30
Apr

Diego Simeone thanks moms for giving his players big balls

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What universal qualities must a team have to make a Champions League final?

Good coaching, a dependable goalkeeper, star power on offense, and a little bit of luck are probably the minimum requirements. But most importantly, the team needs to have balls. Preferably big balls.

At least, that’s what Atletico manager Diego Simeone would reason.

After his side reached its first Champions League/European Cup final in 40 years with a 3-1 win at Chelsea on Wednesday, Simeone thanked his players’ mothers for equipping them with large “cojones.”

Unfortunately, we don’t have a picture of Simeone gesticulating at his press conference, but we imagine it looked something like this:

imageImage via RedCafe

H/T SBNation

21
Oct

Ronaldo gets excited about his new boots

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Cristiano Ronaldo is out of this world — that is the message Nike are conveying with their latest CR7 Mercurial IX boots, which were released Sunday night. And to help create some buzz, which shouldn’t be all that hard to do, Nike got their star man to front a quick Instagram video:

Ronnie liiiiiikes.

In Nike’s press release, Footwear Design Director Denis Dekovic gave a detailed account of what inspired their latest boot. And yes, it gets more ridiculous every sentence:

We were watching a game, and after Cristiano scored yet another amazing free-kick the commentator posed the question ‘Is Ronaldo from this planet?!’

When we got back to the design studio we got to thinking about CR7’s style and how similar it was to the definition of a supernova – a celestial body that radiates energy – and that was it, we had our inspiration.

The concept of a star that burns brighter than others reflects Cristiano’s style, speed and the idea that as a player he plays without limits, much like the outer reaches of the galaxy.

Well then!

Later, Ronaldo also Instagrammed Nike’s new advertisment for his new CR7 collection, which also includes sweet galaxy-inspired tees and training gear.

On this post, Ronaldo asks: “How fast is fast? You tell me. #Mercurial”

Answer: apparently as fast as a monkey hanging from a sailing mast, which is approximately almost as fast as Usain Bolt over 100 meters. You learn something new every day.

H/T 101GG

9
Oct

Special Inside Look: Spain’s Ciudad del Futbol

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Image provided by Dermot Corrigan / FOX Soccer

MADRID, SPAIN

Wednesday evening in Madrid — and hundreds of kids are training at the Spanish football federation’s Ciudad del Futbol campus. Their sessions over, they grab a quick drink of water, then quickly gather in the small stand beside the suburban facility’s biggest pitch, to watch national coach Vicente del Bosque run his World Cup holders through their paces ahead of their crucial upcoming qualifiers for the 2014 finals.

The young spectators cheered and squealed as their heroes completed a light warm-up, then a series of ‘rondos’ — piggy-in-the-middle-style exercises where good technique is key and a sense of humor helps. Being a public session, no tactical secrets were displayed, but Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta had recovered from minor knocks to take part. Spain looks ready for the clashes with Belarus in Mallorca on Friday, and then Georgia in Albacete next Tuesday, when four points will seal qualification for Brazil next summer.

 If, as expected, Spain win on Friday, del Bosque may use the Georgia game for experimentation and give Swansea city attacker Michu a first cap. The Swansea attacker told reporters at the Cuidad de Futbol on Wednesday morning that he’d been a little awestruck at first when training alongside so many world champions — but was now ready to stake his claim for a regular squad spot.

Image provided by Getty

“When you step out on the grass, with the [World Cup winner] star on your chest, the sensation is indescribable,” Michu said. “I was a little nervous to be playing with the best players in the world, but you settle down quickly. I am here to make the most of the opportunity — and to help Spain qualify for the World Cup.”

The gap between Michu’s press conference and training left time to visit the impressive campus’ excellent museum — which shows visitors just what soccer means in Spain. The exhibits begin with a search for the sport’s origins in ancient China, Egypt, Greece, Mexico and Scotland, then fast forward to the early 20th century as young king Alfonso XIII oversees its introduction here.

Xavi Hernandez, Iker Casillas and Fernando Torres — dressed in period gear — guide you through a time tunnel to a 1930s pre-Civil War dressing room. Among the other life-sized dioramas is a 1950s film-set from when General Franco’s regime “persuaded” Real Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stefano and Barcelona’s Ladislao Kubala to star in feature length propaganda pictures.

Big sections cover the 1964 European Championships, which Spain won; and the 1982 World Cup, which Spain hosted but flopped at. The tour ends on a high — with the Henri Delaunay [European Championship] and Jules Rimet [World Cup] trophies on display, alongside jerseys and footballs from their victories in the last three major international tournaments. There’s also the actual 2010 final locker-room flipchart, with del Bosque’s detailed handwritten instructions for defending Holland’s set pieces.

