Tag Archive: Cristiano Ronaldo

With the UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixtures beginning today, and a few of the ties delicately poised, The Armchair Pundits takes a look at the potential fortunes of the teams involved, and offers predictions ahead of kick-off this evening.

Late twist | Borussia Dortmund celebrate wildly after an equaliser from Mats Hummels levels the tie away to Shakhtar Donetsk. (Image | Daily Mail)

Late twist | Borussia Dortmund celebrate wildly after an equaliser from Mats Hummels levels the tie away to Shakhtar Donetsk. (Image | Daily Mail)

Plenty of ties still hang in the balance, including one particularly mouth-watering clash and one giant looking to overcome a deficit…

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Obsession | Football is as much a part of the British national psyche as queuing, drinking tea and spending hours in the pub. (Image | The Sun)

It is probably fair to say that if the next national census asked whether people considered themselves to be a fan of sport, and then asked them to specify their favourite, the most popular answer would be football. By popular consensus, football is the national sport.

It is a constant talking point in the media and a regular source of conversation in workplaces and public houses. With this in mind: why do such a large number of people seem to know so little about the game?

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The phenomenon of the sporting egotist

Ego | Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as the most arrogant professional sportsman. (Image | Cristiano Ronaldo.org)

As William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage“. Many of the most fascinating stories in sport come from the athletes who view their profession as exactly that – a stage for them to display their talents.

Personally, I do not subscribe to the maxim that says sport is entertainment, especially when justifying its more oleaginous aspects.

I have always viewed it as an athletic contest between either individuals or a group of people to determine which is superior. The fact that this happens to be something that is engrossing is a happy coincidence, nothing else.

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On the crest of a wave | Could a playoff system work in the Premier League? (Image | TalkSPORT)

The Premier League (EPL) is the most watched sports league in the world with over 4.7bn viewers per year. It is by far the most popular league in Europe – but why is this?

Some argue that it is the quality of the players, others the notoriety of the brand and still more the style of play.

It is difficult to pinpoint a single reason, but what is for certain is that the Premier League, since its birth in 1992, has been able to market itself better globally than any of its European rivals.

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Captain Gioros Karagounis scored the only goal in Greece’s shock 1-0 win over Russia Saturday. His goal sends Greece into the last eight (Image | football365.com)

The first half of the UEFA European Championships quarter-final draw was decided over the weekend with one major surprise – the disappearance of Russia from the tournament at the first hurdle. After two games, and particularly their scintilating performance against the Czech Republic on the first day, many – including TAP’s own Ian Hobbs – fancied them as dark horses for the crown. But a dour showing against Greece on Saturday, combined with the Czech Republic’s triumph over co-hosts Poland, saw them eliminated.

With two giants emerging from Group B, it’s hard to see either Group A side advancing past the last eight.

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Many of England manager Roy Hodgson’s selections have raised eyebrows, but it won’t stop the whole nation getting behing the side come Monday (Images | Action, PA, Getty)

So another major tournament has come around, and for once the pressure isn’t quite as high on the Three Lions. It makes sense really, when you consider England didn’t even qualify last time, and the squad is at it’s most abysmal in 20 years. Some of the selection decisions made by Roy Hodgson – both in his initial squad and then in replacing a succession of injury casualties – have done little to assure the manager’s doubters of his ability.

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