Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rooney salutes evergreen Giggs

Wayne Rooney was full of praise for Ryan Giggs, after the veteran winger provided two goals and scored another in United's 4-1 win at Fratton Park.

The Welshman, who turned 36 on Sunday, was at his influential best against Avram Grant's side and, although Rooney's hat-trick hogged the headlines, it was the contribution of Giggs which had the England international purring.

"He's amazing," Rooney told MUTV. "His energy, his workrate, his passing and his movement are unbelievable. It's a privilege to play with him.

"He plays more like a 26-year-old; he's up and down, he's everywhere. It's great for him to get his 100th Premier League goal. I didn't know (about the record) until after the game, but I'm delighted for him."

Rooney also took time out to praise the man on the opposite flank; Antonio Valencia, who gave Portsmouth a torrid time and continued his rapid assimilation to the United style of play.

"I think he's settling in more and he's looking much more of a threat now," said Rooney. "He's scored a few goals in recent weeks, he's big, strong, quick and if he keeps improving the way he is, he'll be a real threat for us throughout the season."

source: manutd.com

Lionel Messi wins Ballon 2009

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has been named the European Footballer of the Year.

Lionel Messi wallpaper
Lionel Messi wallpaper
photo author: adifansnet

The Argentinean won the prestigious Ballon d'Or by a record margin from last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi, 22, becomes the sixth Barcelona player to take the award but the first for four years - since Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho.

The Argentinian won an unprecedented treble last season as the Catalan side won the UEFA Champions League, the Liga title and the Copa del Rey.

Messi was the top scorer in last year's Champions League with nine goals, including a header in the 2-0 final defeat of Manchester United in Rome.

The talented playmaker knew he was a serious contender to win the coveted prize, but did not expect to pip his rivals by such a wide margin.

"Honestly, I knew that I was among the favourites because Barcelona had a fruitful year in 2009," he told French Football magazine.

"But I didn't expect to win with such a margin. The Golden Ball is very important to me.

"All the players who won it were great players, and some great players never won it."

Barca teammates were also hailed with midfielder Xavi taking third place with 170 points while Iniesta was fourth on 149.

In fifth place was Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o, who left Barca to join Inter Milan. He was Barca's other scorer in the 2-0 final win over United.

The highest ranked Premier League star was Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, who finished in eighth place. He was closely followed by Chelsea's Didier Drogba and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.