Giants’ Buster Posey wins National League MVP award

Updated 17 November 2012
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Giants’ Buster Posey wins National League MVP award

NEW YORK: Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants added to a career’s worth of accomplishments by winning the National League Most Valuable Player award on Thursday in just his third season.
Yet the humble, 25-year-old catcher said what he took away from the 2012 season was a heartfelt appreciation just to be able to play.
Posey had the highest batting average in the major leagues at .336 and pounded 24 homers while driving in 103 to win MLB’s top individual award following a 2011 season that ended for him after only 45 games in a devastating collision at home plate.
“I do know that I definitely have a deeper appreciation for being able to play baseball,” said Posey, who suffered a broken leg and torn ligaments in his ankle while trying to block home on a play at the plate.
“I’ve seen that it can be taken away quick,” he told reporters in a conference call. “Hopefully I can continue to embrace the game and enjoy it, regardless of outcomes and how you do. Just try to appreciate each minute you’re out there.” Posey has thrived in his brief major league time on the diamond.
He came up in May of 2010 and helped the Giants win a World Series and claim Rookie of the Year honors in the process.
This season he won his second World Series in three years, was a runaway winner of the Comeback Player of the Year award, and on Thursday became the first catcher in 40 years to win the NL MVP following Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds in 1972.
“I think I’ve been fortunate to play with some really good players and play on some really good teams,” the soft-spoken Georgia native said.
One thing Posey is proud of is playing catcher.
He was determined to get back behind the plate even when it was thought he might be shifted to first base or another less physically demanding position in coming back from his injuries.
“I think it’s a position that to start playing it in the first place you have to love it,” said Posey.
“There’s something about being back there behind the plate and working with your pitchers. For me, especially, having such a good staff in San Francisco...I wanted another opportunity to work with those guys.
“I’m glad I did. It didn’t take long once I was able to get back in a crouch again to get that same feeling and remember how much I enjoy doing it.” Posey became just the third catcher to win both the rookie award and an MVP, following Bench and Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees.
He also became just the third Giants player to achieve that double, following Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.
“Just to hear my name mentioned with those guys doesn’t seem real,” Posey said. “I have such a huge amount of respect for what all of those guys have accomplished. To be able to mentioned alongside them means a great deal to me.” Posey garnered 27 of the 32 first-place votes in ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (.319, 41 HR, 122 RBI, 105 runs), the 2011 MVP, was runner-up in the voting after receiving three first-place votes.
The other two-first place votes went to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (.315, 22 HR, 76 RBI), who finished fourth behind Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (.327, 31 HR, 96 RBI) on the points list.


Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

Updated 25 min 12 sec ago
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Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

  • Messi and Ronaldo have won the award for the past ten years
  • Salah has emerged as a genuine rival after scoring 43 goals this season

LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah could be the man to finally break the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly at the top of world football after the Liverpool forward burnished his soaring reputation with a mesmerising Champions League performance against Roma.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi have locked down the Ballon d’Or award for a decade, winning five gongs apiece — for the past seven years they have occupied the top two slots.
But Salah is now second favorite behind Ronaldo for this year’s award after scoring his 42nd and 43rd goals of the season in a thrilling 5-2 victory for Liverpool in the Champions League semifinal first leg.
After his first strike against his former club on Tuesday, the man dubbed by fans as the “Egyptian King” stood motionless, hands raised in apology, as bedlam broke out on a night for the ages at Anfield.
Salah’s curling effort arrowed into the top corner with such accuracy his manager Jurgen Klopp labelled it “a genius strike.”
Soon after came the forward’s signature finish, a cute dink over advancing Roma goalkeeper Alisson for his 43rd goal in 47 games for Liverpool.
When Salah, 25, made the move from the Italian capital back to the Premier League just 10 months ago for €42 million ($51 million), there were plenty who felt Roma had got the better deal. Salah after all was a talented player, but who often lacked an end product.
It also came just a few weeks before Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222 million revolutionized the transfer market.
The Brazilian’s desire to leave the Catalan giants was tied to his ambition to beat Messi and Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or by stepping out of Messi’s shadow.
Now, though, it is Salah who has emerged as the pretender to end the Messi-Ronaldo domination by not only scoring the quantity of goals that have become the pair’s trademark but doing it when it really matters, in the latter stages of the Champions League.
“If you think he is the best in the world, write it or say it,” urged Klopp, who has been credited with bringing out Salah’s previously untapped potential.
“To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period I think, and there are a few others that are not so bad.”
Heavily left-footed, small, speedy and with a low center of gravity, Salah’s characteristics are far more like those of Messi than the muscular goal-machine Ronaldo.
“In a certain light, at certain points, it is possible to glimpse in Salah a little of Messi’s afterglow,” wrote Rory Smith in the New York Times.
And he demonstrated another Messi-like quality in showing no mercy to Roma.
Chasing his first hat-trick in the Champions League, Salah would have been forgiven for going for goal as he bore down on Alisson once more after half-time.
But he showed why he is considered one of the game’s more unselfish superstars by instead creating another two goals for strike partners Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
When Salah left the field to a standing ovation 15 minutes from time, Liverpool led 5-0.
“Unstoppable (when Salah’s on the pitch),” said the back page of The Times.
Two late Roma away goals have at least given the Italians hope of recreating the incredible comeback they staged from a 4-1 first-leg deficit against Barca in the quarter-finals.
For once it is Salah’s turn to lead the way where Messi faltered on his return to the Eternal City next week.
Messi is almost certain to win a La Liga and Copa del Rey double and Ronaldo could lead Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League after another bucketload of goals this season.
But Salah is the coming man and after bagging the African and English players’ player of the year crowns, it is hard to back against him also conquering the world.