HLS student makes journey back to Iraq

first_imgThose looking for a relaxing summer break may have opted for somewhere other than Iraq. But for one Harvard Law School (HLS) student, the visit to the country in August was about work — and duty.Erik Swabb was there as part a tour sponsored by Vets for Freedom, a group founded by combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, whose mission, as stated on its Web site, is “to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts by applying our first-hand knowledge to issues of American strategy and tactics in Iraq.”On this recent visit, Swabb, a former Marine, was also reporting for the National Review. A frequent contributor to the magazine and Web site, he was embedded with the U.S. Army’s 18th Military Police Brigade in Baghdad.Instead of football or baseball greats as boyhood idols, Swabb’s boyhood stars were fighting men.“All my heroes growing up were military people; one of my idols was Gen. Grant,” said the Columbia graduate who majored in political science.“I thought it was kind of the ultimate challenge in life to be able to make decisions under stress and in combat … for a cause greater than oneself, and the sacrifice involved.”While stationed overseas as a platoon commander, the HLS student ended up making these sorts of decisions himself, facing ambushes and firefights, and witnessing numerous casualties.It was after his college graduation that Swabb’s interest in the military and desire to engage in public service led him to enlist. He joined the Marines just prior to 9/11 and was eventually deployed to Iraq where he served for several months outside Baghdad from 2004 to 2005. His unit saw combat during the effort to retake Fallujah, a former insurgent stronghold in the Al Anbar province.After returning from the war, Swabb felt compelled to write about his experiences. One of his first efforts appeared after the escalation of violence in 2006 and was sharply critical of the military for placing the blame heavily with the civilian leadership at the time.“The military deserves its fair share of blame for shortcomings in Iraq,” wrote Swabb in an opinion piece that ran in the Baltimore Sun in June 2006. “Because of the failure of the top military leadership to institutionalize the lessons of the Vietnam War, initial U.S. forces in Iraq were not prepared to wage counterinsurgency. As a result, we are facing a more difficult battle.”He was also moved to pick up his pen, he said, after talking with his best friend, another Marine who had also served in Iraq.“What is going on?” Swabb recalled the two asked each other of the situation on the ground in Iraq in 2006. They were confident the tactic of living and working in the local communities, side by side with Iraqis, was the way to go, but incredulous that the approach wasn’t being adopted on a wider scale. “We wondered,” recalled Swabb, “‘Where in the chain of command is it being lost what the correct approach is?’ … We just didn’t see it happening, Baghdad was descending into chaos; it was just so disheartening.”Swabb knew firsthand the strategy could work. After the second battle of Fallujah, his former commanding officer relocated his unit to a local town instead of to a U.S. base. While there, he said, they removed improvised explosive devices, uncovered arms caches, and targeted former high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.“It was great because we were able to see what a difference that living out with the people … makes. You’re out there providing security 24/7 — that’s the only way someone’s willing to give you intelligence on the bad guys.”This past August, Swabb was back in the country getting an inside look at the current situation on the ground. In Baghdad he met with members of both the U.S. and Iraqi security forces, inspected police stations, visited checkpoints, and attended the graduation ceremony of the country’s largest police academy.Swabb said the story across the board was a consistent one: Things are improving, with Iraqis increasingly confident and in control of their own safety.“From the colonel down to the private you want to hear what their evaluations are, and it’s uniform throughout that entire chain of command, which is why you can be pretty confident in the assessment: [Things] are a lot better.”Swabb was even more impressed by what he saw. He described Iraqi security officers returning to their homes, unarmed, still dressed in their uniforms, a move he said was unthinkable only a short time ago.“That would be a death sentence before the surge and before the new strategy because unarmed, wearing an Iraqi police uniform, you are going to be kidnapped and killed.”On a visit to a detention center, Swabb unexpectedly encountered two Iraqi human rights workers also inspecting the facility. Though he wasn’t allowed to speak with them, Swabb said just seeing them there was a positive sign.“This is wonderful; this is what you need to see. It’s great to have international human rights workers taking a look at this stuff or have Americans looking at this stuff, but if the Iraqis can look at this stuff, that’s awesome and it was wonderful to see that.”When it comes to timetables, Swabb isn’t a fan. The problem with establishing such fixed withdrawals of troops, he argued, is that it ignores Iraqi preparedness.“If the whole point of us being over there is training up the security forces to turn it over to them when they are ready, how can you regiment a timetable?” he said.He also noted that the concept of a timetable has a different meaning for Iraqis than Americans.“Their view of what a timetable is is different than the American view. A timetable by definition is inflexible for us; for them,” he said, “everything is flexible.”Swabb acknowledged the situation is still tenuous and that questions remain about the future role of the Sunni Awakening movement, former insurgents who have joined with the Americans to provide security and help reduce violence in the country. And questions remain as well about the future role of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army that has clashed with U.S. forces. Swabb warned, “a premature withdrawal of troops would be incredibly reckless.“There are no guarantees, but the strategy as is has had more success than anything else. … I don’t think it’s wise to change what has been working.”last_img read more

