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ZODIAC

Found 16 results

  1. In what has arguably been a spectacular year, the football season - comprised of prominent leagues and tournament - is nearing its fitting end. We've seen the likes of Barcelona lifting the La Liga trophy for the 26th time, Juventus clinching their eight successive Serie A title and Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick powering Paris Saint-Germain to Ligue 1 triumph this season. Also, the football fans were recently treated with Manchester City's thrilling Premier League title triumph that was decided on the final matchday of the season. Following the EPL suit, this year's Bundesliga title is also set to go down to the wire as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund (two-points adrift at the top) seek one final win to lift the trophy in the last round of matches on 18th May. And then, there is that big UEFA Champions League final in Madrid that will see English giants Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur locking horns for Europe's biggest trophy on 2nd June. But, while the highly-anticipated clash is still a few weeks away, the fans would be happy to update themselves on the latest list of most valuable and strongest football clubs in the world. © Reuters Putting some of the world's biggest football brands to test, Brand Finance has come up with this year's 'Football 50' - list of top football club brands. Taking into account a number of metrics (both financial and non-financial), the world's leading independent brand valuation consultancy firm has revealed the list of Top 50 most valuable and strongest football brands. Real Madrid might have crashed out of the Champions League and lost the La Liga trophy to arch-rivals Barcelona, but they have the title as the world's strongest football brand in 2019. With a brand value of 1.646 billion euro, the club is ahead of a peer group of a billion-euro-plus brands that includes Manchester United (€1.472bn), Barcelona (€1.393bn), Bayern Munich (€1.314bn), Manchester City (€1.255bn), and Liverpool (€1.191bn). The six clubs account for over 40 per cent of the overall brand value in the Brand Finance 'Football 50' ranking of the sport's most valuable brands, underlining the concentration of wealth and the creation of a set of 'super clubs'. They are followed by Chelsea (€968mn), Paris Saint-Germain (€914mn), Arsenal (€885mn) and Tottenham Hotspur (€758mn) to complete the top 10 spots on the coveted list. Los Blancos Reign Supreme © Reuters Real Madrid have shown this year who truly reigns supreme in the world of football. They triumph not only as the most valuable and strongest brand but their enterprise value and stadium are also ranked second to none. The club returned to the top of Brand Finance's ranking after almost a decade since it last held the title in 2010. The club's brand value has grown 27 per cent since last year, an increase partly attributable to the club winning a fourth UEFA Champions League in five years in 2018. The club had become the first in the world to break the €750 million barrier in revenues in 2017-18. Their commercial monies totalled €356 million, close to 50 per cent of overall revenues, making them the highest generator of cash from this income stream. Real Madrid also possesses the strongest football club brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 95.5 out of 100, marginally ahead of their fierce rivals Barcelona (BSI 95.4). Malaise In Manchester © Reuters Real Madrid's return to the top has pushed Manchester United into second place, as the Red Devils' brand value declined for the first time since 2016, from €1.562 billion last year to €1.472 billion (a 6 per cent drop) in 2019. Manchester United have disappointed in recent years on the playing field both in the Premier League and in the Champions League. Public perceptions of the brand have deteriorated as United ranks only 18th among the sample of the world's top clubs with regards to “playing exciting football”, as revealed by Brand Finance's original fan research. In the 2018-19 season, the club reached the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League but were easily beaten by Barcelona. Moreover, they failed to qualify for the 2019-20 competition for the third time in seven years. Such underperformance for a club accustomed to perpetual success in the Sir Alex Ferguson years is reflected in its revenue generation. Although total revenues remain among the highest, income from commercial and matchday activities has slowed up and TV income declined in 2017-18. To a certain degree, Manchester United have been cast into the shadows in their domestic market by neighbours Manchester City, who won the Premier League in 2018 and 2019. Spurs Race Ahead © Reuters Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are flying the flag for English football this year having reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. Both clubs improved their brand value by 20% to €1.191 billion and €758 million respectively, the highest growth rates in the top 10 after Real Madrid's 27 per cent and Paris Saint-Germain's 21 per cent. Tottenham in particular continue to win plaudits for their commitment to a progressive style of football and youth development. While their new 62,000-capacity home ground was being built, Tottenham were playing at Wembley, which provided the opportunity to grow matchday revenues. Their new stadium should enable them to maintain momentum in this income stream as well as monetise new state-of-the-art facilities through other non-football events. Their financial position was highlighted by record post-tax profits of €131 million in 2017-18, but their success in Europe in 2018-19 should allow the club to further invest in its playing resources and strengthen their ability to compete at the highest level. Wolves Wander Up The Ranks © Reuters While the ranking of the top clubs shows little change to 2018, one of the rising stars are Wolverhampton Wanderers, who returned to the Premier League in 2018 after an absence of six seasons. Wolves, a club with a rich heritage, ranks 28th in the table with a brand valuation of €187 million, and their impressive performance in 2018-19 and the benefits of Premier League membership should create a positive growth trajectory. This season, the club enjoyed their highest attendances at their Molineux ground for almost 50 years. Wolves are owned by Fosun International, which has close links with high-profile agent Jorge Mendes. They have leveraged these relationships to build a strong, attack-minded team of talented players as well as broaden the club's franchise in China and develop an innovative focus on eSports. The Premier Appeal © Reuters The ascendancy of Wolves and the strong presence of English clubs in the Brand Finance 'Football 50' (17 clubs in total) highlights the enduring financial power of the Premier League. The Premier's TV broadcasting revenues outstrip all the other major European leagues - €2.9 billion versus LaLiga's €1.2 billion in 2017, while commercial revenues are more than double the income of Serie A or Ligue 1. The Premier League is also the most widely followed league across Europe's main football markets, according to Brand Finance's original fan research. The Premier League is deemed to have a “superior atmosphere” and a “greater level of competitiveness” than other national competitions. However, the Premier League did not score highest on all metrics as La Liga is thought to have more “star players” and “world class clubs” than the Premier League. Brand Value By Leagues © Reuters Apart from the football clubs, Brand Finance also projected astonishing numbers in relation to the brand value in terms of competitive football leagues. There was no surprise to see Premier League right at the top of the list with a brand value of €8,683 million (a 6.9 per cent jump from last year's figures of €8,120 million). It wasn't really surprising considering the fact that it has provided all four finalists across the Champions League and UEFA Europa League this year - a feat achieved by a country for the very first time. Premier League is followed by La Liga whose brand value has been estimated at €3,998 million (a massive 23 per cent rise from last year's figures of €3,242 million) in the esteemed list. Germany's Bundesliga is at the third spot with a brand value of €3,815 million, followed by Serie A (€2,001mn) and Ligue 1 (€1,242mn).
