THE SOCCER REPORT

Soccer Recap: Messi, Rapinoe named Ballon d'Or winners, Liga MX playoffs down to four

Soccer Recap: Messi, Rapinoe named Ballon d'Or winners, Liga MX playoffs down to four
Lionel Messi is the only player to win six Ballon d'Or trophies. Credit: Getty Images

Messi wins record 6th Ballon d'Or, Rapinoe wins first

Lionel Messi is back on top of the men's soccer pyramid as the "best in the world" after winning the famed Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) award for the first time since 2015 - breaking a tie with Cristiano Ronaldo for most all-time with six. Ronaldo finished third in the 2019 voting with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk finishing second.

In the women's category, USA forward Megan Rapinoe was named the winner ahead of England's Lucy Bronze and fellow USA teammate Alex Morgan. It is only the second year that a Women's Ballon d'Or is awarded.

The Ballon d'Or has been awarded since 1956 by France Football magazine and is considered the standard for recognizing the world's best player, even over FIFA's annual Player of the Year award.

English Premier League

Top six: 1. Liverpool (40), 2. Leicester City (32), 3. Man City (29), 4. Chelsea (26), 5. Tottenham (20), 6. Wolves (20)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. Southampton (12), 19. Norwich City (11), 20. Watford (8)

Scoring leader: 13 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Assists leader: 9 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (31), 2. Real Madrid (31), 3. Sevilla (30), 4. Real Sociedad (26), 5. Athletic Bilbao (26), 6. Atletico Madrid (25)

Bottom three: 18. Celta Vigo (13), 19. Espanyol (9), 20. Leganes (6)

Scoring leader: 10 - Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Assists leader: 5 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Monchengladbach (28), 2. RB Leipzig (27), 3. Schalke 04 (25), 4. Bayern Munich (24), 5. Dortmund (23), 6. Freiburg (22)

Bottom three: 16. Hertha Berlin (11), 17. Cologne (8), 18. Paderborn (5)

Scoring leader: 16 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 8 - Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Inter Milan (37), 2. Juventus (36), 3. Lazio (30), 4. Cagliari (28), 5. Roma (28), 6. Atalanta (25)

Bottom three: 18. Genoa (10), 19. SPAL (9), 20. Brescia (7)

Scoring leader: 17 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 9 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top four: 1. PSG (33), 2. Marseille (28), 3. Angers (24), 4. Bordeaux (23)

Bottom three: 18. Dijon (15), 19. Nimes (12), 20. Tolouse (12)

Scoring leader: 10 - Moussa Dembele (Lyon)

Assists leader: 7 - Islam Slimani (Monaco) / Yoann Court (Brest)

Liga MX Playoffs

The playoffs stage in Mexican football kicked off with the quarter-finals, a round in which all top four seeds feel over the two-leg series.

Quarterfinal results:

  • Club Leon 4-5 agg. Monarcas Morelia
  • Queretaro 2-6 agg. Necaxa
  • Santos Laguna 3-6 agg. Monterrey
  • Club America 2-4 agg. Tigres UANL

Liga MX Femenil Playoffs

The final of the female Liga MX division kicked off it's two leg series with a 1-1 draw between Monterrey rivals Tigres UANL and Rayadas in front of a league-record 41,615 attendance. The return leg is scheduled for Saturday, December 7 at Estadio BBVA.

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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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