Posts Tagged Cristiano Ronaldo

Football skills of a different kind

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So when painting footballers, use footballs. Sounds impossible, but that is exactly what Polish artist Andrew Lenard has done. Taking contemporary art a step further, he ditched the paintbrush for footballs and a few litres of black paint, to portray the faces of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Lenard felt that there was no better way to honor the two top footballers than painting them by kicking footballs doused in paint onto a wall-mounted 2-metre long canvas.

After making the initial marks on the canvas, Lenard picks the ball up to capture the finer details of his subjects.

Although it takes a while to figure out what the football mad artist is painting, he eventually shows that he is no slouch with the football as amazing sketches of the footballers emerge on the canvas.

“I make many types of art and these projects are just my experiments. I make because it’s fun and I like to check out all the new possibilities in art using new media,” says Lenard

Of his unique tribute to the Spanish league stars, Lenard says, “Athletes like Ronaldo and Messi are known worldwide, modern heroes and role models, so it was an obvious choice for me.”

Andrew Lenard’s amazing portrait of Lionel Messi

 

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Real Madrid win: Ronaldo faux pas

In a record breaking season, Real Madrid claimed their 32nd La Liga title with two games to spare. The Spanish giants, who have lost only two games this season, still have a chance to surpass Barcelona’s record of highest points scored in a season. They have already broken the previous La Liga record of goals scored in a season and are sitting pretty with a 115 goals.

For Jose Mourinho too, this has been a milestone season. He was hired with the specific brief of defeating Barcelona. A job he has done exceptionally well. This is Madrid’s first title under the ‘special one’ and with it he has won league titles in four different countries. A feat accomplished by only three other managers – Ernst Happel, Giovanni Trapattoni and Tomislav Ivic.

While Real Madrid made history, Cristiano Ronaldo made a fool of himself.

Ronaldo, who has scored 44 of the 115 Madrid goals this season, also scored in their win 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao which sealed the title for them. But in true Ronaldo style, being just a hero was too much for the Portuguese who couldn’t let bygones be bygones.

It happened when Javi Martinez, who was sent off in the 72nd minute for his second handball, dared to come up to Ronaldo just as Madrid were starting to celebrate after the final whistle blew.

Ronaldo, celebrating his first title in Spain and the fourth of his career, shouted at Martinez and gave him the “shove it” gesture and then continued celebrating with his teammates.

So much for classy winners and losers.

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World Cup Preview: Spain vs. Portugal

Two years ago, on this day, Spain beat Germany to break their major tournament jinx and lift the European Championship trophy. Today, they can continue on that tradition and take a very significant step towards breaking their World Cup hex by beating neighbours Portugal. The two teams have met 32 times in international football. Portugal have won just five matches, Spain 15 and there have been 12 draws. However, Spain have only beaten Portugal once in ten matches since 1958 and the last time the two teams met Portugal won 1-0, knocking Spain out of the 2004 Euro in the group stages.

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Spain

Ranking: 2

Spain entered the World Cup as favourites for the first time. They have always had a talented, entertaining team but since they always underachieved at major tournaments, no one really ever thought of them as favourites. All that changed however,with their 2008 win at the European Championships and now Spain have to live with the pressure of expectation every time they get on the pitch. It is probably this pressure to perform which saw Spain unable to score against Switzerland and also concede a very sloppy goal which made their last game in the group stages a must-win game. The European champions, however, have gotten over that shock dealt to them by the Swiss and have looked good against Honduras and Chile but that defeat showed other teams how to beat Spain.

Spain manager, Vincente Del Bosque will most likely play a 4-2-3-1 formation with Iker Casillas in goal. Sergio Ramos, Gerrard Pique, Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevilla will form Spain’s back four. Xabi Alonso who sprained his ankle during Spain’s 2-1 win over Chile, will most likely be replaced by Xavi Martinez who will play alongside Sergio Busquets in defensive mid-field. Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and David Villa will make up Spain’s attacking midfield and support Fernando Torres in front.

Portugal have great wingers who pose a massive threat to Spain on the counter and Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevilla will have to be extra sharp today.

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Portugal

Ranking: 3

Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo. That is all that most people seem to relate with Portugal. Cristiano is definitely one of those players that can change the complexion of any game and since Cristiano hasn’t been extremely effective for his national side, many people wrote off Portugal’s chances. However, Portugal have proved that although they may not play the prettiest of football at times, they have found a way of staying in the competition and getting results. They managed a very good albeit dull draw against Ivory Coast and then held Brazil. Anyone who can keep Brazil from scoring is dangerous in their own way. Portugal have transformed themselves in to a very good defensive side. They are yet to concede a goal in the World Cup and have kept 22 clean sheets in their last 26 matches. Furthermore, they have gone 19 games unbeaten under coach Carlos Queiroz. Portugal’s only weakness it seems is their inability to score goals and that they lack an out and out striker. However, they do have incredibly talented wingers in Cristiano Ronaldo and Simao Sabrosa who can catch any team on the counter. So even though, it seems impossible for any team to keep the very talented Spanish squad from scoring, Portugal just might. Also, if Cristiano Ronaldo can tame the Jabulani, Portugal would have a great advantage from set pieces especially since Iker Casillas and Spain are not the best, at defending set-pieces.

