16
Aug

Ronaldinho fan really loves Ronaldinho

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Ronaldinho has many fans, but Giovanny Tocohua might be the biggest of them all. His kit collection could make even the most persistent Hollywood stalkers blush; he’s secured every single jersey the former Barcelona star has worn in his career.

We counted 79 shirts (including the one he’s wearing), charting Ronaldinho’s career from Gremio to Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Milan, Flamengo and finally Atletico Mineiro. Even the commemorative jersey for Ronnie’s 100th cap for Brazil made the collection!

Duly impressed, Ronaldinho posted Giovanny’s picture to his Facebook and Twitter:

There’s an outside chance the fan held Ronaldinho hostage in his basement and forced him to post this, though.

5
Aug

Bastian Schweinsteiger trolls Neymar in Ibiza

We see what you did there, Bastian, you sly dog, you!

While vacationing in Ibiza last week, injured Brazil star Neymar ran into Bastian Schweinsteiger during the German’s 30th birthday party and the two posed for a picture together.

In the pic, Neymar throws up a classic variation of the “hang loose” hand signal, while World Cup champion Schweinsteiger, possibly unbeknownst to Neymar, put up seven fingers - an obvious, shameless taunt invoking Germany’s infamous 7:1 semifinal win over the Selecao in Belo Horizonte.

We can only imagine Neymar’s reaction when he saw the photograph later …

H/T infobae.com

28
Jul

Ronaldinho leaves Atletico Mineiro, is now a free agent

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Former ‘best player in the world’ Ronaldinho is unemployed.

The 34-year-old announced on Monday that he is leaving Atletico Mineiro by mutual consent, and is due to give a press conference on Wednesday to announce his future plans.

Atletico coach Levir Culpi confirmed the news speaking with SporTV.

"I can’t call on Ronaldinho anymore. His cycle with us has ended. It’s unfortunate because he’s an idol to all of us. Everyone loves his football, the way he plays and he’s a very charismatic person," Culpi said.

"But that’s the way it goes. He’s leaving and we must move on without him."

The former Ballon d’Or winner and World Cup champion scored 28 goals in 88 games with Mineiro, and helped them win their first ever Copa Libertadores title last season. Ronaldinho’s contract with the Belo Horizonte club was set to expire at the end of this year.

While you can now officialy start day-dreaming about Ronaldinho joining Major League Soccer, take in some of his greatest moments at Mineiro:

H/T Goal.com

17
Jul

Mesut Ozil promises to pay for 23 childrens’ surgeries following World Cup win

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(Image: Getty)

German international Mesut Ozil won the World Cup just last week, but now he’s making inroads into winning our hearts.

Ozil initially pledged to pony up for 11 surgeries for children in Brazil prior to the World Cup, as part of the BigShoe campaign:

A generous gesture by itself, now Ozil’s pledge has more than doubled in size since winning the coveted World Cup. Instead of sponsoring 11 surgeries, the Arsenal standout will pay for operations for 23 kids — the same number of players in the German squad. Ozil explained the contribution Facebook:

dear fans,
prior to the #WorldCup I supported the surgery of eleven sick children. since the victory of the #WorldCup is not only due to eleven players but to our whole team, I will now raise the number to 23. this is my personal thank-you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil. #Bigshoe #Brasil2014

The World Cup truly does seem to bring out the best in people, and certainly did in Mesut Ozil’s case … a class player and a class person.

(h/t Dirty Tackle)

14
Jul

Germany’s Kramer can’t remember World Cup final after blow to the head

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A World Cup final is the type of game a player wants to remember every minute of. Unfortunately, Germany’s Christoph Kramer, who took a blow to the head yesterday in a collision with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay, now says he can’t remember much of it at all.

Kramer took a blow to the face early, and then continued playing for 14 minutes before slumping to the ground. Kramer had to be carried off. (Gonzalo Higuain also took a blow to the head from the knee of German keeper Manuel Neuer in the game, but never seemed to lose consciousness.)

"I can’t really remember much of the game," Kramer told German newspaper Die Welt. 

"I don’t know anything at all about the first half. I thought later that I left the game immediately after the tackle. I have no idea how I got to the changing rooms. I don’t know anything else. In my head, the game starts from the second half."

Concussions are no joke. Post-concussion syndromes have been linked to dementia, depression and death. Lingering injuries from concussions have also ended a number of top players’ careers, including that of former USA forward Taylor Twellman.

FIFA has also been criticized for their handling of head injuries during this past tournament: Uruguay defender Alvaro Pereira appeared to be briefly knocked unconscious after a knee to the head, but demanded to be and was allowed to continue playing. 

Kramer’s incident — and his subsequent admission — will heap on more pressure for FIFA to allow independent concussion testing. One solution? Allowing teams to use a free substitute while the player in question is being evaluated. 

(h/t The Independent)

(Image: Getty)

11
Jul

Brazil’s embarrassing World Cup exit provokes unexpected sympathy

Should old acquaintance be forgot? It was never going to be, but I hardly expected to be thinking of my friends from Copacabana so soon after landing back in England, and I certainly didn’t expect to be feeling so sorry for them.