  2. The past year for the Real Madrid F.C. has been a real struggle. Starting with Cristiano Ronaldo's exit from the roster for Juventus back in July 2018 for a massive €100 million contract, Los Blancos found themselves in one of the biggest slumps of their entire history as they lost rather badly to Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax (AFC Ajax) in the Round of 16 matchup of the Champions League in a 1-4 (3-5 on aggregate) goals defeat. After the massive upset, the team's management has decided to start afresh after firing Santiago Solari, the pride of Argentine football under whose interim reign, Real Madrid saw very little to no improvement. Bringing back Zinedine Zidane to head the city to the glory it had seen during the three seasons he was the manager there, team president Florentino Pérez Rodríguez is now aiming to upgrade Los Blancos' home-ground. For days now, Real Madrid F.C. have been boasting about their plans to give Santiago Bernabéu, a giant and high-tech facelift. ðð Take a look at the plans for the new Santiago Bernabéu! #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/ntXWHidlaa — Real Madrid C.F. ð¬ð§ðºð¸ (@realmadriden) April 2, 2019 According to TOI, the ameliorating will take about four years to complete with the stadium being fully functional by 2023. The new features will include a retractable roof, a titanium outside wall, along with a 360-degree scoreboard. In order to increase revenue generation out of the new customisations, the pedestrian areas will be installed with a huge megastore, multiple restaurants and bars, and also a museum dedicated to the stars and moments of the club. "We want this to be a great digital stadium of the future, and it will be paid for by the income its renovation will provide," said Perez. "And it will make Real Madrid more competitive at a time when the footballing landscape is becoming ever less certain." What is rather odd about the plans, however, is that the project which is going to set Perez's bank account back by € 525 million approximately, does not include any ideas of increasing the seating capacity of Bernabéu by a single chair. Real's rivals, Barcelona F.C., on the other hand, are amidst an upgradation of Camp Nou's capacity from 99,000 to 105,000 and will be good to go by 2023 as well.
  3. A couple of days ago, the world witnessed something spectacular when the Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo absolutely dismantled Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid in a Round of 16 match up of the 2019 UEFA Champions League. It's all over! A @Cristiano hat-trick against Atlético Madrid sends Juventus through to the #UCL quarterfinals. https://t.co/h8fnqHE1ZG — Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) March 12, 2019 With the help of left-winger Federico Bernardeschi's relentless attack against his Spanish opponents, Ronaldo took charge of ensuring his Juventus a berth in the quarter finals of the UCL as he successfully finished a hat-trick which comprised of two headers and a perfect penalty shot to the bottom corner of the goal following Angel Correa's clumsily pushing Bernardeschi to the ground inside the box. It was a 'Do or Die' situation for Juve who trailed Atleti 0-2 on aggregate after a debacle of a match in the first leg and boy did Ronaldo deliver in the clutch. Never the one to forget an insult, Ronaldo even made sure to remind Atletico boss, Simeone who the real man is, as he stole the Argentine's notorious 'cojones' celebration after scoring the penalty in the second half. The celebration might lead the Juve star into some major trouble but that's a story for another day. What Diego Simeone can do, Cristiano Ronaldo can do better ð#JuveAtleti pic.twitter.com/O7jEJZDBjI — CRonaldoDaily.com (@BreatheRonaldo) March 12, 2019 What we must focus on is the fact that the 34-year-old legend predicted such a performance days ahead of the face-off. According to an instagram post put up by French footballer Patrice Evra who had the pleasure of playing by Ronaldo's side during his Manchester United days, the five-time Ballon d'Or holder called out 'smashing' Atletico in a WhatsApp chat which took place five days ahead of the scheduled clash. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Patrice Evra (@patrice.evra) on Mar 14, 2019 at 5:12am PDT “Behind the scenes... these are messages between me and @cristiano 5 days before the massive comeback!!! This just shows you the confidence, the anger, the determination from the best player in the world we should thank cricri mummy and daddy and of course god for giving to us that nice man and unbelievable player,” Evra captioned the post. “Every big occasion with big pressure my brother always proves he is the man !!! Soo please don't be jealous I just wanna share and if you don't agree I can't do anything for you ...enjoy your life but you have to recognise he is simply the best of the best and don't try to tap the screen for his number.” Maybe Ronaldo IS God. Who knows?