Portugal manager, Carlos Queiroz will most likely play a 4-3-3 formation with Eduardo in goal. Paulo Ferreira, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho, Fabio Coentrao will form ‘the great wall of Portugal’. Although Deco has recovered from the hip injury that forced him to miss Portugal’s final Group G game against Brazil, he is unlikely to be in the starting line-up as Tiago has done very well so far. Another player sure to miss out is the injured midfielder Danny. Pepe will most likely retain his position in Portugal’s midfield alongside Tiago and Raul Meireles and Portugal’s attack will be lead by Simao Sabrosa and Cristiano Ronaldo playing on the wing on either side of Liedson.

Although, Spain have to be the favourites going in to this match considering the quality they have in their team, Portugal cannot be counted out especially since they have a very good defence and have players that can be lethal on counter-attacks. The match bound to be a very close one and if it goes to extra time, then Portugal will win.

Manager Speak

“Portugal are going to be a very tough side. I take no satisfaction from the fact we’re up against Portugal instead of Brazil. They are both great national teams.”- Vincente Del Bosque, Spain manager

“We want to win this game from the very first minute.” – Carlos Queiroz, Portugal manager

Stars to Watch Out For

Spain: David Villa, Andres Iniesta,Xavi Hernandez, Fernando Torres

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul Meireles, Tiago, Simão Sabrosa

Go Figure!

David Villa has scored six goals in six starts at the World Cup and is now the all-time top scorer for Spain at the tournament.

Portugal have failed to score in their last two World Cup knockout matches – 0-0 (aet) against England in the quarter-final and a 1-0 defeat to France in the semi-final in 2006.

Spain have kept clean sheets in 26% of their World Cup games (nine out of 34) since the start of the 1982 tournament

Portugal have conceded just one goal in their last 12 internationals.

Spain were the first team since Hungary in 1986 not to collect a single card in the group stages of a World Cup tournament

If Portugal avoid defeat in this match they will set a new national team record of 20 games unbeaten in all competitions

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World Cup Preview: Portugal vs. North Korea

We are back to Group G aka the ‘Group of Death’. After a disappointing goal-less draw with Ivory Coast in World Cup opening game, Portugal will be keen to get all three points by securing a win against North Korea.  North Korea, on the other hand had the unenviable task of playing Brazil in their World Cup opener. North Korea had been written off even before they kicked the ball and but the Asians made the cynics sit up and take notice when they lost by a narrow 2-1 and putting up an  incredible defensive performance against the South Americans.

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Portugal

Ranking: 3

Portugal’s hopes lie on Cristiano Ronaldo finding form. He almost scored against Ivory Coast when his long range shot hit the Ivorian goal post and Portugal will be hoping that their captain can break down the stubborn North Korean defense. Despite having very talented players, Portugal have struggled to find a win in their last four matches making it their worst showing at the World Cup ever. An altercation between midfielder and the Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz suggests that everything is not well within the Portuguese squad. They will however, need to forget their differences and play as a team today or else Portugal will go into their final group match against Spain needing a win to qualify. No intelligent football team would want to be in that situation. The Portugal defense made up by the Chelsea duo Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira along with Fabio Cantrao and Bruno Alves will stay on-guard for the North Korean’s quick counter attack. Deco will most likely miss out for the Portuguese with Pedro Mendes, Raul Meireles and Tiago making up the midfield. Carlos Queiroz would want to take more risks against North Korea and play a more attacking 4-3-3 with Simao, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leidson up front.

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North Korea

Ranking: 105

North Korea were unlucky enough to have to play Brazil in their first match but they showed the cynics that they were no pushovers. Not only did they not lose by a huge margin, they also did what only three teams outside of South America and Europe have done, i.e. find the net against Brazil. This feat. must have added to their confidence and the North Korean players would now really believe that they have what it takes to qualify to the last-16  from the group of death.  However, playing Brazil is never a walk in the park. The resilient performance which the North Korean’s put up against Brazil must also have drained them mentally and physically. So, the question remains whether North Korea (who are one of the fittest teams), have the will and the energy to repeat their performance from the first match. North Korea manager, Kim Jong-hun will most likely not make any changes to the team that played against Brazil and will play a defensive 4-4-2. North Korea will look to frustrate the Portuguese and look to attack on the counter through the ‘Asian Wayne Rooney’, Jong Tae-se and AFC Young Player of the Year for 2007 Kim Kum-il.