The return home came just hours before the first semifinal and, like hundreds of millions of others across the planet, I watched incredulous as the team of the host nation, the greatest of all soccer nations, concede goals to Germany with a rapidity that would have been surprising in the NBA; let alone a sporting arena that had yielded just 1.25 goals per entire game in the previous round, as things became about as tight and tense as international soccer can get.

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After the magnificent Germans had eased off and started saving their energy for Sunday’s final, they stopped at seven, to which Brazil replied with a gesture that produced one in the closing seconds. I was watching in a riverside pub on the south-western fringes of London, slack-jawed like everyone around me, trying to think of precedents but being able to think only of the folks with whom I’d seen all the previous Brazil games.

Read More

10
Jul

World Cup Diary: Saving kids in Brazil, one game at a time

RIO DE JANEIRO —

Watching a group of girls bellowing out the Brazilian national anthem from the top of the hill at the high point of Vidigal favela, the slogan on the back of their t-shirts was mightily powerful: “I am somebody.”

It felt particularly poignant as one of the girls, Aninha, articulated how not so long ago she felt more like a nobody. Aninha is 12 years old. Her life has been turned around by football. Aninha comes from Penha, in northern Rio, one of the toughest areas in a tough city still troubled by violence and drugs — despite the fact that a pacifying unit arrived in 2010 to try to clamp down on the traffickers who held the streets in their reckless grip.

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The 2014 World Cup has certainly captured the imagination of the children of Vidigal favela.

The idea that Aninha might make something of herself did not occur to her for much of her life, until she discovered a project called Favela Street. Their mission is to use football as an escape, an alternative, to the life that seemed inevitable to someone like Aninha. Reformed drug traffickers are trained to coach football to kids who are at risk of falling in with dangerous crowds. Through the project they find friends, empathy, and positive motivation.

"Before the project I was just hanging around in the streets with nothing to do," Aninha explained. "I didn’t want to know nothing about nothing. Maybe I kicked a ball around but I didn’t have any focus. Now I do. Now I know exactly what I want to do." She grins broadly as she explains she wants to be a professional football player. In answer to the question as to who she most admires, she does not choose Neymar, the national poster boy. Her role model is Marta, the Brazilian who is the shining light of the women’s game who was voted the best player in the world five consecutive times.

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Brazil legend Bebeto was one of the main attractions at the Street Child World Cup.

Aninha and some of the new friends she now describes as “family” represented Brazil in the Street Child World Cup, which took place in Rio a couple of months before the FIFA event that is a multi-million dollar industry rolled into town. More than 230 former street children from around the world, representing 19 different countries came to compete. The Brazilian girls won, although for Aninha the opportunity to meet people from all around the globe was an additional success that was profoundly meaningful.

 The seriousness of the situation some of these children find themselves in was tragically exposed when one of the players was killed. Rodrigo was due to captain the Brazil boys’ team at the Street Child World Cup. He had managed to tear his life away from the streets — but was shot by drug traffickers. It was his 14th birthday.

With the World Cup up and running, on the eve of Brazil’s quarterfinal victory over Colombia, Aninha and her friends got the opportunity to take on a group of illustrious opponents. Some ex-internationals, the likes of France’s Patrick Vieira, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro, England’s Glenn Hoddle and Ian Wright, played in mixed teams with the girls on Ipenama beach.

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Stars such as World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro and England legend Glenn Hoddle were at Ipenama beach.

Frankly, it spoke volumes that the girls were not overwhelmed by the experience. These ex-pros didn’t mean a great deal to them, but the Favela Street kids enjoyed the kick-around with fearlessness and zest. They were not easily fazed. At the age of 12, Aninha, and her friends, take a lot in their impressive stride.

Photos from provided by Getty Images.

10
Jul

Angry Brazil fan smashes TV after defeat to Germany

Fans in Brazil have their own ways of dealing with the humiliation of their country’s 7-1 defeat to Germany - some cried, some booed, and some went a whole lot further.

One particularly enraged Brazilian supporter just couldn’t hide his emotions and went to work on destroying his television.

After ripping the flatscreen from the wall, the fan decides to repeatedly drop the tube - most likely a smash for every goal conceded. Unfortunately, in his fit of rage he’s lost all sense of reasoning and despite the best efforts of one of the family members they’re unable to stop the madness.

Unfortunately for TV sets in Brazil, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the Selecao wins or loses. After their Round of 16 win over Chile in penalties, this poor flat screen suffered the same fate:

9
Jul

Germany fans told stay at stadium to avoid riots

Soccer can leave emotions running understandably high. Reports of riots in Brazil are likely wide of the mark, but the 7-1 World Cup semifinal thrashing at the hands of Germany has left the country shell-shocked.

As a result, German fans were asked to remain seated following the mauling, for fear of clashes with emotionally-charged Brazil fans.

 A photo from a reporter on the scene, depicting guards on stand-by in case of fan problems within the area.

It appears that the only things broken and hurt during the evening were Brazil’s hearts, but the possibility of fan unrest remained a very real and a very dangerous one.

Five Germany goals within 18 minutes of the first-half left Estadio Mineirao completely silenced, as Germany made safe passage into the World Cup final with an extra two goals in the next 45 minutes.

They will face the winner of the Argentina vs. the Netherlands semifinal later on today, with the final showpiece on Sunday. Meanwhile, the nation of Brazil remains stunned after a quite thrilling semifinal.

(H/T: NESN - Image from Instagram)