Paper News and Gossip: Joe Hart Praise, Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or Boost

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterNovember 20, 2013

Paper News and Gossip: Joe Hart Praise, Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or Boost

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    The overview of England's defeat to Germany has proved to be a philosophical one within the newspapers on Wednesday morning.

    Returning goalkeeper Joe Hart and Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend were highlighted for their displays in the Wembley loss, but there is an air of realism among the sports writers.

    Cristiano Ronaldo earned the greatest praise of the night for his stunning hat-trick to fire Portugal into the World Cup finals, a feat which may still see him clinch the Ballon d'Or, according to reports.

    who else is making the headlines in Wednesday's newspapers? Read on to find out more. 

Joe Hart and Andros Townsend Shine on Night of Realism for England

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    The overriding verdict on England's defeat to Germany at Wembley on Tuesday evening was a philosophical one, summed up by Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror.

    Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker scored the only goal of the game as England suffered successive home losses for the first time since 1977.

    Holt claims there is a difference in expectations for both nations ahead of the World Cup finals in Brazil:

    England played their second string against Chile. Germany played their second string against us. That tells you where we’re at.

    We still envy German football. Probably more than we did back in 2010. They are a nation moving forward again.

    They play with power and pace and precision. They are fluid and fluent. All qualities that we still only dream of.

    This was not a particularly important game for Germany coach Joachim Low.

    Hard though it is for us to accept, it was an anti-climax for him after the test against Italy in Milan last Friday.

    Harry Redknapp told The Sun (subscription required) that the biggest plus point for England was Tottenham star Townsend.

    Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail referred to Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart's display against the Germans as a "top-notch one." 

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Treble Coincides with Ballon D'or Vote Delay

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    There was no doubt where the real plaudits were aimed in Wednesday's paper after Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick for Portugal to see off the challenge of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden to reach the World Cup finals.

    The Real Madrid star might also have produced a performance to clinch the Ballon d'Or after FIFA delayed the vote, according to Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror.

    The article claims the vote has been delayed until Nov. 29 after concerns over a lack of response from coaches, captains and the media.

    The Guardian took the unusual step of placing Ronaldo's treble for Portugal ahead of England's friendly defeat to Germany as the lead story on their back page. 

Xabi Alonso Linked with Chelsea and Manchester United, Ramires Eyed by Barcelona

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    Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has been linked with a pre-contract agreement with Chelsea and Manchester United by Nick Lustig of the Daily Star.

    The Spain international's current deal at the Bernabeu expires at the end of the season and Real manager Carlo Ancelotti is reluctant to allow him to leave before then, claims the report.

    Lustig also says Juventus are considering a swap deal for Alonso, with Andrea Pirlo heading in the opposite direction to link up with the La Liga giants.

    Meanwhile, Barcelona will turn their attention to Chelsea midfielder Ramires if they miss out on Manchester United and Liverpool target Koke, reports Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express.

    John Cross of the Daily Mirror also believes the Catalan side are considering a move for Ramires, who has a strong friendship with fellow Brazilian Neymar. 

Manchester United Defender Phil Jones Ruled out for Two Vital Games by Injury

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    Manchester United have been dealt a blow with the news that defender Phil Jones will miss two key matches with an abducter muscle injury, reports Neil Custis of The Sun (subscription required).

    The England international was ruled out of the friendly defeats by Chile and Germany with a groin problem, and he is now set to miss the Premier League clash with Cardiff City and the Champions League trip to Bayer Leverkusen, claims the article.

    The former Blackburn Rovers defender will now join Michael Carrick on the sidelines in the coming weeks. The pair will be replaced by Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley, claims the report. 

    However, Custis also reports that United defender Nemanja Vidic will be fit after suffering a concussion in a collision with David de Gea during the win over Arsenal. 

Bits and Pieces: Theo Walcott, Julio Cesar, Tim Krul, Paul Pogba, Crystal Palace

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    Arsenal winger Theo Walcott is set for a return to action this weekend, reports Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

    The England international has been out of action for two months with a stomach injury, but is expected to be fit for the game against Southampton on Saturday.

    Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp is willing to allow Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar to leave the club on a free transfer in January, prompting interest from Manchester City, reports David Wright of the Daily Star.

    Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has placed a £20 million fee on goalkeeper Tim Krul to ward off interest from Juventus, reports Tony Little of The Sun (subscription required).

    Patrick Vieira admits Manchester City made a mistake when they did not attempt to sign Paul Pogba when he left Manchester United, reports David Wright of the Daily Star.

    Crystal Palace are set to renew their interest in making Tony Pulis their new manager, claims Scott Coleman of the Daily Star.

    Lazio and Nigeria midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has voiced his desire to join Liverpool, reports Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express.