  4. Ever since the kick-off of the Round 16 matchup of the UEFA Champions League between Juventus and Atletico Madrid, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo looked dialled in, prepared to put the team on his shoulders and bring home the victory. However, winning the game by one of two goals was not enough for Juventus to make it any further in the UCL as Los Rojiblancos were leading the Italians by two goals on aggregate. This meant that Juve needed at least three goals within 95 minutes of game-time in order to proceed to the quarterfinals. “No Problem,” said the five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or holder as he single-handedly dismantled his opponents scoring twice with beautiful headers in the first half and a penalty in the final minutes of the game, thus completing his hat-trick and providing his club with the ideal victory they could have asked for. It is therefore understandable that emotions were flowing throughout the athletes who dominated a rival they once lost to in the most disappointing fashion not too long ago. However, the man of the hour, Ronaldo himself, might have let these emotions get the better of him as he celebrated his final score in a way that was, let's just say, not suitable for his more younger fans. What Diego Simeone can do, Cristiano Ronaldo can do better ð#JuveAtleti pic.twitter.com/O7jEJZDBjI — CRonaldoDaily.com (@BreatheRonaldo) March 12, 2019 Apparently, the reason behind such an animated way of expressing his success was that Ronaldo was mocking Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone who'd celebrated in a similar manner when his team beat Juve 2-0 in the first leg. The fact that the footballer's little boys and girlfriend Georgina Rodríguez were present at the venue at the time of the celebration just made things a lot worse. When asked about how he felt about Ronaldo's avenging celebration, Simeone told Sky Italia: 'Ronaldo is the best in the world, he can put in these performances on big nights. He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character.' What has come to be known as the 'Cojones' celebration (translate at your own risk), the Argentine coach was fined £17,000 by UEFA back then. For a much-amplified version of Simeone's celebration, we are yet to see what kind of punishment is Ronaldo looking at. ð 3 Weeks Ago: ð¦ð· Diego Simeone celebrates with his 'Cojones' after @Atleti beat @JuventusFC 2-0. ð 3 Weeks Later: ðµð¹ @Cristiano celebrates with his 'Cojones' after scoring a hattrick and sending @JuventusFC through. ð¸â #Ronaldo pic.twitter.com/9KvGe5MW9t — Pényaldo (@penyaldo) March 13, 2019 Ronaldo's Troll Game Is Strong: CR7 steals Atletico manager's celebration after eliminating them from Champions League ð¥https://t.co/UWD4HVkyuA — IBU_Tankerman (@chespi310) March 13, 2019 It will be hilarious if Ronaldo gets suspended from the next game for the 'cojones' gesture and Juve lose. — Mixed Racial Arts (@MixedRacialArts) March 13, 2019 Cristiano “Cojones” Ronaldo ðð¤·ð½‍âï¸ — Titang (@titangex) March 13, 2019 Haha Ronaldo showing Diego Simeone who has the Biggest Cojones!!! ððððð#JuveAtleticoMadrid #UefaChampionsLeague pic.twitter.com/FuyKRqtS9w — ðð¨ð«ð ðð«ðð° ððð¯ðð¥ðâ (@LordDrewZavala) March 12, 2019
  5. One can only look for so many arguments to debate how the Portuguese megastar Cristiano Ronaldo is not the greatest footballer of this generation and most certainly one of the top elites in the history of the game. But when he does something as massive and impressive as this, the haters must dig deep into their 'bag of excuses' to bring down the man's brilliance and still won't be able to come out with a solid case. The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 saw what was probably the best individual performance this season when Ronaldo scored a brilliant and a very crucial hat-trick in order to surpass Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid and take his Juventus to the UCL quarter finals. It's all over! A @Cristiano hat-trick against Atlético Madrid sends Juventus through to the #UCL quarterfinals. https://t.co/h8fnqHE1ZG — Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) March 12, 2019 While two absolutely stunning headers brought Juve to a 2-0 lead in the game, it was the penalty kick which followed left-winger Federico Bernardeschi being clumsily pushed from behind by Atletico substitute Angel Correa that propelled the Italian club by a goal on aggregate making them win the rivalry 3-2 overall. first goal by ronaldo pic.twitter.com/q2sUjbOCFw — Khoirul Umam (@AmbonezYowmann) March 12, 2019 Ronaldo's 123rd Goal in the Champions league to bring back Juve in the tie. Most clutch player of all time.pic.twitter.com/500mFD9UZz — Hamza (@Ronaldoversesx) March 12, 2019 A beauty of a shot placed well into the bottom right corner of the net while Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak dived to the left, preceded the iconic 'Ronaldo' celebration with his teammates running behind in pursuit to celebrate the achievement with the star. Cristiano Ronaldo ice-cold Hattrick Penalty Goal to turn the deficit over Atletico Madrid. Greatest of all time. Ice in his veins.pic.twitter.com/6rXrW5b1VM — Hamza (@Ronaldoversesx) March 12, 2019 "The risk was to play a hysterical match, the comeback was there to be had, and we had 95 minutes to do it,” said Juventus' manager Massimiliano Allegri after the match. “The players played with brilliance and intelligence… [Ronaldo] was good and the rest of the players were also good.” Ronaldo's heroic hat-trick got his fans yet another reason to celebrate their love and passion for football and that for the player himself as they showered the man with gratitude online: i'm convinced ronaldo invented soccer at this pointððð pic.twitter.com/ekBo31DK0n — nick foles fan acc (@Mauger32) March 13, 2019 Ronaldo in the tunnel before the game pic.twitter.com/Ufxh01DFAe — ð° (@Reece43671363) March 13, 2019 ALL OF THE CRISTIANO RONALDO HATERSðððððððð pic.twitter.com/fxbAFx0mHT — peppers.11â½ï¸ð²ð½ (@wichoo98) March 13, 2019 Cristiano Ronaldo fans right now ðð pic.twitter.com/W2WM8LYbow — Fine_wine ð· (@LuwizDarko) March 13, 2019 Even Arsenal midfielder and Ronaldo's former teammate from his Real Madrid days, Mesut Ozil congratulated him on the show the Portuguese put on today: Amazing @Cristiano show ð¥ð #UCL — Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) March 12, 2019
