Archive for February 14th, 2011
Soccer is a demanding sport. Sure, it doesn’t require the endurance of a cyclist undergoing the 20 day plus Le Tour de France, nor does it has such a demanding schedule as a professional basketball player who has to travel and play 3-4 times a week. And yes, it certainly is not as brutal of a team sport as rugby or American Football. But no other sport can match the expectation, the fan based euphoria placed on teams and players to succeed at all cost.
Under these circumstances even the most athletically gifted bodies have to give into the pressure, and eventually the body just breaks and asks for rest. And that is why Ronaldo, one of the finest strikers the game has seen has officially announced his retirement from professional football.
After 18 years as a professional Ronaldo put an end to a magnificent career in which he not only won two World Cups with the Brazilian national team but also flourished in the most important team in Europe. The 34-year-old striker had deserved many recognitions including the FIFA World Player of the Year prize which he won three times and also, he holds the record for most goals scored on World Cup tournaments at an yet unmatched 15.
Ronaldo began his professional career in Brazil with Cruzeiro when he was just 16 years old. He moved to the PSV Eindhoven in 1993 where he became the Dutch team’s best scorer, which was enough to end him a transfer to Barcelona in 1996.
Once on Spanish ground, Ronaldo became somewhat of an idol for the Catalan club where he scored 34 goals in 37 matches in the Spanish Liga, been a fundamental part of Barcelona winning the Copa del Rey tournament. The following year he would sign a deal with Inter Milan with whom the Brazilian star help Inter clinch the 1998 UEFA Cup.
Ronaldo played for Inter until the 2002 season when he was transferred to Real Madrid, where he was part of the squad that won the Spanish Liga in 2003 and 2007. He then joined AC Milan, but his stay with the Italian team was cut short due to his third knee injury.
With the Brazilian team Ronaldo was part of the team that won the USA 1994 World Cup, although he never played as he was just a teenager. In 2002 in the South Korea- Japan World Cup, Ronaldo was back at its highest level and helped the team win the World Cup after scoring two goals in the final game against Germany. That year he won his third player of the year award, after the ones he received in 1996 and 1997.
Ronaldo helped Brazil win the 1997 and 1999 Copa America as well as the 1997 Confederations Cup. He won a bronze medal with the Brazilian national team in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Ronaldo scored 67 goals in 104 games wearing the Brazilian national jersey.
Ronaldo moved to Corinthians in Brazil to finish off his career. A string of injuries during the past two years kept him from performing at a high level and he was not been taken kindly by part of the fans. Regardless of his less then ideal ending, Ronaldo has had an amazing career. His ability to comeback from three near career ending knee injuries is quite a reflection of his combative nature. He will be kindly remembered by many fans around the world.
It really seems as if the Boston Celtics know exactly what it takes to keep the Miami Heat under the radar. The Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had a triple-double and Kevin Garnet came in with 19 points, 7 boards and 3 assists to guide the Celtics on a 85-82 come from behind win against the Miami Heat. In clutch time, the Heat took their chances and went for a three-point shot that would have sent the game into overtime. But surprise, surprise, it wasn’t Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh or LeBron James who took the shot, but Mike Miller who went for it and missed.
There are a couple of ways we could look at this situation. The Miami Heat has made a multimillion-dollar investment in signing in three of the hottest players in the league early in the season. The renovated team that included players of the caliber of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James had a bit of an extended break in period but once all the mechanisms were working together and things got oiled up, the Miami Heat was capable of impressive wins over the strongest teams in the nation, including a Christmas Day win over the defending champions the LA Lakers.
But they have yet to know what it feels like to defeat the National Championship runner-up, the veteran-wise Boston Celtics. Here are the extra kicks: playing in the eastern conference the Celtics are expectedly the team that is going to dominate the Playoffs where they will probably face the Miami Heat (which is arguably the other strongest team in that conference). And that is where the situation takes an interesting turn.
Take a look at this: The Boston Celtics have won 12 of the last 13 games against the Miami, that is including a 4-1 series victory in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Yes that was before King James came over from Cleveland. But if you look back at that series you would realize that they then knocked LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers out in the next round. So sure, in the summer James made his move to Miami to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, but not muchas has changed: the Heat still haven’t been able to beat Boston.
Now, this is where it gets a bit scary for most Boston fans or at least those of us who have our high hopes, and made an early bet on the Celtics to go all the way: head coach Doc Rivers should really find a way to keep his squad healthy, as the Big Three, Paul Pierce, Ray Allan and Kevin Garnett, are all in the twilight of their careers and no matter how well they do in the regular season, it is all worthless if they are not as strong and as motivated as they are right now when the playoffs kickoff.
