sunday.

🇨🇴 Diaz kidnapping: The parents of Liverpool’s Luis Diaz were kidnapped in Colombia on Saturday, and though his mother has been rescued, his father is still missing.

🇦🇷 Maradona tribute: The Morning Footy crew celebrates Diego Maradona on what would have been his 63rd birthday.

💵 Best bets

  • MLS Cup Playoffs: Orlando City vs. Nashville SC, Monday, 7 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Facundo Torres to score (+175)
    — The Lions are the favorites in this tie after finishing second in the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to Torres’ efforts. He led the team with 14 goals during the regular season, so if there’s anyone to count on to give Orlando the advantage, it’s him.
  • MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas, Monday, 9 p.m.
  • 💰 THE PICK: Both teams to score (+105) — The two sides may have finished on opposite sides of the table — the Sounders were second in the West, while Dallas were seventh — but they have one thing in common: Their goalscoring record. Both teams finished the regular season with 41 goals, demonstrating a team-wide nose for goal that could create an entertaining Monday night matchup.

📺 What’s on CBS Sports Golazo Network

☀️ Morning Footy (Weekdays 8-10 a.m.): Hosts Susannah Collins, Charlie Davies, Nico Cantor and Alexis Guerreros help fans get their day started on the network’s flagship morning show with highlights, interviews and the biggest soccer storylines. Morning Footy is also available in podcast form, so you’ll never have to miss an episode.

📦 Box 2 Box (Weekday afternoons): The news-driven show quickly recaps all the latest headlines from around the world with panelists previewing the top matchups of the day. Catch Box 2 Box on CBS Sports Golazo Network on the CBS Sports app, PlutoTV and Paramount+. 

3️⃣ Attacking Third (Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 p.m.): The leading women’s soccer podcast and social brand is now a live studio show. Watch Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 4 p.m. this week as our analysts break down the best highlights and analysis and share insider information for all things women’s soccer.

👟 Kickin’ It (Wednesday, 7 p.m.): CBS Sports Golazo Network’s new unfiltered interview show returns Wednesday Hosted by Kate Abdo, Clint Dempsey, Mo Edu and Charlie Davies, the group chat candidly with the biggest names from the Beautiful Game and share their stories from on and off the pitch. Jozy Altidore stops by this Wednesdasy.

🥅 Scoreline (Daily): Scoreline is the newest place for fans to catch up on all the biggest news and results impacting global football, match highlights from the top soccer competitions and all the can’t-miss goals from the day’s action, starting Thursday and airing seven days a week.

📺 How to watch: CBS Sports Golazo Network is a free 24/7 channel exclusively dedicated to offering unparalleled coverage of all the top soccer competitions worldwide. You can stream for free on the CBS Sports appPluto TV and Paramount+.