  6. One of the better football clubs in the history of the sport, with a massive following of diehard fans who take their game very seriously, Real Madrid have found themselves to be in a bit of a slump ever since Portuguese fame Cristiano Ronaldo decided to say goodbye to the Spanish club to play in Italy for Juventus back in July 2018 for a massive €100 million contract. Ronaldo's move followed his then manager Zinedine Zidane's decision to quit the team last year. Ever since, the management of Los Blancos has shifted thrice in less than a year. First was Julen Lopetegui, who was brought as a compensating replacement of the French superstar but was quickly fired after Lionel Messi's Barcelona defeated them in a humiliating 'El Clasico' match up. Next came Santiago Solari, the pride of Argentine football under whose interim reign, Real Madrid saw very little to no improvement. They crashed out of Copa del Rey and lost all hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League for the fourth consecutive time after a depressing 1-4 loss to Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax (AFC Ajax) in the Round of 16. Now that Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid President, has decided to bring Zidane back to Santiago Bernabeu while letting go of his disagreement with the Frenchman, the franchise hopes to bring back its glory days. But, the real question is, will Zidane be able to help Los Blancos become the entity they used to be during the 'Ronaldo Era' without Ronaldo? Till now, the experiments Lopetegui and Solari tried, all of them crashed and burned while the club continued to spiral. On the other hand, the man that Madrid fans put their trust into in the absence of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, has not only failed to step into the Portuguese's shoes but has also made no improvements to his game like he said he would if CR7 wasn't there. The fans of the club feel the same way as they took to Twitter to show their concerns about Zindane's success without Cristiano Ronaldo: I want to see if Zidane was the one who lead Real to fame or was it Cristiano Ronaldo all a long pic.twitter.com/WiJn0P8ukA — Will ™ ð¬ð§âï¸ (@ftblWilll) March 11, 2019 He is back, but can Zidane do it without superstar Ronaldo at Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/ruNjR5tba6 — BrandonKB (@chiseledout) March 12, 2019 Zidane's tactics without Ronaldo pic.twitter.com/yfKMPGan0A — Juanito Lucha Libre (@FrankSno9) March 11, 2019 Zidane's tactics without Ronaldo pic.twitter.com/yfKMPGan0A — Juanito Lucha Libre (@FrankSno9) March 11, 2019 Is it just me who thinks that Zidane coming back to Real won't change anything. Fact is they have an ageing squad and NO RONALDO NO PARTY. pic.twitter.com/RwaubcSbfr — Saman Dhawan (@DhawanSaman) March 11, 2019
  7. Football is among the most unpredictable sports of all time, as sometimes, even the best teams tend to fail miserably. Once in a while, every team goes through a state of drought but the most important part is how they bounce-back. Real Madrid, arguably being the best club of all time, have been having a rough past few months. Being ousted from the league title run by Barcelona and later being kicked out from the UEFA Champions Cup by the young Ajax club, it has really gone from bad to worse for Los Blancos. Fortunately, the fans can now take a sigh of relief as their beloved Zizoue, aka Zinedine Zidane, has reclaimed his throne after being on a break for almost ten months. © Reuters Leaving Real in May, after winning his third consecutive UCL title, the Frenchman went on a break, but seeing his side face their worst times, he has been appointed once again to replace Santiago Solari to take over the club's command till 30 June 2022. This came a week after Real lost to Ajax 1-4 in the round of 16 (UCL) despite being 2-1 up in the first leg. Trying all they could, this was the best and the only option they had. Despite returning less than a year after he left the club, Zidane will face a rebuilding job at Real Madrid. There would be many things he will have to look forward to, starting off with finding an apt replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who left last summer. Another thing would be Gareth Bale's future at the club, as the Walish star has not been able to own up to his standards and also is being booed by the club fans at the same time. © Reuters But this is not all, making way for Zizoue has not been a cake-walk for president Florentino Perez as he had to agree with all the conditions kept forward by the former French-midfielder before returning to the club. We all know that Zidane left Real Madrid because of his differences with Perez, and now that he is back, he has an upper hand at making Real great again. Here are the conditions kept forward by the 2006 World Cup winner, according to Marca: 1) Total control over the team 2) Sell the players he does not want 3) Marcelo & Isco are not for sale 4) Neymar will not be bought 5) James doesn't return 6) Try to sign Mbappé The Frenchman has also tickled the speculations of Portuguese megastar Cristiano Ronaldo possibly making a comeback to Los Blancos in the press conference yesterday when he said, “Let's see what happens next year…”. Fans of the club have been taking to Twitter to show their love for the football legend's decision to finally return to the team: Welcome back, Zidane.#HalaMadrid | #RealMadrid pic.twitter.com/ZEyyELhQzt — Real Madrid C.F. ð¬ð§ðºð¸ (@realmadriden) March 11, 2019 AND FINALLY ZIDANE IS BACK.. pic.twitter.com/K2KSnXHssT — Aabish MADRIDISTA (@AabishPaudel2) March 11, 2019 When think about next season now that's ZIDANE IS BACK.#TIMETOBEATBARCA 5:0 ALSO pic.twitter.com/KqpDDQfzvv — ||^16 savage^|| (@nqobile_16SavaG) March 12, 2019 He is back Home sweet home #Zidane pic.twitter.com/YPClQcd3mX — Rudy182 (@Rudy1824) March 12, 2019 Nobody: Zidane returns as Real Madrid manager. Me: pic.twitter.com/Je14HJKGfv — shidi (@shidifour) March 11, 2019 I just love Zidane, okay? #FFIX #NintendoSwitch pic.twitter.com/8tycZuq8r5 — Nissa (@ripsaw_unicorn) March 12, 2019 Now with Zidane back to take charge, let's hope Real Madrid can come back stronger next season and show their true self to the world.
