Neymar pips Lionel Messi as Cristiano Ronaldo is ranked 49th in Europe's most valuable player list

Neymar's world-record switch to Paris Saint-Germain last summer was the main instigator behind his rise to becoming football's most valuable player.

The brilliant Brazilian pipped former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi in CIES Football Observatory's charts which rank players from the top five European leagues, on how much they are worth and factoring in age, position, contract duration, performance and international status.

Those figures, totted up, see Neymar hold top spot at €213m while Messi is second (€202.2m).

Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane, who has been shattering records of late, is third with a value of €194.7m.

Neymar's PSG club colleague, Kylian Mbappe, pulls rank in fourth and is worth €192.1m, and is followed by Juventus forward Paulo Dybala at fifth (€174m).

Kane's Spurs team-mate Dele Alli (€171.3m) is sixth, Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne occupies seventh spot, followed by Romelu Lukaku, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba at eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.

Surprisingly, Real Madrid legend and Ballon D'or holder Cristiano Ronaldo (€80.4m) is ranked 49th.

Liverpool's Egyptian ace Mohamed Salah, who has been one of the stars of the season in the Premier League, is worth €140.5m, and ranked 12th.

Chelsea winger Eden Hazard is 18th on the list, valued at €119.6m.

Meanwhile, Monaco star Thomas Lemar who has been a transfer target for a few Premier League clubs, sits at 57th spot, valued at €72.5m.

AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (€51m) too features in the list but is placed in 95th.

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Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson praises VAR after Brighton's winning goal confusion

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Palace boss Hodgson.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson praised the video assistant referee (VAR) system after its debut in English competitive football following initial confusion around Brighton’s winning goal.

Brighton’s Glenn Murray scored a late winner in the home side’s 2-1 FA Cup third-round defeat of Palace on Monday but, with suggestions of handball, there was confusion among players, fans at the ground and TV viewers over whether VAR had had any influence on the decision.

According to Hodgson and Brighton manager Chris Hughton, match referee Andre Marriner had been in contact with fellow official Neil Swarbrick, working with VAR from a London studio, about the goal.

That Marriner did not indicate as such or use the pitchside VAR monitors contributed to the confusion, and Hodgson said: “We had suspicions. The people close to it seemed to be incensed, and from our angle it looks as if he’s guided the ball in with his arm.

Glenn Murray

“You’ve got to congratulate the system: when you watch it lots of times like they’ve been able to do, from different angles, it would have been very harsh (to disallow it).

“It was a genuine goal, and the referee was helped by the fact he had Swarbrick in the VAR studio making a judgement that’d help him out, so I have no complaints.”

Hughton said he was “under the impression that VAR was used. That’s what I am led to believe: that it was used and there was not a decision to be made. At the time I wasn’t aware some thought it was handball.”

The VAR system is currently being trialled in Italy and Germany and was employed for the first time in an official game in Britain during the international friendly between England and Germany in November, when it was not called on.

Criticised by some fans for slowing the game down, it is used for “clear and obvious errors” relating to goals, penalty decisions, straight red cards or mistaken identity for red or yellow cards.

The VAR automatically checks every relevant incident and informs the referee if necessary. The referee has the power to change the original decision based on new information provided by the VAR or watch a replay on the side of the pitch.

Marriner did not feel the need to consult the pitchside monitor after Murray’s goal as he felt it was legitimate. The system allows for dialogue between the on-pitch referee and the VAR without a formal review.

Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “So VAR so good.” 

But former Palace forward Mark Bright said the referee should have looked into the incident more carefully.

“The debate in the boardroom is did the ball or did it not touch Glenn Murray’s arm before it went into the net?” he tweeted.

“Clearly & Obviously missed? Should have been viewed #VAR.”

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Arsenal suffer third round FA Cup exit at Nottingham Forest

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FA Cup holders Arsenal were sensationally dumped out of the competition by Nottingham Forest on Sunday, joining Leeds United as big-name casualties on a day of shocks.

Elsewhere, West Ham stayed alive with a goalless draw at Shrewsbury and Tottenham scored three goals in eight second-half minutes to see off the challenge of League One side AFC Wimbledon.

Championship side Forest revived memories of their glory years under Brian Clough, putting 13-times winners Arsenal to the sword in an incident-packed 4-2 win at the City Ground.

US international Lichaj opened the scoring for the home side with a header midway through the first half but Per Mertesacker equalised for the much-changed away team just three minutes later.

However, Forest continued to probe an inexperienced Arsenal line-up and got their reward just before half-time when Lichaj volleyed in spectacularly from the edge of the box.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, serving a touchline ban, was forced to watch powerless from the stands as Rob Holding conceded a penalty that teenager Ben Brereton converted in the 64th minute to stretch the home side’s lead to 3-1.

Danny Welbeck gave Arsenal hope with just over 10 minutes to go but Kieran Dowell netted from the penalty spot again to seal a 4-2 win for the second-tier side over the Premier League visitors.

Provided by AFP Sport

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