The last time the two teams met was in 1966 when Portugal made a great comeback after being 3 goals down to win the game 5-3 courtesy the legendary Eusebio. The chances of a similar scoreline today are very slim though Cristiano Ronaldo will surely be looking to follow in the footsteps of his hero, end his 18 month goal drought and lead Portugal
to a much-needed victory. Portugal must focus for 90 minutes or their defense could get caught sleeping on the job and leave us with another draw.

Manager Speak

“It’s an all or nothing game. I have hope that we will make a great game, win and take the three points.” – Carlos Queiroz, Portugal manager

“What we think would be a good result or an achievement that would pass the group phase. That is our main goal. Then afterward, in the round of 16, if we can go further then that would be wonderful. The players realise now that anything is possible.”

Stars to Watch Out For

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo, Simao Simbrosa, Liedson

North Korea: Jong Tae-se, Kim Kum-il, Ri Kwang-Chon

Go Figure!

In their last match North Korea became only the third side from outside Europe or South America to score against Brazil at the World Cup.

Portugal have kept a clean sheet in 78.3% of matches under Carlos Queiroz, a higher percentage than any other manager.

North Korea have not won any of their last eight games, losing five of them.

Portugal are on a run of four games without a win at the World Cup, their worst ever in the competition.

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World Cup Preview: Ivory Coast vs. Portugal

Group G  for the 2010 world cup has Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast and Democratic Republic of Korea. It has been rightly called the ‘Group of Death’ since it will see at least one and possibly 2 big footballing nations go out without reaching the knockout stages of the tournament. Many believe that there is only one place is up for grabs in this group, since it is impossible to conceive the possibility of favourites Brazil going out in the group stages. Just like it is being taken for granted that Brazil will go through, it is also almost certain in everyone’s minds that Democratic Republic of Korea will surely not go through. So that leaves Ivory Coast and Portugal, the two countries that play each other today to battle out it out for that precious spot in the knockouts that Brazil have available to lose.

Both teams therefore, have everything to play for. It seems almost certain that whoever loses will most probably see their 2010 World Cup campaign come to an end. Ivory Coast are Africa’s best hope to advance further in the competition while were Portugal to lose, the 2010 World Cup would lose one of its major stars in Cristiano Ronaldo. Lets hope the fear of losing doesn’t dictate the game and that we don’t end up with the very likely 1-1 scoreline.

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Ivory Coast

Ranking:  27

Ivory Coast’s manager Sven-Goran Eriksson knows all about the pain of losing to Portugal at the World Cup. He might want to take revenge as last World Cup, the Swede was in-charge of England and lost on penalties to Portugal which subsequently cost him his job. He took up the Ivory Coast job after the Elephants shock exit at the quarter-finals stage in the African Cup of Nations in January. Eriksson says that he has been focused on organisation than revolution and will look to unleash the pace of Solomon Kalou along with the talented Gervinho, who was named as the best African player in the French League last year. The news of  Didier Drogba being allowed to play with a protective cast in today’s match must have renewed confidence in the squad and is a definite boost.

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Portugal

Ranking: 3

Portugal have had to deal with injuries to key players and an unconvincing qualification run. Their ‘golden-generation’ is now a thing of the past but they do still have the world’s most expensive player and undoubtedly the world’s  most-eye-catching player in Cristiano Ronaldo. He hasn’t been in great for form for his country but everyone is aware of what he can achieve if he hits form which is also like ‘Ketchup‘ I am guessing. The team is managed by Carlos Queiroz, who did get Ronaldo to play at his very best when he was at Manchester United. Another great advantage that Carlos might have because of his time at Manchester United is that he would know Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Solomon Kalou’s game to a T. Portugal have managed to reach at least the semis in three out of the last five major tournaments and have a team brimming with talent. The defense is strong with Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves and Pepe while going forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Simao and Leidson can be quite a handful. Zenit St. Petersburg’s midfielder Danny Miguel is another player who could make the difference for Portugal.

Manager Speak

“To go through would be a success from a group like that. If we can reach the quarter-final I think everyone should be thinking it’s a great success from an African team, for the Ivory Coast. That’s the first target.”- Sven Goran-Eriksson, Ivory Coast manager

“The semi-final is not our aim, it’s our ambition. We want to get there. To have the ambition to be champions we don’t need to win all our games. We need to be running ahead of Ivory Coast, then North Korea and thenBrazil. That’s how we have to approach it.” – Carlos Queiroz, Portugal manager

Stars to Watch Out For

Ivory Coast: Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Solomon Kalou, Gervinho (Gervais Kouassi)

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo, Liédson da Silva Muniz, Simão, Alves

Go figure!