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Image provided by Dermot Corrigan / FOX Soccer

Once qualification is assured for next year’s tournament, del Bosque can ponder how to best retain the trophy. Selection decisions must be made on players including Michu, Casillas, Torres, David Villa, Carles Puyol, Juan Mata, Koke, Isco and – most controversially – Brazilian-born Diego Costa.

But all that can wait for now. Wednesday’s session ended with a friendly mini-game, before the sun set behind the nearby Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, and the players, children and journalists headed home for their suppers.

Another day at one of world soccer’s most important nerve centers — with Brazil 2014 on the horizon.

27
Sep

Uh-oh! Gareth Bale moves into Kaka’s old mansion, Ronaldo’s neighborhood

by Thomas Hautmannimage Photo: Twitter/@marinagranziera
Clearly, Gareth Bale doesn’t believe in bad omens.
Weeks after becoming the world’s most expensive player ever, Bale has  agreed to rent the former Madrid home of Kaka, who, you know, happens to be arguably the biggest transfer flop in the history of Real Madrid.

According to the Daily Mail, Bale will pay landlord Kaka £10,000 ($16,000) per month to rent his mansion, which is valued at £6.5 million ($10.4 million). The two-story, four-bedroom house includes a gym, indoor pool, two utility rooms, several terraces and a six-car garage, a perfect space for stash all that cash.

Bale’s neighbors will include Real Madrid teammates Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos. Cristiano Ronaldo also lives in the neighborhood, but he is reportedly trying to sell his $7 million mansion.

Hmm, wonder why.

H/T NESN

18
Sep

Gareth Bolt? Real Madrid star clocked at 25mph

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Image: Getty

Is the world’s most expensive footballer also the world’s fastest?

New Real Madrid star Gareth Bale insists he hasn’t yet reached his top fitness levels, but a radar gun tells a quite different story. According to Spanish TV station La Sexta, Bale was clocked sprinting at 40 kmh in last Sunday’s draw with Villarreal. That’s almost 25 mph, or just 2 mph behind Usain Bolt at his world record speed!

(H/T Daily Mail)

4
Sep

Coming soon to Emirates: Backheels, lots and lots of backheels


DISCLAIMER: Might want to put the video on mute. Good grief, what choice of music!

As if Arsenal fans needed another reason to be pumped up about the Mesut Ozil signing, here’s a 2.5 minute compilation of disgusting backheel passes by the German assist master. Some of these are truly jaw-dropping!

It’s no wonder Ozil’s former Real Madrid teammates are furious over the club’s decision to sell the 24-year-old. Cristiano Ronaldo, who profited regularly from Ozil specials, has been quoted as saying he is livid over the sale, while Sergio Ramos has said “If it were up to me, Özil would be one of the last to go.”

It’s not hard to see why, but Real Madrid’s loss is the Gunners’ gain. Emirates will have lots of backheels to look forward to this season.

1
Sep

It’s official! Bale joins Real Madrid, thanks Spurs

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After an endless, dragged-out transfer saga between Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid, the confirmation we’ve all been waiting for finally came on Sunday. At 2:01pm ET time, Real Madrid’s official Twitter account finally announced the completed deal for Gareth Bale.

Bale has signed a six-year deal with the Spanish giants according to the club’s website. He will be presented at the Bernabéu stadium on Monday.

Bale also released a personal statement on Tottenham Hotspur’s website, in which he speaks fondly of his time in London:

I have had six very happy years at Tottenham but it’s the right time to say goodbye. We’ve had some special times together over the years and I’ve loved every minute of it.I would like to thank everyone at the Club, the Chairman, Board, staff, coaches and players – and most of all the fantastic fans who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity.

I am not sure there is ever a good time to leave a club where I felt settled and was playing the best football of my career to date.  I know many players talk of their desire to join the club of their boyhood dreams, but I can honestly say, this is my dream come true.

I am well aware that I would not be at the level I am today were it not for firstly Southampton and then Spurs standing by me during some of the tougher times and affording me the environment and support they have.

Tottenham will always be in my heart and I’m sure that this season will be a successful one for them.  I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life, playing football for Real Madrid.

So there you have it. If you’re not a disappointed Spurs fan, you can now congratulate the new Real Madrid signing by using the #WelcomeBale hashtag. Or spill your hatred, either or.