  8. The most difficult thing as a kid is to choose between two things you love the most, for example choosing between chocolate or cake. No matter how hard it was for us, we have to agree that these choices were far simpler than making a career choice at the age of 12. But a career choice, at the age of mere 12, was made by Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard had to make a decision that millions of kids around the world have made at some point, but not this early- the decision of 'which sport to focus on completely'. In his case, it was a little different than most kids', as he excelled in both soccer and tennis. Over the years, despite earning a big name in the tennis world, Rafa still hasn't forgotten his first love- football. Time-to-time he continues to play the sport just to relive his childhood dream. On more than one occasion, we have seen 'the king of clay' showcasing his footballing skills, be it in a NIKE advertisement with Cristiano Ronaldo or juggling with the tennis ball on the court, we have witnessed it all. Recently, the world no.2 displayed yet another skill right before his exhibition match in the Eisenhower Cup. He was seen lobbing the ball with his feet while maintaining perfect balance. He continued to juggle the ball and exchanged volleys with Dominic Thiem at the other end. Just like their long rallies on the court with the tennis racquet, Rafa and Thiem maintained their standards in the juggling exchange as well. View this post on Instagram It's @domithiem vs. @rafaelnadal in the tunnel â½ï¸ð¤£ð¾ A post shared by Troll Tennis (@officialtrolltennis) on Mar 5, 2019 at 8:39pm PST Apart from this, Rafa indulged himself in another bizarre moment when he chose “rock, paper, scissors” over the usual coin-toss. Here, Nadal was playing a young American lad, Taylor Fritz, in the opening round of the Eisenhower Cup. View this post on Instagram Rock-Paper-Scissors replaces coin toss at Tie Break Tens . Lol!! Rafa needs to improve his game here :p Video- @tiebreaktens A post shared by Troll Tennis (@officialtrolltennis) on Mar 5, 2019 at 10:52pm PST Though he lost in the rock, paper, scissors battle, he managed to gain the upper hand in the tournament by defeating Fritz 10-8 in the tie-break. Earlier in the day, the main Indian Wells draw came out. Being the top two seeds in the tournament, Nadal and Novak Djokovic are specifically placed in the opposite halves of the draw. But fortunately, Roger Federer is drawn in the same half as Nadal, which means we could see the epic clash of the biggest rivals in Miami once again.
  9. The world's most expensive player somehow managed to make headlines even when he is not playing on the field. The man himself, Neymar Jr, is currently healing from a foot injury which ruled him out even from the round of 16 clashes against Manchester United. Playing his second season with the French champions, Paris Saint-Germain, the left-winger has scored 20 goals and set up another 11 in just 23 appearances for his team this season. Making his way from Barcelona to PSG in 2017, the Brazilian might head back to La Liga in the coming years, but this time to the Los Blancos and not the Catalans. © Reuters The latest rumours have linked the 27-year-old with a return to Barcelona, however, his father Neymar Sr has ruled out his son's interest in the Catalan club and feels that Neymar is happy in PSG. Whereas in a recent interview in his home country, the Brazilian forward opened up on his potential move to Real Madrid. Despite admitting that he is happy at the French capital, the Sau Paulo lad didn't rule out a move to the current UEFA Champions league holder. "If I want to play for Madrid? They are one of the biggest clubs in the world," he told in an interview at Globo TV. “Any player linked with Real Madrid would feel attracted to player there.” © Reuters Clearing his statement the forward added: "For the love of God, I am not speaking about playing for Madrid, calm down. I feel happy in Paris, I am very well here... but, in the future, nobody knows.” "It is obvious that Real Madrid are a great team, one of the best in the world, I have great respect for them but, today, I see myself in Paris," he said. For the time being, the PSG star is working really hard to recover from his injury and join his side soon. © Reuters As far as PSG is concerned, they hold a firm grip over Manchester United in their Champions League 'Round of 16' tie, thanks to Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe who put up a sparkling performance at the Old Trafford. Coming back to Neymar, it's highly uncertain that the Brazilian would think of a change this soon. He probably will stick to the French champions for the time being and would look for a change in the coming years. Till then, we hope we get to see our beloved Neymar Jr., back on the field again.
