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Werder Bremen dismisses Real Madrid’s bid for Özil

Spanish giants Real Madrid failed on Friday in a bid to persuade Werder Bremen to part with German World Cup sensation Mesut Özil, with their offer dismissed as "unacceptable."

Werder Bremen dismisses Real Madrid's bid for Özil
Hot property - Özil. Photo: DPA

“We have received an unacceptable offer and we will not allow negotiations to open,” Werder sports director Klaus Allofs told the SID news agency.

Financial details of the bid were not disclosed but German media reported that a €16-million price tag had been placed on Özil whose contract with Werder expires in June 2011.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho admitted his great interest in the 21-year-old.

“His club said no. No we will have to see what happens. It would be great if he could join us,” said Mourinho.

Ozil has been the recent target of clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester United.

The midfielder, who joined Werder Bremen in January 2008 for €4.25 million, impressed during the World Cup this summer in which Germany finished third.

It was also reported at the weekend that football’s world governing body FIFA is considering scrapping drawn games from the group stages of the World Cup finals.

The organisation’s chief Sepp Blatter Focus magazine he wanted to put an end to defence-minded teams playing to get a draw in the early games of the sport’s showcase tournament.

“We are considering doing away with draws in the first round … and also ending extra-time play,” he said.

“If there is no winner at the end of 90 minutes of play, we would proceed directly to penalty kicks.”

Another possibility, according to Blatter, would be to revive the Golden Goal scenario whereby if a match is drawn, the first team to score a goal would be the winner.

That was used in the 1998 competition in France but was abandoned four years later when the finals were held in Japan and South Korea.

The next World Cup will be held in Brazil in 2014.

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FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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