29
Mar

Pele, CR7 fight for fans’ affection in airline ad

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It’s always humbling to find oneself in the presence of greatness. But what if two equally-great stars happen to be on the same flight?

Emirates Airline explores that very scenario in a new advertisement that comes just in time for the World Cup.

In the ad, Cristiano Ronaldo emerges from a fancy first-class bathroom and walks over to the even fancier onboard bar, when he overhears two fellow passengers whispering to each other. Cracking a smile, Ronaldo figures they’re talking about him like two giggly schoolgirls. But when the two talk about the “three World Cups” he’s won, the Portuguese star suddenly realizes he was mistaken. At that moment, the great Pele appears, smirking all the way as if to say “Calm down, rookie. They’re here for me.”

But to show that Emirates “connect all football fans,” no matter who they might adore, a third, younger passenger appears and asks for a picture with Ronaldo, presumably not recognizing the great Pele, which is absurd. The two legends smile at each other like, coming to the understanding that “hey, we are both so awesome.”

And then they all fly off to Brazil together, happily ever after. Because who wouldn’t be if they can afford a seat on that ostentatious airbus!

Watch the ad below:

18
Feb

Manchester clubs battle for Mangala

In January it was rumored that Manchester City missed out on Porto star Eliaquim Mangala. This summer they look set to go back for the highly-coveted defender and could be rivaled by Manchester neighbors United for his signature. The France under-21 international is thought to be valued at around £35 million by the Portuguese club.

For this rumor and the rest of Tuesday’s transfer gossip, click here.

6
Jan

Cristiano Ronaldo scores 400th career goal

Cristiano Ronaldo has hit yet another milestone today: he scored his 400th career goal for club and country. The Real Madrid and Portugal super star hit the mark in Los Blancos’ 3-0 win over Celta Vigo.

He’ll turn just 29 in less than a month, so with plenty of footballing years ahead of him, we have a slight hunch that number will be significantly higher when he eventually retires (yes, it will happen some day).

Update: Ronaldo also scored his 399th earlier in the match, and dedicated both goals to the late Eusebio, who was laid to rest today.

The Portuguese legend is certainly somewhere watching and smiling.

6
Jan

Eusebio’s final wish is granted

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Portugal legend Eusebio had one last wish after he passed: a lap around Estádio da Luz before he is laid to rest.

Thousands of fans showed up at the stadium and thousands more lined the streets to bid farewell to their footballing hero.

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In a touching moment, his coffin was placed at center field.

Rest In Peace, Black Panther.

21
Nov

Zlatan: I didn’t applaud Ronaldo’s hat trick (With video!)

Comments made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the rounds on Thursday, with the Swedish talisman denying reports he applauded Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable hat trick.

“Was I applauding Ronaldo? No, I was just trying to encourage my team-mates,” Ibrahimovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport, via the London Evening Standard.

"I clapped my hands to cheer them up and motivate them for the last few minutes.

Lucky for us, there’s video evidence to prove it:

This video shows Zlatan and Ronaldo’s reactions to their respective goals, and it’s quite telling. Considering you can see Ibra clapping his hands and encouraging teammates after CR7’s first and second goals, it seems the Swede’s side of the story holds water.

But there’s more to be seen in this video. It really should be enjoyed in its entirety, but some of our favorite moments:

  • Ronaldo glancing up to see the replay of his first goal, because who wouldn’t want to see that again (49 second mark)?
  • A two-fer! Ronaldo’s utter disbelief when Zlatan heads in his first, and Ibra’s steely stare at Pepe after scoring (2:25 mark).
  • An upset Cristiano attempting to spit on the ground after Zlatan scores his free kick, but hocking a nice rope of saliva onto his chin.
  • Pepe getting pulled off the Portuguese pile after Ronaldo’s hat trick (5:35 mark).

Let’s hope these two match up again real soon, and more videos like this emerge.

(h/t 101GreatGoals)

20
Nov

Portuguese announcer goes absolutely nuts over Ronaldo

Monday’s epic tilt between Portugal and Sweden really whet the soccer world’s appetite for the magic of the World Cup.

It’s a shame we have to wait seven months for such intensity. And, with all apologies to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, we’ll still be glued to our TVs, especially with performances like Ronaldo’s on Monday.

Thankfully for the announcer of this video, that seven-month layoff might give him just barely enough time to rest his pipes after going bananas for CR7.

His reaction to Ronaldo’s first goal is great, but we’re quite partial to his squeals after goal No. 2. Skip forward to about the 1:10 mark to set up that gem.

"Obrigado, Cristiano!"

June can’t come soon enough.

19
Nov

Heavyweights deliver goods on memorable final day of World Cup qualifying

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What a day of football.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a tremendous hat trick to lead Portugal into the 2014 World Cup — besting Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s brace, which had briefly revived Sweden’s hopes — while France became the first nation ever to qualify for a major tournament after losing a playoff first leg 0-2 on the road.

Elsewhere, Greece and Croatia also booked their tickets to Brazil, while African World Cup qualifying concluded with Ghana and Algeria claiming the last two African spots.

Care to see some goals now? Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic held their own personal shootout at Friends Arena, with CR7 ultimately besting Zlatan, 3 goals to 2. Whereas Ibra scored his brace on a pair of set pieces — one being an unstoppable free kick — Ronaldo feasted on a trio of breakaways, each finish cooler than the last:

Ronaldo thus wrapped up a clutch performance for the ages; he scored all four of Portugal’s goals over the two legs to ensure that he, and not Zlatan, is heading to Brazil. Not surprisingly, FIFA president Sepp Blatter was quick to congratulate Ronaldo, just weeks after publicly slighting him in favor of Lionel Messi. Even Blatter must have realized that a World Cup without the Ballon d’Or frontrunner would kind of be a bummer:

Ibrahimovic, for his part, could only applaud:

A historic moment of truth for Zlatan, realizing there are other players out there as good as him?

Eh, maybe not.

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Home fans were in a much better mood in Paris, as France grabbed a historic win over the Ukraine. Needing to win by three goals or more (had Ukraine scored an away goal), Les Bleus did just that, capping the comeback on an own goal in the 72nd minute:

Good thing, too. Imagine a Carnival without France. Impossible!

Before Tuesday, soccer fans had to prepare themselves for the possibility of a World Cup without the two leading Ballon d’Or candidates — Ronaldo and France’s Franck Ribery (apologies, Messi, but you were simply injured too often in 2013).

It would have been the first time in history that the reigning Ballon d’Or winner would watch the World Cup from home. But thanks to two incredible performances — one by Ronaldo himself, the other, a great  team performance by France — those fears have been squashed. A great World Cup awaits.

Only without Zlatan.

Images provided by Reuters.

8
Nov

FAIL: French sports minister calls Ronaldo “Cristiano Ronaldo”

Well, this is awkward.

During a World Cup promotional event in Paris, French sports minister Valerie Fourneyron mistakenly introduced Brazilian legend Ronaldo as, wait for it, “Cristiano Ronaldo.”

To Ronaldo’s credit he just stands there and smiles as Fourneyron realizes her gaffe. If you recall, “El Fenomeno” was at the center of Verde-Amarela's disappointing 1998 World Cup run in France where the former Barcelona and Real Madrid great reportedly suffered convulsions in his sleep before Brazil's cup final match against France.

Sure, it’s been nearly three years since Ronaldo last played football, but this kind of mistake — in France of all places — cannot be a boost for the strength of Ronaldo’s legacy.

Or ego.

(h/t DirtyTackle)