This was enough for the Celtics two snap a two game loss streak and maintain their healthy record of not losing three consecutive games so far this season. The Celtics will now play the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday and hitting the road to play Golden State, Denver, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah this upcoming week.
Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic have been a bit in the shadows due to the media attention that has been placed on both the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics who are without a doubt the two forces to reckon with in the Eastern Conference. At 35-21 for the season and 20-8 at home game, the Orlando Magic where in a serious need to break the losing streak they had been stuck in.
As a matter of fact, the Orlando Magic had not been able to win one of the last 8 games against teams with at least a .500 average during the season. And one can say without a doubt that this 89 to 75 win at home over the defending champions, the LA Lakers, is one of the most significant wins of the Magic so far this season.
On one side we have to acknowledge that the Lakers were certainly not having their best season ever. Let’s face it, the Lakers where far away from the team that last year played an epic battle against the Boston Celtics for the National Championship. Completing only 33 of 84 shots from the field and 2 of 16 (yes, just two of 16 attempts) from the 3-point line was enough to give the Lakers a whooping defeat.
Kobe Bryant had 17 points and 5 assists while Andrey Bynum closed the match with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Truth be said, that was no matchup for Dwight Howard and company who played an amazing game. Howard had 31 points and 13 rebounds and 3 assists. That was enough for Orlando to open up the gap and get six-point lead during halftime. And it will only get worse for the LA Lakers.
It seems as if finally, after many weeks since the Orlando Magic was able to make a couple of big-time changes to its rooster, that the Magic has a team capable of putting a fight among the Celtics and the Heat in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
By the middle of the third quarter the Orlando Magic had build a 56-47 lead and it was just too much for the Lakers to handle. Now, this is an important win for the Orlando Magic, but it means nothing unless they somehow manage to build up from this important result and keep on going with the momentum. They still have a good deal of complicated games ahead of them, and even though there is a good chance that the Magic would end up in the Playoffs, they must really improve their performance if they want to make their postseason run a bit longer then the usual.
Orlando made a comeback from a six-point home loss to New Orleans on Friday and managed to break a string of eight straight losses to teams with winning records. Since the Magic’s win at Dallas in early January, Orlando has not been able to win a game against teams with winning records. The Lakers on the other hand lost their 4 game winning-streak on the road. They will now have to face Charlotte tonight and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Everything that goes up must eventually come down. There is somewhat of a certain beauty when the big teams go down. It’s not just the disappointment of seeing a brilliant team lose its perfect season, or the fight of the underdog to play against the odds and pull off an impressive win. Yes, there is some sort beauty behind the fall of the perfect; perhaps it is something like the upside of failure.
And the Wisconsin Badgers now all about it. The crowd couldn’t resist much longer and stormed in the court as the home team was working its way up to defeat a No.1 ranked team for the first time since 1962. The Badgers put on one heck of a comeback on the second half to close on a 15-point margin to defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes by 71-67.
Playing the underdog is somewhat of an act of sheer faith. Yes, sometimes the spread is so significantly unbalanced that going for the little team is exciting and worth taking your chances. And yet there is a whole other approach when it comes to wagering on sports such as the College Hoops: playing against the team that is breaking all the records.
The Ohio State Buckeyes had had one phenomenal season this year, brining in not only the schools second best ever season starting winning streak. At 24-0 the Buckeyes had only one better record from the season kickoff and it came in 1960-61 when Ohio State went on for a 27-0 start. But then it all went south.
The man of the hour was no other then Jordan Taylor who in 13 minutes was capable of leading the Badgers into an impressive come from behind win over the best team in the Nation. Taylor scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half, working Wisconsin to keep the NCAA Division I basketball championship from having a perfect team since Indiana had its flawless season back in the 1975-76 season.
Taylor was the spark that started the 15-0 fire from the Badgers completing 8 straight points, including back to back three’s that really gave Wisconsin that special boost to build up enough momentum to hold back the Buckeyes desperate attempt for a comeback.
For those of you fond of stats and records, the Wisconsin Badgers have joined Florida as the only team to defeat the same No.1 team in the Nation on both NCAA football and NCAA basketball during the same academic year. As a matter of fact this is the first time that a NCAA team has defeated the No. 1 team in both football and basketball during the same season.
The Badgers have been a good team this season. Even though the squads numbers aren’t as impressive as most fans would like, at 19-5 overall and 9-3 in Big Ten conference play, the Badgers have been quite outstanding when playing at home. One must take into consideration that this is the Badgers 17th straight win at home. Wisconsin was sharp from the three point line, hitting 12 of 24 3 to really guide the team into the upset. But by the halftime break it sure didn’t look like the Badgers would be close after such a big deficit.
Taylor worked the Badgers momentum hitting a floater and two deep 3-pointers, then Wisconsin went on another 10-0 run at the end of the game to hold on to their advantage