The Offside Treble – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or celebrations, David Ginola challenges Sepp Blatter and Stephanie Roche’s Puskas award experiences

In this week instalment of The Offside Treble, Jen talks about Cristiano Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or celebrations, Stephanie Roche competing with the best in the world for the Puskas award and how popular Frenchman David Ginola will stand against Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential elections.

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All That Glitters

There were two noteworthy happenings this week, as football’s glitterati gathered to celebrate who’s the best in the world and all that. Maybe three, depending on how much you care about Lionel Messi, but I really am supposed to be talking about the Premier League and I’m going to fail to meet this remit yet again, so let’s not dwell on him. Except to consider how much he looks like a fan’s art tribute of Frank Lampard – as if Messi were a bad (but much more talented) drawing of Frank. Think about it.

Yeah, so Cristiano Ronaldo beat Lionel Messi (it’s quite literally been dominated by the pair for the last four years *yawns*) to take home Fifa’s Ballon d’Or (football for Golden Ball) for being player of the year. But more to the point, when he accepted his award, he did this which now joins the constant loop in my brain of Real Talk by R Kelly, Go Fishing with Jack Charlton, Robert Kilroy Silk’s opening lines from his old talk show, and the roaring tiger at the end of The Really Wild Show title sequence (topical, but admittedly nothing to do with football). It’s a harrowing place, my brain.

Secondly, a WOMAN – Stephanie Roche – took the second prize in the Puskas award for goal of the year. Roche, who plays for Peamount United in Ireland’s Women’s National League, scored the undeniably brilliant goal against Wexford Youths and was up against World Cup goals scored by the Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie and Colombia’s James Rodriguez – who finished in third and first place, respectively. Despite the obvious technical skill deployed by Roche, some pundit I’ve never heard of later branded her inclusion on the list as ‘tokenism’. In fairness, I’ve never heard of Stephanie Roche before either and yes, maybe she is an amateur and may remain so – probably because no one will pay her the money she deserves to earn as a female athlete.

Something Stupid

In less interesting news, someone in football did something daft this week and lost their job over it. This time it was Manchester United’s Danish talent scout, Torben Aakjaer, for posting what the Daily Mail ironically calls “racially offensive” anti-immigration messages on Facebook. The offensive messages, re-published by the Mail, are fairly unpleasant so I’ll not repeat them but suffice to say, it’s probably not the ideal views to be held by someone tasked with recruiting international players – even if he wasn’t really properly employed by United. The club issued a statement, following a brief investigation, announcing the termination of its “association” with Aakjaer.

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Smooth Operator

My favourite story this week is the news that former footballer and French love god, David Ginola (who I fancied a lot when I was 15 which, looking back, was odd, but my crush on Alan Hansen conclusively confirms the oddness) is preparing to pile the pressure on Sepp Blatter’s bid for continued dictatorship/totally fair presidency by standing against him in Fifa’s forthcoming presidential election. The only ‘fly in the ointment’ is that Ginola will have to prove, by January 29, he’s played an “active role” in football over the last two years – and not just fannied around charming the pants off interviewers over a cups of fairly average instant coffee. God, he’s good.

Read more from Jen Offord here!

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