Mission lifeguards come to city council asking for a raise

first_imgMission lifeguards had their picture taken with the city council after making a presentation asking for a raise.A group of Mission lifeguards has asked the city council to consider raising the pay for the lifeguard staff at the community pool.The 10 young lifeguards made their pitch to the council last week and then posed for a picture with Mayor Steve Schowengerdt and the council.The lifeguards told the council that they are paid lower than guards at surrounding pools and that they have not received a raise in recent years. Lifeguards in Mission make $7.50 per hour to start. Captains and Learn to Swim instructors make $10 or $12 for being a Water Safety Instructor, according to the city.The guards told the council that Roeland Park pays $8.25 to start and $9 is starting in Overland Park. Short-staffing this summer might have been due to the low pay, they said.Mission City Administrator Laura Smith said the city’s salary and compensation plan is reviewed each fall. A salary freeze has been in place for several years, affecting not just the lifeguards, but all part-time staff at the community center and elsewhere. The city will be reviewing both part-time and full-time salary ranges as part of the process this year, she said.“We will start on that tomorrow,” Mayor Schowengerdt told them.The guards said that some have been at the pool for 10 years and that it is a good job for high school and college students. Smith said she appreciated the “thoughtful presentation” they made to the council.last_img read more

De Gea now hoping to get back into the Manchester United side

first_img Upd. at 23:09 “I felt good,” he said after the match. “I was really keen to play. Now I have to keep working hard and see if I get some luck with my club.” The goalkeeper replaced Iker Casillas in La Roja’s 1-0 win over Macedonia, with Juan Mata scoring the game’s only goal.  And his future? “My future is the same as [the present]: to be relaxed, to continue working and improving, to enjoy football… I am happy.”  CEST 08/09/2015 After a difficult week, which saw De Gea’s move to Real Madrid collapse at the last minute, it was nice for him to be back playing football again after being left out of every Man Utd squad while his on-off move to Los Blancos rumbled on.  Finally, the former Atletico Madrid player spoke about a huge win for Spain, one which pushes them closer than ever to qualification for Euro 2016.  De Gea also felt inclined to thank those who have helped him through the last week. “The support I have received has been really important,” he continued. “I have some wonderful teammates and I am really appreciate everyone’s support.” David de Gea hopes he will be lucky enough to play for Manchester United again soon after making his first appearance of the season for Spain.  Sport EN “We knew it was going to be a difficult game and it was,” he added. “It’s not easy playing here at this ground. Juan scored a good goal and we have picked up three really important points.”last_img read more

Cricket: The Indian U-19 team celebrates as they win the one-day series in Sri…

first_imgAdvertisement 8e3bnzxNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs45qkyWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E2adwk( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 2wehnWould you ever consider trying this?😱2ib0Can your students do this? 🌚w69Roller skating! Powered by Firework The Indian U-19 team defeated Sri Lanka to win the five-match one-day series in Sri Lanka on Friday. Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal struck a phenomenal hundred as they cruised to an eight-wicket victory and won the series by 3-2.Advertisement India restricted Sri Lanka to a moderate 212-9 in 50 overs to which the visitors knocked it off within 42.4 overs, courtesy goes to Jaiswal, who hit eight fours and three sixes in his 114 not out.Advertisement The 18-year left-arm medium pacer Mohit Jangra has the best figures of 2/30 while all the other bowlers got a wicket apiece. Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for 39 runs in a sudden middle-order collapse after looking good for a big score at 174 for 3. Though, the chase was never a problem for the Indian team because Jaiswal, who was dropped for poor form, came back strongly, being promoted up the order. Advertisement Also Read :Cricket: CoA approved a hike in the fee of Indian Selectors by 30 Lakhs Advertisementlast_img read more

