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Fonte's career heating up

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Fonte hopes slow-burning club career can catch fire after triumphant 2016

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Victor Lindelof is good enough for Man United and other European top clubs.
While Antoine Griezmann says he's happy in Madrid, Craig Burley says Man United could be potential suitors.

He is the champion of Europe who was not deemed worthy of a game in this season's Europa League. He seems unwanted by Southampton and may be coveted by Manchester United. Jose Fonte's 2016 has been a triumphant and confusing affair. His 2017 promises to be eventful; if it doesn't bring a belated move to the big time, it will be his last full calendar year as a Saints player.

He has been the pillar of Southampton's rise and the man who captained them to their highest position, sixth, in 31 years....

 By Tom Kundert

Jorge Jesus' mystique in Portugal wavering with his Sporting on the brink

Sporting CP coach Jorge Jesus is under fire following a third defeat in four games.

One year ago, many in Portugal were saying Jorge Jesus had overtaken Jose Mourinho as the best Portuguese manager. Jesus had won everything at Benfica, sensationally and acrimoniously walked out for fierce Lisbon rivals Sporting CP, and subsequently led the Lions to a flying start to the season. Now, following a third defeat in four games for Sporting, few would dare to utter such a notion.

A nightmare fortnight has seen Jesus' team knocked out of the Champions League by Legia Warsaw, beaten 2-1...

Real Madrid honour Cristiano Ronaldo with Ballon d'Or-shaped cake

Cristiano Ronaldo is the winner of the 2016 Ballon d'Or, the fourth time he has received the award.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid teammates marked his 2016 Ballon D'Or success by presenting him with a cake in the shape of the trophy, as tributes poured in from many of his friends and former colleagues in the game.

Madrid are currently at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, and the official announcement of Ronaldo's fourth career Ballon D'Or came at 4a.m. local time there, but Blancos club captain Sergio Ramos was still able to find a suitable dessert to hand over to the Portugal captain at lunch...

 By Rob Train

Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is a team player, not just an individual

The ESPN FC crew discuss whether Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon d'Or.

"This season has been the best of my career, I have won two major titles with my club and country so it was something unique... Individual awards are always won without expectations, they're not everything. I'm not obsessed about winning the Ballon d'Or."

These were Cristiano Ronaldo's words in the summer, shortly after Portugal had won their first major international tournament at Euro 2016. It is easy to believe that a man who has a self-funded museum in his honour in his home town of Funchal...

Was this Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo's best year?

Cristiano Ronaldo is the winner of the 2016 Ballon d'Or, the fourth time he has received the award.

Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has said 2016 has been his best year. But do his stats and achievements reflect that? We look at how CR7 has performed since he claimed his first Ballon d'Or in 2008.

*Stats compiled by ESPN Stats & Info

2008

Goals: 35 (34 for club; one for country)
Games: 58 (50 for club; eight for country)

This was the year then-Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo really emerged as a true world-class talent -- with 35 goals in 58 games in all competitions...

 By Tom Kundert

Man United target Nelson Semedo - Five things to know about the full-back

Benfica's Victor Lindelof is reportedly on Jose Mourinho's radar, but will he fit in the Manchester United squad?

Nelson Semedo is one of only two Benfica players who have not missed a single game this season, and his contribution has been key to the club going top of the Portuguese league, making it through to the knockout stages of the Champions League and securing a round of 16 berth in the Portuguese Cup.

An attack-minded right-back, the defender burst onto the scene by making a sensational start to his debut season for Benfica last year, only for his progress to be curtailed by a serious knee injury he...