Monday Kickoff: Barca trio vie for award, Friedel eyes MLS return and more

Monday Kickoff: Barca trio vie for award, Friedel eyes MLS return and more

Women's Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Barca trio vie for award, Friedel eyes MLS return and more

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When discussing the best players in the world, the conversation tends to drift toward Barcelona's star-studded squad. When selecting the best player in the world for 2010, the decision will also come down to one of the Spanish champion's many maestros.

Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta are the three finalists for the Ballon d'Or, the newly-revamped award which is a combination of the long-standing Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Messi, Xavi and Iniesta edged out several other quality candidates, including Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Iniesta is being reported as the winner by some media outlets in Europe.

FIFA has also named the three finalists for Manager of the Year, with Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque, Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho on that list.

Here are some other stories from Monday morning and the weekend to get your day and week going:


Former U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Friedel has spent more than a dozen years plying his trade in Europe, but he may be ready to return to Major League Soccer.

Friedel is reportedly pondering an offer to be a player-coach for the Columbus Crew as talks with current club Aston Villa over a new contract have come to a halt. The 39-year-old standout could still remain in England, but a return to the Crew could make for an interesting proposition.

Columbus currently boasts Wil Hesmer in goal and while he is one of the better young goalkeepers in the league the Crew would be hard-pressed to pass on the chance to bring back Friedel, who played for Columbus in 1996 and 1997.


The Notre Dame women's team earned its third NCAA championship on Sunday with a 1-0 win against Stanford.

Adriana Leon scored the lone goal of the match to help snap Stanford's 22-match unbeaten streak and make the Fighting Irish only the second women's team to win three or more NCAA titles (North Carolina being the other).


Monterrey rode a pair of goals from Humberto Suazo to defeat Santos Laguna, 3-0, to clinch the Mexican Apertura championship on Sunday. The three-goal victory erased the 3-2 deficit from the first leg.


Powered by an Omar Cummings goal and a Golden Boot performance from Dane Richards, the Jamaican national team captured the Digicel Caribbean Cup on Sunday, beating Guadeloupe in penalty kicks to take the Caribbean title.

Cummings scored the lone goal in regulation for the 'Reggae Boyz', and after overtime could not produce a winner, Jamaica finished off Guadeloupe with a perfect round of penalties.


Newcastle has fired Chris Hughton as manager just a day after the Magpies dropped a 3-1 decision to West Brom.

The firing came amid speculation that the club could be ready to make a move, but the firing is coming under heavy criticism because of Hughton's efforts to bring Newcastle back up after being relegated. There is no word on a replacement yet.


What do you think of these developments? Who gets your Ballon d'Or vote? Like the idea of Friedel returning to MLS? Stunned at Newcastle's move to fire Hughton?

Share your thoughts below.

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