  10. Winning is not a one-time thing, it is more of an addiction. You want to win all the time, no matter how it comes. And when we talk of a team like Barcelona, they sure seem to be addicted to winning. Last night, the Catalans stormed into the Copa del Rey final with a 3-0 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, making it a 4-1 aggregate advantage over them. Sitting on top of the league table, Barca is set to go for yet another treble. Already in the final of the Spanish Cup, they just appear to be one trophy away, the UEFA Champions League, from achieving that glory. Coming back to their thrilling victory last night over their arch-rivals Real Madrid, Barca didn't look in control since the start. First half was pretty low for both the teams, despite having the possession, Barca didn't even have a shot on goal whereas Real had three. © Reuters As the game progressed to the second half, Lionel Messi and men got hold of their plan. Taking the advantage of Real's regular left-back, Marcelo being benched, Ousmane Dembele timed his cut-back pass in the 50th minute to Luis Suarez, who netted the ball thus scoring the opening goal of the match. Despite Isco getting back to training after a back injury, he was not included in the squad for the game. Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Marcelo were also left out of the playing XI, making it even easier for Messi & Co to showcase their true potential. © Reuters Maybe it was just not Real Madrid's day, as soon after the first strike, Raphael Varane scored an own goal to give the Catalans the lead of 2 goals. The final nail in the coffin was hammered in by Suarez who scored on a penalty, courtesy Casemiro stepping on his foot inside the box. Overall, it was an awesome performance by Barcelona, who proved that they can roar not only in their own forest but elsewhere as well. Major props to Ter-Stegen, the Barca keeper who looked in prime form, getting his hands on four brilliant saves and keeping the post secure for his team. Moving on with this, Real Madrid still has a chance to avenge last night's defeat, when they meet Barcelona yet again on Saturday in their home ground for a league match.
  11. If you're a preacher of football, you know there are two kinds of fans: Real Madrid fans and people who hate Sergio Ramos. Needless to say, the majority of us belong to the latter category. No matter how good a defender Ramos is (probably the best in the world), he has proven time and again to be a total sh*thouse. From leading Spain to its maiden World Cup to winning three consecutive Champions Leagues, the Real Madrid icon has done it all, but all of that stands for nothing when Ramos shows the not-so-beautiful side of his game. From his cynical foul on Mo Salah to the infamous antics to stop Lionel Messi, we've seen it all. Often considered as 'The Master Of Dark Arts', Ramos boasts of a trophy cabinet like no other in the world of football, but to have more red cards than trophies, is a bit of a stretch. © Reuters This time, the Los Blancos skipper got into headlines after the UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body held him accountable for getting a deliberate yellow card for a foul on Ajax striker Kasper Dolberg, in the 89th minute. This yellow card means Ramos will be suspended from the home leg of the fixture. By picking up a suspension at this stage, Ramos has reduced the risk of missing a potentially more important match later in the competition, as all bookings are wiped following the quarter-final stage. However, a player who is found to have obtained a booking deliberately can be banned for two games. Ramos, who has been handed a one-game ban, has a hearing on February 28 where he might face the same consequences as Valencia's Geoffrey Kondogbia, who after the same actions was banned for two matches. © Reuters There is a strong possibility that the foul Ramos committed was a deliberate one. Considering he wanted to go clean for the latter stage of the competition plus his own admission saying, “be lying if I said I didn't force [the booking].” Ramos later clarified his post-match comments, saying, "I was referring to forcing the foul, a foul that was inevitable. Not to forcing the booking. It was a very dangerous counter-attack in the 88th minute, with an open match and the tie as well." UEFA will definitely see this as an opportunity to send out a message to other players, thus, safeguarding the ethics of the game. This might finally be the time when Sergio Ramos will not get away with murder.
  12. If you're a football fanatic, you know it's that time of the year. Champions League? Of course. Premier League? Totally. Domestic cup competitions? Hell yeah! But what all of this brings in is frustrating, controversial and game-changing decisions from the referees. © Manchester Evening News Agreed, they're only human so they can make mistakes but if various footballing theories are to be believed, sometimes the bogus decisions are given just to influence the overall look of the season or worse, a referee hunting for the limelight. Whether it's Chelsea getting robbed of second straight Champions League final (2009) because of atrocious refereeing or Bayern Munich being denied clear penalties against Real Madrid, we've seen it all. Quite often UEFA has been branded 'UEFALona' and 'UEFAMadrid' just to showcase the organization's sudden 'soft corner' for the Spanish clubs. And it was hard to disagree with. Chelsea vs Barcelona semi-final was said to be doctored by UEFA itself, in order to avoid an 'all English finale' (Manchester United other finalists) for two years in a row, thinking it'll affect the popularity as well as TV ratings of the competition. With the introduction of VAR) (Video Assistant Referee) in Champions League, it was a different ball game (pun intended) last night. VAR is just like DRS in cricket but for football. © Reuters In one of the most anticipated ties of the round of 16, Atletico Madrid faced Juventus at Wanda Metropolitano. It was merely 27 minutes on the clock when Atletico was awarded a penalty for De Sciglio's alleged foul on Diego Costa. The decision was correctly overturned by VAR since the foul happened outside of the box. That was not the only contribution of Video Assistant Referee as it again came to Juventus' rescue, this time Alvaro Morata's thumping header gave Atletico the lead before VAR intervened and decided against it. © Manchester Evening News VAR's influence was felt 1800 kms North of Madrid in Gelsenkirchen (Germany) as well. Schalke were the clear underdogs coming into