Support for families in ‘ice’ battles

first_imgA support group for methamphetamine users and their families is holding a public information session. The Ice Meltdown Project (TIMP)…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Boom gates up in lights

first_imgBy Bonny Burrows A boom gate failure on the Pakenham train line in January 2016 has been cited as an…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Green Army Secure Place In World Cup Quarter Final

first_imgIreland 1 (O’Flanagan) India 0 Vitality Hockey World Cup, London The Green Army have beaten world number 10 India to book their place in the World Cup quarter final!There was very little to separate the two sides for periods of the first half with possession sitting at 50/50 for much of the opening 30 minutes. India got off to the more lively start with a penalty corner in the 4th minute but superb running and a clearance by Hannah Matthews kept the 0-0 scoreline preserved. The Green Army settled quickly and were content to pass around the back and wait for the space to open up. That space did eventually open and Katie Mullan and Anna O’Flanagan linked up in the circle to win a penalty corner of their own. Shirley McCay stepped up for one of her powerful sweeps from the top of the circle and O’Flanagan deflected it into the net for the lead. Ayeisha McFerran was in fine form once again today as she made a superb high stick save to send Vandana Katariya’s shot over the crossbar. India amassed 3 penalty corners before the half was out but a super clearance off the line by Matthews prevented an equaliser.O’Flanagan looked like she might double her tally early in the second half as she drove down the wing and along the baseline but Savita was out quick to make a strong low save. India continued to rack up the penalty corners, finishing the day with 7 in total, but McFerran couldn’t be beaten and the Green Army defensive unit were in imperious form. India continued to mount the pressure as they hunted the equaliser but Ireland created chances of their own with Mullan sending a pinpoint pass across the circle but Nikki Evans view was restricted and it skimmed past her stick. India pulled their goalie Savita in the hope of an equaliser and despite their high press and consistent pressure, the Irish didn’t waiver. The experience of Nicci Daly came to the fore along with the unstoppable McCay as Ireland wound the clock down and recorded a famous victory, securing their place in the World Cup quarter final.Commenting after the game, head coach Graham Shaw said “What a group of players, I thought they were absolutely fantastic from start to finish. It was a difficult game, the conditions were very tough and India played very well, and made it difficult for us. Credit to the players and the work they put it, they’re a special group and they deserve this . It’s my privilege and honour to be part of this group”.Starting: N Evans, K Mullan (Captain), S McCay, G Pinder, R Upton, A McFerran, C Watkins, L Colvin, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z WilsonSubs: G O’Flanagan, Y O’Byrne, M Frazer, E Tice, N Daly, D Duke, A Meekeprint WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Emailcenter_img LONDON – Vitality Women’s Hockey World CupIndia – IrelandPhoto: Ireland celebrating the win.COPYRIGHT WORLDSPORTPICS ANTONELLA GARELLO BONINIlast_img read more

Kane says he ‘could have done better’ for England at World Cup

first_imgHARRY KANE says he could have “done better” for England at the World Cup despite winning the Golden Boot.The Three Lions captain scored six goals during the tournament in which the country fell back in love with the national team.4 Harry Kane has admitted he ‘could have done better’ while playing for England at the World CupCredit: GettyBut the Spurs striker failed to fire in England’s semi-final defeat to Croatia, and spurned a glorious chance in the first half.And Kane has given a blunt assessment of how he saw his performances out in Russia.Speaking to Sky Sports, the 25-year-old: “I think I could have done better at the World Cup if I’m totally honest.”It was great and I scored some good goals and important goals.4 Harry Kane played in golden boots against Spain in the Uefa Nations LeagueCredit: Twitter / Nike / @SpursOfficial4 These are the Nike-designed boots given to Harry Kane in recognition of his World Cup goalscoring exploitsCredit: Twitter / Nike / @SpursOfficial”But there was stuff I could’ve done better as well – certain finishes and certain movements, but that is all part of the learning curve.”I remember coming back and talking to people about it, that to win a Golden Boot at a World Cup and think you could do better is exciting because it means there’s lots of improvement and I’m at a high level already.Most Read In FootballRETRACING STEPSJack Charlton’s granddaughter Emma Wilkinson ‘would love’ to visit IrelandROY RAGEFurious Roy Keane launched foul-mouthed rant at Pique over Fabregas friendshipPicturedTOP FORMBrazil icon Ronaldo soaks up sun with partner Celina Locks on yacht in FormenteraPicturedON THE PAOLPaolo Maldini shows off shredded physique at 52 while on holiday with wifeExclusiveLOCK CLOWNPaul Scholes flouts local lockdown rules by throwing huge 7-hour birthday bashLive BlogUNITED LATESTMan Utd transfer news LIVE: All the gossip and updates from Old TraffordGareth Southgate and Harry Kane expect tricky Spain will want redemption after World Cup4 Harry Kane is looking forward to seeing if his golden boots will bring goals against SpainCredit: Getty”I feel fully fit, we’ve come back and started the season well from a club point of view so hopefully I can take that into the games here. “The Tottenham talisman left fans baffled when he revealed the three words that are printed inside of them ahead of the Nations League clash with Spain.Kane, who guided the Three Lions to the semi-finals this summer, will wear the new boots to symbolise his success in Russia.But in bold letters inside of the shoe, it reads: “Lane. Lion. Leader.”Harry Kane stars in cringeworthy advert for Samsung and Fortnite as Tottenham star seems to forget where he liveslast_img read more

