Mohamed Salah retains African Player of the Year award

Mo Salah scored 44 goals for Liverpool last season. (AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019
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Mohamed Salah retains African Player of the Year award

  • Senegalese Sadio Mane and Arsenal and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the other finalists
  • Salah netted 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season

DAKAR: Mohamed Salah cretained his African Player of the Year award in Senegal Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Liverpool star finished first with club-mate Senegalese Sadio Mane and Arsenal and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the other finalists.
"I have dreamt of winning this award since I was a child and now I have done so twice in a row," Salah said soon after receiving his trophy in Dakar.
"My thanks go to my family, my team-mates and my fans and I dedicate this trophy to my homeland, Egypt."
It was an identical outcome to last year when Salah became only the second Egyptian after 1983 winner Mahmoud al Khatib to be voted the best footballer in Africa.

Salah netted 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season - his first with the Anfield club - and has bagged 13 Premier League goals so far this season.
Ironically, Aubameyang has scored one league goal more than Salah, topping the charts with Tottenham Hotspur and England star Harry Kane on 14.
Salah was born in a northern Egyptian town Nagrig and used to make eight-hour return trips on buses to train with Cairo-based El Mokawloon.

Spotted by scouts from Swiss club Basel, he moved there in 2012 before joining Premier League giants Chelsea two years later.
Salah found scoring difficult early in his professional career and was nicknamed "chancentod" (chance killer) by the Swiss media.
Later, playing for Chelsea in a League Cup tie, the Egyptian was so off-target with a goal attempt that the ball trickled over the touchline for a throw-in.
Unhappy with his two-goal return, Chelsea lent Salah to Italian outfits Fiorentina and Roma, then sold him to the latter club.
Salah blossomed in Rome, averaging close to a goal every two matches, and Liverpool paid almost 37 million pounds (about $47 mn/41 mn euros) to sign him two years ago.
The Egyptian had his share of setbacks last year, too, with an injury in the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid also keeping him out of a World Cup defeat by Uruguay.
He returned to score against hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, but the Pharaohs exited their first appearance at the global showpiece in 28 years without securing even one point.
Salah netted twice and missed two penalties three months later in a 6-0 Cup of Nations rout of Niger and snatched the late winner in a 3-2 victory over Tunisia in the same competition.
Having defended his Player of the Year title, his next goal will be to match the four straight wins in the competition by former Manchester City and Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure.
The other male awards went to France-born Morocco coach Herve Renard, the Mauritania national team, and Moroccan Achraf Hakimi in the youth category.
South African Chrestinah Kgatlana was voted Women's Player of the Year and South Africa coach Desiree Ellis and the Nigeria national team were the other female winners.
The Goal of the Year award also went to Kgatlana.

 

 


Ronaldo faces multi-million tax fraud fine in Madrid court

Updated 22 January 2019
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Ronaldo faces multi-million tax fraud fine in Madrid court

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Madrid for a court date on Tuesday in which he could be fined 18.8 million euros ($21.4 million) for tax fraud as part of a deal reached with the Spanish taxman.
As part of an agreement arranged in June with the former Real Madrid hero’s lawyers, prosecutors are also asking that the Portuguese attacker, who last summer left the Spanish capital for Italian champions Juventus, be handed a 23-month jail sentence.
However Ronaldo would not spend a day in prison as sentences of up to two years are generally not enforced in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.
The hearing, due to start at 9:50 am (0850 GMT), is expected to last just a few minutes as the deal is officially presented to the judge.
He in turn will give the final sentence on Tuesday or the coming days, according to a spokesman for the court in northern Madrid.
Ronaldo will not be given special treatment when he arrives and will have to climb up the courthouse steps amid a likely media scrum despite the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s lawyers asking he be allowed to enter the building by car to avoid the spotlight.
The court president refused the request, saying that despite his “great fame,” he wouldn’t “compromise security” at the building, according to a court document.
His request to appear via videoconference was also denied.

Denial
Madrid prosecutors opened a probe into Ronaldo in June 2017 and he was questioned in July that same year.
“I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes,” he told the court then, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.
Prosecutors accuse him of having used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions — notably the British Virgin Islands and Ireland — to avoid having to pay the tax due in Spain on his image rights between 2011 and 2014.
His lawyers said there had been a difference in interpretation of what was and was not taxable in Spain.
The deal between Spain’s taxman and his lawyers has allowed Ronaldo to avoid having to sit through a long trial that could have damaged his image and seen him handed a heftier sentence.
Ronaldo is not the only footballer to have fallen foul of Spain’s tax authorities.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, once Ronaldo’s big La Liga rival, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.
The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros, equivalent to 400 euros per day of the original term.

Accused of rape
But Ronaldo’s legal wrangles won’t be over after a probe was opened in the United States in October after a former American model accused him of raping her in Las Vegas in 2009.
Police in the western US city recently asked Italian authorities for a DNA sample from the footballer.
Ronaldo has always strenuously denied the accusations.
In a New Year’s Eve interview with Portuguese sports daily Record, he said he had a “calm conscience” and was “confident that everything will very soon be clarified.”