this match, thanks to their plummeting domestic form under manager Domenico Tedesco. After conceding an early goal due to defensive chaos, the German side came back in the contest when VAR awarded Schalke a penalty, after Nicolas Otamendi handled the ball, which was earlier denied by the on-field referee. However, a decision like this couldn't help Schalke deal with City's immense quality as the English club cruised to victory even with down to 10 men. After a successful World Cup, VAR has proven time and again that it is what 'the beautiful game' needs in order to keep it fair. The only concern is that it is a machine and chances of a machine failing are very high. On average it takes only about a minute or so for VAR to arrive at a decision but last night it took about three, which is a lot considering the quick nature of football and how you only need a second to change the game. Although UEFA clarified that the delay was caused because of the faulty pitch side monitor, but delays like these cannot be ignored. All in all, VAR has its pros and cons but one thing that it can guarantee is extinction of infamous moments like Hand Of God, Neuer's Ghost Save Vs England, Thiago Motta's Red Card Vs Barcelona and many more. Here are the best Twitter reactions on VAR from last night. This match is the best advertise for VAR. Great stuff. — hash (@hashim0307) February 20, 2019 I've no problem with the decisions VAR made but Jesus Christ it cannot take that long, like many have said, if it takes over 2 and half minutes to figure out it definitely isn't clear and obvious — Camobabo (@CamoBabo) February 21, 2019 #VAR is just like giving a kid a gun !!!! — khalid alkhattaf (@AlkhattafKhalid) February 21, 2019 What a phenomenal game #ATLJUV was. But I'm still and never will be a fan of #VAR — Michael Constantinou (@theGroupMikeC) February 21, 2019 The hand ball rule is stupid. Judging whether or not something is deliberate when the ball is travelling that fast is impossible. With VAR I'd expect them to have a better understanding but obviously not. — Calum (@CalArsenal) February 21, 2019
  13. Joining Chelsea from Real Madrid for a then club-record fee of 60 million pounds, Alvaro Morata was looked upon as the next big striker who would go on rule the goal-scoring charts for the Blues in the Premier League. But, contrary to popular perception, Morata suffered a goal drought that eventually saw him becoming the weakest link at the Stamford Bridge. Amid high criticism and consistent backlash from fans, the Spanish could only make 45 appearances for the Blues - wherein he scored just 16 goals - before being loaned out to Atletico Madrid until the end of the 2019-20 season. While Gonzalo Higuain occupied his place in the Chelsea and immediately made an impact scoring twice on his home debut, Morata's poor run continued on his first game for Madrid. Gonzalo Higuain is the 1st @ChelseaFC player to score twice on their home #PL debut for the club since Mario Stanic v West Ham in August 2000 pic.twitter.com/qUSGRoF6we — Premier League (@premierleague) February 2, 2019 The second-placed La Liga side had a vital opportunity to close the gap on leader Barcelona after they dropped points following a 2-2 draw with Valencia. But, the Diego Simeone side struggled to break down Real Betis before stuttering to a 0-1 defeat at the Benito Villamarin stadium. Morata was preferred for full 90 minutes, but the Spaniard had little influence on the game. The Madrid forward had four efforts on goal but none managed to go past Betis shot-stopper Pau Lopez. A 63-minute handball by Felipe Luis inside the penalty box gave the hosts a chance to take the lead and Sergio Canales made no mistake from the spot-kick. Real Betis goal. Barcelona go six points clear on top as it stands. #RealBetis #Barcelona #atleticomadrid pic.twitter.com/hoL7bVHtA0 — Maestro Messi (@Messischip) February 3, 2019 The victory was Betis' first against Madrid since Simeone took over late in 2011. On the other hand, the visitors suffered their first loss in 19 league games on Morata's debut. Simeone's team was unbeaten since their 0-2 loss at Celta Vigo in the third of games. Their latest setback was only the third loss for Atletico in 33 games in all competition this season. For a man who has been desperate to break away from his slump at Chelsea, Morata did his reputation no good following a poor show on his debut for Madrid. Owing to his lacklustre form, the Spanish footballer became the butt of all jokes with football fans taking turns to troll him on the social media. Atletico Madrid were unbeaten in 19 games... ...they lost 1-0 today on Alvaro Morata's debut. The Morata Effect. pic.twitter.com/Ww3EJBeI75 — Footy Humour (@FootyHumour) February 3, 2019 Good to see he's setting the record straight on his time at Chelsea — Roman Bolton (@RomanBolton1998) February 3, 2019 What a coincidence — Elliot (@JasonKlevra) February 3, 2019 pic.twitter.com/JLHNNVzzR6 — Meryem Benslimane (@MeryemMusic) February 3, 2019 Who's Morata again? — il_vile (@darialdo79) February 3, 2019 pic.twitter.com/8AGLoto7ii — MoHaMmEd (@M_ALSALEM18) February 3, 2019 The goal scoring touch eluded him..? But then they weren't playing @Arsenal.. What a bargain he was for the @ChelseaFC chavs... — alexgray (@gray410) February 3, 2019 Cancer to the team — sanda farouk (@farouk_sanda) February 3, 2019 Must be thrown into evil ð forest ð¸ 𤠗 Tunschan (@tunschan007) February 3, 2019 Atletico got bumped 60+ mil for a striker that can't finish — ak (@MufcSameer1999) February 3, 2019
  14. Chelsea forward, Alvaro Morata's move to Atletico Madrid has opened up a can of worms for fans in the Spanish capital. He has come through the ranks from the Real Madrid Youth Academy and a transfer to age-old city rivals is honestly not a heartwarming update for Madridistas. For most of you who must have forgotten, Morata's first team as a professional player was Real Madrid. Yes, he did play in Atletico's youth program but then joined Real's academy in 2008, eventually playing in their first team. The Madrid derby is slated for February 9 and we won't blame the fans if there are loud boos every time Morata touches the ball. So, how does he deal with this situation, you ask. For starters, he can seek some inspiration from these other superstars who joined rival clubs and went on to definitely. 