How Arsenal could line up in five years – will Guendouzi still be there?

first_img Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta However, if Guendouzi carries on his splendid form then some bigger clubs in Europe will come sniffing around and Arsenal may have to prepare for life without the Frenchman.This could see Maitland-Niles drop into central midfield with Willock and pave the way for Gunners academy graduate Reiss Nelson to play in an attacking role.Nelson wasn’t included in the first line-up as his most successful spell as a senior player was with Hoffenheim last season. Nelson may be tempted to follow in Jadon Sancho’s footsteps and try his luck in Germany. Life is looking much better for Arsenal at the moment.Some late business in the summer transfer window and a solid start to the 2019/20 Premier League season means there is a new wave of optimism at the Emirates Stadium. 8 There have been some good performances from some of their younger players this season too including the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, who earned huge praise for his display against Tottenham at the weekend. LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS buildlineup.com Getty Images – Getty Getty Images – Getty 8 deals Getty Images – Getty What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas If Arsenal are to progress, then they’ll need Guendouzi to stay The full-back slots should have current Arsenal players with Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney, who will be 29 and 27 respectively in five years as they are in the club’s long-term plans.Rob Holding is nearing closer to a return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury and should be in his peak years being 28 by 2024/25.He could partner William Saliba, 18, who Arsenal forked out over £10million for in the summer. The Frenchman is currently on loan at St Etienne, who Arsenal bought him off.The likes of David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will be 37 and 36 respectively so surely won’t be at the club in five years. Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ Getty Without an actual time machine at our disposal, it’s very hard to predict how Arsenal will line up but a few of their current players will probably be considered too old, not good enough or out of contract in five years.Goalkeeper Bernd Leno was at fault for Spurs’ first goal at the weekend but this is not the first time he’s made an error leading to a goal in an Arsenal shirt. Option 1: 4-2-3-1 8 Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti The most error-prone clubs in the Premier League since 2018/19 AFP or licensors Ozil may not be an Arsenal player during the 2024/25 season 8 BIG PRESENTS UP TOP Is this how Arsenal will line up on the opening weekend of the 2024/25 season? center_img targets Granit Xhaka is not rated by fans or even ex-players including Martin Keown and Paul Merson and he’ll probably be gone by the time his contract runs out in 2023.This could spell an opportunity for the likes of Joe Willock, who has been given a chance to shine this season and he’s even earned comparisons to the great Andres Iniesta during a pre-season win over Bayern Munich in the summer. He’ll be 25-years-old in 2024/25.Another academy player we’ve had glimpses of in the first-team is attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe, who looked good in some of the Gunners’ Europa League matches last season.Dani Ceballos is doing well so far but he’s at Arsenal on a season-long loan in a deal which has no obligation to buy so it seems the Spaniard still hopes to make it at parent club Real Madrid in the future.In five years time, the Gunners should be free of Mesut Ozil too, who is currently on a reported £350,000-a-week contract – a staggering amount when you consider he doesn’t always get picked for the starting XI and sometimes doesn’t seem particularly fazed by it. Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January Getty Images – Getty 8 on target However, the Gunners’ goalkeeping options suggest Leno will be the No.1 for the foreseeable future and there’s always a chance he could turn his form around. Arsenal may have to shift things around if Guendouzi gets sold Liverpool transfer news live: Star man wanted by Real Madrid, Mbappe latest and more Saliba is a player with plenty of potential Matteo Guendouzi is a ‘warrior’, says Arsenal legend stalemate 8 Emery’s men have eight points from their opening four Premier League matches 8 Gooners will be desperate to see error-prone Shkodran Mustafi leave, with his contract up in 2021, while Sead Kolasinac has somewhat struggled to get into the first-team regularly since arriving two years ago.If the Spurs game is anything to go by, then Guendouzi is the future of Arsenal’s midfield and the club will be desperate to keep hold of him.He may play alongside Lucas Torreira, but rumours of the Uruguayan being open to a move elsewhere in the summer suggest he may not be around for much longer. rookie error statement latest Maitland-Niles is currently serving as a full-back in Bellerin’s absence but you’d imagine he’ll get moved up to his preferred position as a midfielder or winger.Meanwhile, Arsenal are paying Lille £72million in multiple instalments for forward Nicolas Pepe so he’s surely in their long-term plans.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will be getting older by the 2024/25 season so someone else may have to step up in their potential absence.There are high hopes at the club for Eddie Nketiah, 20, who has made a handful of appearances in Arsenal’s first-team.He’s currently on loan at Championship club Leeds United, where he’s scored three goals in five matches so far.Option 2: Without Guendouzi Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship Leno’s status as Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper is safe, for now… Meanwhile, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 22, has cemented his place in the first-team over the past couple of seasons.The future looks pretty bright for the Gunners but how might they look in five years’ time?Below you can see how Arsenal might line up during the opening weekend of the 2024/25 season, according to talkSPORT.com. 8 Nelson started Arsenal’s opening two Premier League fixtures this season Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos, 21, should get a mention but his Arsenal career has been blighted by long-term injuries, meaning he’s falling behind at a crucial time in his development.Gabriel Martinelli, who signed from Brazilian club Ituano in the summer, may also be part of Arsenal’s plans but it remains to be seen whether he lives up to his promise.Another Arsenal forward who is making headlines is Tyreece John-Jules, 18, as he’s given a good account of himself in friendlies.If Nketiah doesn’t work out, John-Jules could be the man to lead Arsenal’s line in the future or who knows they could form a similar partnership to that of Aubameyang and Lacazette.Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – with Liverpool vs Newcastle next up after the international break.last_img read more

