Tag Archives: portugal

How Do You Say “Laser-gate” In Russian?

Fabio Capello has blamed Russia’s embarrassing exit from the 2014 World Cup on the meddlesome fan who akinfeev laserpointed a laser at keeper Igor Akinfeev’s face mere seconds before Islam Slimani headed the goal that sent Algeria to the next round. “You can see that in the footage,” Capello said after the game. “This is not an excuse – it is a fact.”

The laser incident isn’t the first time a fan has tried to hobble a player at this year’s tournament. Earlier this month, Ghanaian witch doctor Nana Kwaku Bonsam (aka Devil of Wednesday) claimed he placed a curse on Cristiano Ronaldo’s knee. Ronaldo started all three of Portugal’s games, but he played poorly and scored only one goal. That’s a fact. You can see it in the footage.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Fabregas Fights For Starting Spot

The one thing missing from Cesc Fabregas’ catalogue of honors is a victory at a major club tournament. Fabregas has never won a league title or a Champions League. In terms of trophies – and, in the modern game, football success is almost always measured in trophies – Fabregas still lags behind his international colleagues.

His move to Barcelona was supposed to change all that, and, eventually, it may. Last season, however, Fabregas failed to justify the years of wrangling that preceded his transfer. Although he impressed for the first few months, injury halted his progress, and he never regained that early momentum. In the months between Barcelona’s trip to Espanyol in January and Spain’s opening game two weeks ago, he didn’t score a single goal. Fabregas’ barren run seems even worse compared with the recent successes of his Spain teammates.

Fabregas is part of a generation of Spanish footballers that will probably never be bettered. The Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets-Alonso midfield is peerless. The presence of those four footballers, as well as striker David Villa and defenders Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol, in the same country at roughly the same time is a never-to-be-repeated phenomenon.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Ronaldo Recovers His Swagger

Cristiano Ronaldo is supposed to have it easy. He dates beautiful women, collects an exorbitant salary and plays professional football for Real Madrid. No one complains anymore about his arrogance or his theatrics. After another immense season, he’s earned the right to say and do what he wants. Yet Ronaldo somehow seems unfulfilled. A lurking suspicion remains that the Portuguese international just isn’t as good as he seems to be. On Thursday, those doubts grew when Ronaldo missed a series of gilt-edged chances in Portgual’s 3-2 victory over Denmark. In the white of Madrid, critics said, he would have scored at least twice.

Maybe all this has something to do with Ronaldo’s rival and footballing antithesis, Lionel Messi. If not for Messi, Ronaldo would, indisputably, be accounted the world’s most accomplished footballer. Instead, he’s an awfully talented narcissist defined by the one player who is better than he is. Indeed, for a player of his stature, Ronaldo has won relatively little – especially compared to his sparkling contemporaries. Messi and Barcelona’s other insufferable perfectionists have twice denied Ronaldo the Champions League — once when Ronaldo played for Manchester United and once when he played for Real Madrid. Xavi and Iniesta, neither a member of the pantheon to which Messi and Ronaldo belong, have each won more silverware than the Portuguese has.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,