Didier Drogba hit six goals in five appearances for Ivory Coast during qualifying.

During qualification for South Africa, Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score or assist a single goal for Portugal in seven appearances.

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Real Madrid Unveil Jose Mourinho as the New Manager

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It is typical of the man. He just puts his past behind him and looks ahead with hope and confidence verging on audacity. Jose Mourinho wrote a heartfelt goodbye letter to thank Serie A giants Inter saying Inter will always be in his heart and moved on to his new club Real Madrid. Less than two weeks later walking past the last European cup, in the trophy room at Real Madrid, he disclosed that the president said he missed this years’ Champion’s Trophy. Mourinho said, “I replied I only won my last one 10 days ago and I miss that too.”

Its the end of the football season in Madrid, so it comes as no surprise that Real Madrid are looking to sign on stars and a new manager. They hit the jackpot with Jose Mourinho, the star-manager who was unveiled as the new Real Madrid coach at a presentation in the Satiago Bernabeu press room on Monday.

Real Madrid haven’t won the Champions League since 2002 despite having spent millions of euros season after season. Last summer the Spanish club spent €252 million on stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso but failed to win any silverware.

The past two seasons, Real Madrid have lost the La Liga title to their biggest rivals Barcelona and this year they failed to make it past the round of 16 in the Champions League. This was even more disappointing since the final was hosted at their home ground.

Jose Mourinho however won the Champions League trophy at Bernabeu and in less than a week has made it his top priority to lead his new club to European glory. He said, “I don’t know if I was born to coach Real Madrid but I was born to be a football coach. I love important challenges. I am Jose Mourinho and I don’t change. I arrive with all my qualities and my defects.

“My attraction to Real Madrid is due to its history, its frustrations in recent years and its expectations to win.” Real, he said, is a unique club and he believed that not to coach Real left a void in a coach’s career. “Luckily, I’ve had a beautiful career and it makes me proud to have come here.I am very enthusiastic. I want my players to think that way. The beauty is not so much to train or play at Real, but to win at Real Madrid.” Mourinho said

Jose Mourinho becomes Real’s 11th coach in the past seven years and it will be his greatest test yet. He takes on a team full of superstars and very demanding fans, where failure is unacceptable. But he also has chance to create history by becoming the first man to win the Champions League with three different clubs and proving yet again that he is the ‘Special One’.

Article first published as Real Madrid Unveil Jose Mourinho as the New Coach on Technorati.

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David Beckham Dethroned as Top Earner In Football

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Lionel Messi scored his second hatrick in a row in  Barcelona’s 4-2 win over Zaragoza on Sunday. The little Argentine’s sensational form has drawn comparisons to the world’s greatest player with many arguing that he in fact is the greatest player to ever play the beautiful game. So it isn’t very surprising that he has replaced David Beckham to become the best-paid footballer in the world according, to France Football magazine’s annual “rich list“. The Argentina forward is said to have made £29.6m (sum of salaries, bonuses and sponsorships) last year making him the 4th highest paid athlete in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and LeBron James.

Messi , who helped Barcelona win the treble last season was paid a £3.6 million bonus which is what helped him de-throne David Beckham who has held the top spot on the rich list for the last 2 years. The falling value of the dollar is another factor working in favour of the magnificent Messi.

David Beckham came in at number 2 with an annual income £27.3 million followed closely by Messi’s predecessor as the World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo  raking in £27 million.

France’s Football Magazine’s Rich List

1.Lionel Messi (Barcelona) £29.6m
2. David Beckham (LA Galaxy/Milan) £27.3m
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) £27m
4. Kaka (Real Madrid) £16.9m
5. Thierry Henry (Barcelona) £16.1m
6. Ronaldinho (AC Milan) £15.5m
7. Carlos Tevez (Manchester City) £13.8m
8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona) £13m
9. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) £12.8m
10. Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan) £12.4m

It is interesting to note that only two of the players in the top-ten highest paid footballers, Frank Lampard of Chelsea and Carlos Tevez of Manchester City ply their trade in the English Premier League. This strange statistic probably because of  the big earners wanting to escape the large hike in taxes for high income earners in the UK.

It is also interesting to see, that although the reported incomes are very high, they are not even close to the kind of money that is made by boxers or Formula 1 racers. Of course, the difference in the salaries could be justified by  pointing out that footballer don’t literally put their life at risk like racers or boxers do. Footballers incomes have increased many fold in the last few years but it is very surprising indeed to not that they are still very far-off from the incomes earned in American sports by NFL, NBA or MLB sportsman.

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