Ballon d’Or voters branded ‘clowns’ as Mahrez ahead of Sterling and Van Dijk no.2

first_imgNot only Reds fans were fuming at the result, many thought the centre-back was more deserving having led the Reds to European glory to just a point shy of the Premier League title.But Sports Breakfast host Brazil was peeved by another of the results…Big Al asked: “No Sterling in the top ten? What? How does that work?“With the greatest respect to Mahrez, how does he get in before Sterling?“Who are these clowns that pick this?”He wouldn’t be the only one surprised by that decision, with Mahrez voted the tenth best player in 2019 despite largely playing second-fiddle in the Man City team, while Sterling finished 12th. 3 3 Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:42Loaded: 23.20%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:42 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. talkSPORT host Alan Brazil was left fuming at the results for the 2019 Ballon d’Or after Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling missed out on a place in the top ten.At the glitzy ceremony at the Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet on Monday evening, Lionel Messi was crowned winner of the coveted gong for a record sixth time, as he beat Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk to the honour. 3 getty Getty Images Raheem Sterling has been in stunning form for Manchester City and England in 2019, scoring 38 goals for club and country An explanation for this is that the Ballon d’Or is also voted for by team-mates, captains and managers of national teams, as well as club sides.And so it means international performances and achievements factor heavily, which is probably why Mahrez features so highly above City’s other more crucial players, with Kevin De Bruyne finishing 14th and Sergio Aguero 16th.Mahrez led Algeria to glory in the Africa Cup of Nations and his superb stoppage-time free-kick put his nation through to the final.Bernardo Silva also finished ninth in the ranking, after he played a key role in Portugal’s triumph in the inaugural Nations League campaign. getty That would not have played a factor in why Messi was ranked number one, though, and former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara, who was opposite Big Al in the studio on Tuesday, believes Virgil van Dijk was more deserving of the 2019 award after a sensational year.“I think Van Dijk should have got it,” he said.“If you’re voting for the best player ever, you vote for Leo Messi But if you’re voting for that season in terms of what they did, it had to be Van Dijk.“Messi does that every season in the Spanish league, and Barcelona won the title.“But Van Dijk won the Champions League with Liverpool, he built them, he grew that team and they came so close to winning the Premier League as well.“He was incredible last season and he deserved it.” Man City and Algeria ace Riyad Mahrez celebrates winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final against Senegal Lionel Messi had plenty to smile about on Monday night after becoming the first player to win six Ballon d’Or awards Jamie O’Hara says Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk should have won the Ballon d’Or over Lionel MessiMessi’s win was his first Ballon d’Or since 2015, and it comes after he scored 54 goals for club and country in 2018-19, and led Barcelona to title victory in LaLiga.Van Dijk was second – one of four Liverpool players in the top seven, including Sadio Mane in fourth and Mohamed Salah in fifth.Five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo was third.Liverpool keeper Alisson won the inaugural Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper, and Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt took the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best under-21 player and selected by former Ballon d’Or winners.England defender Lucy Bronze was beaten to the women’s award, finishing second behind Megan Rapinoe, who was Golden Ball winner as USA claimed a second successive World Cup in 2019.last_img read more