Miralem Pjanic picks his best world XI – featuring Messi and Suarez

The Bosnian – one of Serie A’s finest midfielders – selected six Liga stars, three Bundesliga players and one apiece from the Premier League and Ligue 1 in his all-star line-up


Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic has revealed his perfect world XI, featuring a formidable frontline of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Pjanic, who placed 20th in 2014′s Goal 50, was one of the stars of Serie A in 2013-14 and was linked with a host of top clubs earlier this year – including La Liga giants Barcelona – before putting pen to paper on a new deal in May.

The 24-year-old chose four Camp Nou players in his all-star selection, alongside three Bayern Munich men, two European champions with Real Madrid, one Manchester City man and a single Paris Saint-Germain star.

“Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper around,” Pjanic, who has his sights set on taking the Scudetto away from Juventus in 2014-15, told Goal.
 
“At right-back I would have Philipp Lahm and at left-back David Alaba. My central defenders would be Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos.
 
“My favourite midfielders are Andres Iniesta, Yaya Toure and Xavi.
 
“Up front I would have to go for Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.”

Yaya Toure: I will stay at Manchester City for as long as possible

The 31-year-old Ivorian has been the subject of much speculation in 2014 that he might leave the Etihad Stadium but says he is “very happy” to be back for pre-season


Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is adamant that he wants to remain at the club for “as long as possible”.

The 31-year-old reportedly came close to leaving earlier this year after his agent, Dimitri Seluk, claimed that Toure felt “disresepected” by the club after not being wished a happy birthday in May, while Toure himself also expressed an interest in joining Paris Saint-Germain.

Toure has previously said both that fans should “not take words that do not come from my mouth seriously” but that “everything Dimitri said is true [and] he speaks for me”, though now insists that he was “always quiet” on the subject of his happiness and future.

The Ivorian told the club’s official website that he is intent on staying, adding his belief that he handled the speculation surrounding an exit from the Etihad Stadium correctly at the time.

Toure explained: “It was not the case about leaving the club, it is difficult because my situation was quite difficult. When we need to do something, we needed to do a statement. For me it was normal … I was always quiet.

“At the end of the day it’s my decision. If you say that, I will say it. If you don’t like that, I will say it again and, if you like it, I will say it, and for me it was the right way and I will stay at Man City as long as possible.”

Toure was an integral part of Manuel Pellegrini’s title-winning side, scoring 20 times in 35 league games last term, but insists that City will have to focus ahead of the 2014-15 season given the array of talent flooding to the Premier League.

“Now I’m very happy to be joining the team and the manager because he’s a fantastic manager,” he enthused. “Everybody is very happy, it is positive. Last year was a good season.

“This year will be amazing because all the big teams are signing good players. For me, first of all it was good to bounce back.”

Toure admits that the last few months had been difficult for his family after his brother, Ibrahim, passed away following a long battle with illness.

“I’m feeling fine,” said the midfielder. “It’s good to start training again. It’s been a difficult pre-season. Unfortunately it was a difficult summer for my family.

“When you lose a brother it is always difficult and he was young, too. We were very sad, all the family. We need to move on and pray for him.

“He was my brother, he loved football. When he was sick in Manchester he was watching every game I was playing in. After them I was coming to see him in hospital.

“I think we need to try to move on and try to think about the next step.”

Messi, Ronaldo & Suarez feature in Goal readers' Team of the Season

Goal asked who were the best players in each position and has compiled an XI of star performers over the last year

The 2013-14 season was as dramatic as ever across the world. Real Madrid won the Champions League for the 10th time in their history, Bayern Munich strolled to a domestic double, Arsenal ended their trophy drought and Manchester City claimed the Premier League title.

The curtain closed on the campaign at the World Cup, which Germany won, and there were many stars from across the world who shone for club and country. Goal asked its readers for their players of the year in each position and the results are in…

Manuel Neuer takes the gloves after playing a key role in both Bayern’s triumphs in Germany and shining at the World Cup for the national team. The former Schalke skipper picked up 35 per cent of the vote, 6.5% more than Thibaut Courtois, his main competitor.

Centre-backs dominated the poll for defenders, with Sergio Ramos winning with 31.7% of the vote. He forms a three-man back line with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin and Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva, though the South American duo were some way behind their Spanish counterpart.

Angel Di Maria was another winner from Real Madrid and takes his place in midfield alongside his Santiago Bernabeu colleague Luka Modric, Yaya Toure, Manchester City’s standout man and Aaron Ramsey, who scored the winning goal in Arsenal’s FA Cup final victory.

Up front, three of the biggest stars in the game form a formidable front line. Cristiano Ronaldo was the most popular choice with over 40% of the vote and plays on the left, with Luis Suarez on the right after his heroics almost led Liverpool to the Premier League title and won him a move to Barcelona, where he will play alongside Lionel Messi, who had a quiet season by his high standards for the Catalans but led Argentina to the World Cup final.

Di Maria voted Goal readers' midfielder of the season

The Argentine came out on top in our poll of the best midfielders from 2013-14 as part of the countdown to the Goal 50


Angel Di Maria has topped Goal‘s poll of the best midfielders of the 2013-14 season as we continue the countdown to the Goal 50.

The Argentine was reinvented in a deeper role by Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid and thrived, putting in a man of the match performance in his side’s historic Champions League final victory over city rivals Atletico.

And Di Maria picked some 23.1 per cent of the vote, just ahead of Yaya Toure, who led Manchester City to the Premier League title and garnered 19.9%.

The next highest in the poll is Di Maria’s Madrid colleague Luka Modric, who landed 11.1% after a superb season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

In fourth was Aaron Ramsey, who enjoyed a wonderful year for Arsenal, scoring a dramatic extra-time winner in the FA Cup final to end the Gunners’ trophy drought. His exploits saw him backed by 8.5%.

He had Juventus star Arturo Vidal breathing down his neck, though, the Chilean picking up 8.4% of the vote, while Toni Kroos, who won a move from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid this summer, is next with 7%.

See how Di Maria fared in the Goal 50 when the full rankings, including the winner, are announced on July 28.

Yaya Toure confirms he is staying at Manchester City

The Cote d’Ivoire star says he will honour his contract and remain at the Etihad Stadium for “as long as possible” despite claims he was unhappy at the club earlier this summer


Yaya Toure has confirmed that he will stay at Manchester City this summer, putting an end to speculation surrounding his future with the Premier League champions.

The Cote d’Ivoire midfielder has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain after his agent, Dimitri Seluk, claimed that he was “bitterly upset” by the way he had been treated at City.

According to Seluk, none of the club’s owners shook his hand when they travelled to the United Arab Emirates at the end of the season a short time after his 31st birthday.

Toure initially backed his agent’s comments but has now told Sky Sports that he is looking forward to remaining at the Etihad Stadium for the forseeable future.

“They’ve always been good with me and my family,” he said. “I want to say [to the fans] that I will always honour my contract and stay as long as possible and don’t think about all the speculation they’ve seen saying I’ll be leaving.

“I think for what the fans have done for me, and the club as well, it’s a big pleasure to stay and continue and try to enjoy the next season.

“There are more important things than money because sometimes in life it’s ideal to be in a good way and healthy. That aspect is very important. The team is preparing well and we’ll try to win again next year.”

Seluk has also now ruled out a move for his client. ”He is 100 per sent staying with City next season, not [moving to] PSG or anywhere else,” he told the Manchester Evening News.

Toure signed a new deal with City a year ago and is under contract until 2017. He scored 20 league goals in 35 games as Manuel Pellegrini’s team won the Premier League last season.