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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

+++Best player

PARIS - Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery and Cristiano Ronaldo were yesterday shortlisted for this year's Ballon d'Or, football's world governing body FIFA and sponsors France Football magazine said.

Barcelona forward Messi has already won the title four times but seems less of a hot favourite this year after an injury-hit season.

Smith returns

LONDON - Australian-born American international second row forward Hayden Smith has returned to leading English rugby union club Saracens after spending 18 months with the New York Jets in the NFL.

As a tight-end, Smith made six appearances in the NFL but is returning to the London club where he played between 2008-12.

First victory

WELLINGTON - Kiwi teenager Lydia Ko's first victory as a professional has bumped her up two places to fourth in the world rankings.

The 16-year-old New Zealander won the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters by three strokes in Taiwan on Sunday after coming from three shots behind midway through the final round.

Bayern target

MUNICH, Germany - Coach Pep Guardiola has demanded holders Bayern Munich finish the Champions League's group phase with the perfect record of six wins by seeing off Manchester City at home.

Bayern are on a record run of 10 consecutive Champions League victories, but Guardiola wants to finish with 18 points — something they failed to achieve last season under Jupp Heynckes, despite winning the title.

Nido resigns

SEVILLE, SpainP - Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido has quit the Spanish league club after being sentenced to seven years in prison.

Del Nido presided over the most successful period in club history with a pair of UEFA Cups among the trophies won since his arrival in 2002 as president and a major shareholder.

Winning secret

LONDON - Australian snooker ace Neil Robertson claimed his mother was the secret to his latest triumph in the UK Championship.

World No.1 Robertson beat Mark Selby 10-7 in the final at York's Barbican Centre on Sunday to add the prestigious title to an impressive CV that already includes victory in the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Masters.

Games stopped

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - After allowing a cup final to go ahead over the weekend as a tribute, South Africa's soccer league says it is now postponing all games until after Nelson Mandela's funeral.

In some cases stadiums will be used to host memorial services. Former South African President Mandela died on Thursday.

Review system

LONDON - The snickometer will be used as part of the decision review system for the remaining two Tests of New Zealand's three-match series against the West Indies, the International Cricket Council has confirmed.

The technology has been employed in the ongoing Ashes series between Australia and England and will now also be in action across the Tasman Sea for the games in Wellington from today and Hamilton from December 19.