Lionel Messi was crowned soccer’s best player for a record third straight time last night to cap a year in which his Barcelona team won the Champions League, the Spanish championship and the Club World Cup.
On a cross from Fabio Coentrao, Karim Benzema, with a single touch, puts the ball in the right place. It’s the only goal of the night, yet it’s beautiful, and with it Real Madrid wins at its home stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu.
The former agent of three-time world soccer player of the year Zinedine Zidane used a so-called U.K. letterbox company as part of a plan to avoid paying more than 2.5 million euros ($3.2 million) in taxes, according to the ruling of an appeal court in Valencia, Spain.
Switzerland made it through European qualifying without a loss, and was rewarded with one of the top eight seeds at the World Cup. Ottmar Hitzfeld’s squad will try to advance from a pool that includes 1998 champion France, Ecuador and Honduras.
France, the 1998 World Cup champion, may avoid higher-ranked soccer teams at next year’s tournament in Brazil after the sport’s governing body changed the way it organized today’s draw, irking some European squads.