Posted October 05, 2012 on AP on Fox
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has recalled Rafael van der Vaart to his squad for World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Romania. Van der Vaart was dropped for the first two qualifiers as he returned to fitness following his move from Tottenham to Hamburg. Also back in the squad announced Friday were midfielders Ibrahim Afellay and Nigel de Jong. Van Gaal called up goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer just days after Ajax's 4-1 Champions League loss to Real Madrid. Vermeer pulled off a string of good saves, but was powerless to stop Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick and a spectacular overhead volley by Karim Benzema. The 2010 World Cup runner up plays Andorra next Friday in Rotterdam before taking on Group D leader Romania in Bucharest four days later.

Ronaldo gets hat trick in 4-1 Madrid win over Ajax

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick and Karim Benzema smashed in a spectacular overhead kick Wednesday to give Real Madrid a 4-1 victory over Ajax in the Champions League. Ronaldo scored in the 42nd, and added two more in the 79th and 81st minutes to seal the match after Niklas Moisander's 56th minute header had made it 2-1 and briefly given Ajax hope. But Ronaldo took his...

Ronaldo delighted by treble

Cristiano Ronaldo was pleased to net his first Champions League hat-trick for Real Madrid in Wednesday night's victory over Ajax. Ronaldo struck in the 42nd, 79th and 81st minutes of the 4-1 win in Amsterdam to collect his second treble in four days and 17th in total for Madrid since his world-record ?80million move from Manchester United in 2009. Happy though he was with the...

Column: Ronaldo should edge Messi for Ballon d'Or

This time a year ago, the race between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the world player of 2011 award wasn't a race at all, with the Argentine deservedly finishing as the runaway winner. Twelve months on, choosing between these brightest of stars in football's firmament is nigh-on impossible. As with James Bond actors - is Sean Connery or Daniel Craig your favorite...

Essien Impresses In Madrid Emphatic Win

Michael Essien had a decent game against Ajax Michael Essien continued the road to top form as he helped Real Madrid to thump Ajax 4-1 in the Uefa Champions League on Wednesday night. The 29-year-old lasted 78th minute at the Amsterdam Arena as he continues his recovery to reach top shape. He was picked ahead of Samir Khedira and combined effectively with Xabi Alonso, who had...

Del Bosque rates Messi and Ronaldo equally

Spain coach Vincente Del Bosque cannot split Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for quality. Speaking ahead of...
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