1. Robin Van-Persie (Arsenal to Manchester United) © Reuters RvP became one of the deadliest strikers in the Premier League in his last couple of years at Arsenal. Credit goes to none other than Arsene Wenger, who developed the Dutchman into a leader after Thierry Henry's departure. With time Van Persie matured into a complete striker and was also handed over the captain's armband after the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona. But in 2012, when trophies didn't come by at the Emirates, the Dutchman refused to sign a contract extension. Just then, Manchester United's then manager, Sir Alex Ferguson lured him to sign for Manchester United with the promise of trophies. Van Persie joined Manchester United for £24 million in 2012 after bagging back to back golden boots. He would be influential in guiding the Red Devils to the Premier League title by scoring 26 goals in the process. Though he had infuriated the Arsenal fans, van Persie did not care as he had finally won the league in his first season at his new club and even received a guard of honour from his former colleagues. 2. Luis Figo (Barcelona To Real Madrid) © Reuters After Florentino Perez became the club president of Real Madrid in 2000, he launched the famed Galacticos era at Santiago Bernabeu by signing at least one star player every summer. Luis Figo, who was one of the best players in the world, was signed from sworn enemies Barcelona for a world record transfer fee. Figo had spent five years with the Catalans and was revered by their fans. However, it was an under the table move as it took place without any player at the club really knowing about it. It broke Catalan hearts when the Portuguese decided to join the arch-rivals in such a controversial manner. 3. Carlos Tevez (Manchester United to Manchester City) © Reuters As per reports, Carlos Tevez didn't really want to leave Manchester United. Carlos Tevez was adored by Manchester United fans after proving instrumental in the club's Champions League-winning 2007-08 campaign during a two-year loan spell. But with time, the relationship between Tevez and Alex Ferguson started to crumble when the 34-year-old made some jarring remarks regarding his future in an interview with a UK newspaper. Eventually, Tevez signed for Manchester City and immediately took a dig at Fergie, claiming that the Scot didn't want him at Old Trafford. Responding to which, Ferguson said that Tevez wasn't worth the money City paid for him (around £25.5m, if his advisors are to be believed). But proving Fergie wrong, the Argentine scored 52 goals in his first two seasons at the Etihad. 4. Luis Enrique (Real Madrid To Barcelona) © Reuters Luis Enrique played almost half of his career at Real Madrid. The former Barcelona manager had spent eight years in the whites of Real Madrid. Despite that, Enrique could never become an integral part of the Los Blancos side, scoring only 18 goals in 213 matches for them. When he made his move to Barca in 1996, he did so for a free transfer. The midfielder, who was praised for his versatility, would go on to become a regular for Barcelona and was eventually given the captain's armband. Compared to Real, the Spaniard scored 109 goals in 300 matches and also won two La Liga trophies for their El Classico rivals. 5. Sol Campbell (Tottenham to Arsenal) © Reuters After coming through Tottenham's youth ranks, Sol Campbell made his debut for Spurs at the tender age of 18. He became a mainstay at the Tottenham centre-back position for years to come and captained them to a League Cup victory in 1999. But little did they know that the Tottenham star was about to join their fiercest enemies, Arsenal. Despite saying that he would never play for Arsenal in the past, he went on to join the club and is till date named as 'Judas' by the Spurs fans for betraying their club.
  15. One of the most decorated footballers of his generation, Cristiano Ronaldo shocked the footballing world after expressing his desire to move away from Real Madrid following their UEFA Champions League triumph last season. The Portuguese was roped in by Juventus through a lucrative 100-million-pound move. But, given his prowess in front of the goal and the big-buck move, Ronaldo failed to emulate his success in the Juventus jersey. The Portugal captain went three games without scoring for the Turin-based club before breaking the deadlock with a brace against Sassuolo on Sunday. While Ronaldo scoring his first goal for Juventus was only a matter of time, the two goals surely helped the 33-year-old get the monkey off his back. © Reuters Though he will be happy after getting onto the scoring sheet, Ronaldo would definitely not be impressed with the recent comments of his former teammate Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger, who has now become a vital figure for Los Blancos after Ronaldo's departure from Santiago Bernabeu, minced no words while commenting on his former teammate's move to Serie A. Asked about how Madrid are coping with Ronaldo's absence, Bale said: "It's maybe a bit more relaxed (without Ronaldo)," Bale told Daily Mail. "I suppose there is more of a team, more working as one unit rather than one player," the 29-year-old said taking a dig at Ronaldo. Forced to operate under Ronaldo's shadow during his stay at Madrid, Bale was angry and upset after failing to find his name in Blancos' starting XI against Liverpool in the Champions League final last season. However, his introduction in the later stages of the game saw the Welshman scoring two vital goals - including the astronomical overhead bicycle kick - as Zinedine Zidane's men clinched the coveted title with a 3-1 win. © Reuters "Angry. Quite angry, to be honest", Bale had said about starting the final on the bench. "Obviously, I felt I deserved to start the game. I'd been scoring goals. So yeah, I suppose it was hard to put the anger aside," he concluded after their triumph in Kiev last season. Despite winning their third consecutive Champions League title, Madrid's celebrations were dented by the shock post-match interviews by both Bale and Ronaldo who disclosed doubts over their respective futures at the club. While Ronaldo moved away to Juventus, Bale decided to stick it out at Madrid and has since, become a pivotal figure under the new manager Julen Lopetegui. While we aren't sure about the rapport between these two footballers, but there is no doubt that Bale's latest comments will not go down too well with Ronaldo, who is currently busy plying his trade in Italy.
  16. Ronaldo was Real Madrid's all-time top scorer with 451 goals in all competitions and won two La Liga titles, four Champions League trophies with them. Photo: Reuters MADRID: Five-times world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for...
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