Benzema gets the nod from French Football

»Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was named French player of the year by France Football magazine.

The France striker won 155 points in a vote of former winners of the award, beating Barcelona fullback Eric Abidal (110) and Olympique Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris (69), who finished third for the third year in succession.

Benzema, who scored the quickest goal (23 seconds) in a Real Madrid v Barcelona clasico in his team's 3-1 defeat last Saturday, has been in impressive form this year as he finally made his mark at the Bernabeu. "I had the chance to be with a very good coach, Jose Mourinho. He put me back on the right path," the 23-year-old told France Football.

No gold for this Australian diver
»Australia's Sydney FC have fined their own defender Shannon Cole for diving in the penalty box during an A-League match at the weekend and breaching club rules against simulation.

Cole admitted the offence against the club's "No Diving Policy" after going down under pressure from a Gold Coast United player in stoppage time at the end of a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

"I knew I did the wrong thing as soon as I hit the ground so I got up without asking for a penalty and ran straight back into position," Cole said in a club news release.  "I was expecting to be fouled when he came across but after going to the ground I realised straight away he had not fouled me."

The diving ban was introduced after Sydney FC striker Mark Bridge was sent off earlier this season after clashing with Melbourne Victory defender Roddy Vargas.  The club did not accuse Vargas of feigning injury in the incident but introduced the new policy after Bridge was banned for two games for the red card.

Fumbling striker is a YouTube wonder
»Greuther Fuerth midfielder Edgar Prib became an overnight household name in Germany when his spectacular miss in front of an open goal assured him a prominent spot in the year-end reviews.

Prib, 21, looked set to score against Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany's second division last Monday after he raced clear in the 18th minute and chipped the ball over keeper Oka Nikolov.

Only needing to prod the ball into the empty net from three metres out, Prib clipped his shot against the post (

"I died a thousand deaths," Prib told reporters as the video of his miss had already clocked tens of thousands of views on the internet by Tuesday morning. "I could have decided that game but instead the God of football did not want it that way."

Perth to splurge on new stadium
»The Western Australian city of Perth is to spend A$1 billion ($992.45 million) on building a new 60,000-seat stadium to open in 2018, the state government has stated.

The stadium will have the third biggest capacity of any arena in Australia and host Australian Rules, rugby union and league matches as well as concerts. "We are going a to build one of the world's great stadiums," state premier Colin Barnett told reporters in Perth. "I would hope it's a spectacular piece of architecture in its own right."

Aussie Tomic has a cop on his tail
»Australia's number one tennis player Bernard Tomic says he is being harassed by a policeman after being stopped for dangerous driving, or "hooning" in local parlance, in Queensland. The 19-year-old world number 42, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon this year, was stopped but not ticketed in Surfer's Paradise on Sunday in his distinctive orange BMW M3.

"He doesn't like me for some reason ... he's always on my tail," Tomic said of the officer who stopped him. "I think it's really bad. I haven't done a thing wrong -- I just go about my business as a tennis player," he told Brisbane's Courier-Mail.

"Hoon" is a semi-official Australian term for young drivers guilty of dangerous driving, including such breaches of the law as street racing and performing burnouts.

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