Monday, April 29, 2013

Messi Vs Ronaldo

It is the question in every football fan's mind. It is one of the most mind boggling queries of all time. As a matter of fact, it is right up there with, "Is the world coming to an end in 2012?" But sadly, it is a question that sorely misses a unanimous answer. The question is "Who is a better football player, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? When the great football team giants like the Barcelona and the Real Madrid collide, the real battle takes place between its respective titans- Messi and Ronaldo. To come nearer to an accurate answer, one must take a closer look at the lives, accomplishments, statistics and setbacks of both the players.

Let us start with the Portuguese forward and the Real Madrid player- Ronaldo. He hails from a small town, south of Portugal and became an accomplished football player by the time he turned a teenager. He has previously played with the other Premier League heavy weights such as Liverpool and the Manchester United. He constantly strived and pushed himself to the limits to live up to his idols such as David Beckham and George Best. He has amassed an astounding number of titles and awards in his time, which include PFA Player of the year, World Soccer Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.

Messi, in all manner of speaking, is Ronaldo's Argentinian counterpart. He is Barcelon's defender and the captain of the Argentina national team. He was the winner of the prestigious Ballon d'Or in 2009. Lional Messi's profile is cluttered with plaudits the likes of which include, FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFA Ballon d'Or and the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He also has an Olympic gold to show for his victory in 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2005, Messi was the top scorer of the FIFA World Youth Championship.

When compared to Ronaldo, Lionel Messi's statistics are not even a bit further behind. They stand neck to neck when it comes to skills, goals scored, remuneration and worldwide stardom. In 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo became the world's most expensive player when he signed with Real Madrid for a fee of Dollar 131 million. That record was beaten by Messi when he recently renewed his contract with Barcelona at Euro 27.5 million. This has caused Ronaldo a great deal of frustration who in turn has retorted with threats that he would leave Real Madrid, unless and until he is compensated handsomely.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo, Beyond Football

Football stars are just more that goal scoring machines. They have a life outside of the field. More than a 'Football player of the month, they are a father or a brother or a son and even more a human being with idiosyncrasies to claim their own. Here we probe into Cristiano Ronaldo profile is very popular and highlight some 'must-be-aware-about' interesting and striking facts and trivia about the football legend.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo full name is actually Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro. He was named after famous actor and U.S. President- Ronald Reagan.

2. He was called a 'cry baby' when he was a child. Apparently he used to cry every time he passed the ball and his friends couldn't score.

3. Along with the 'cry baby', he had another silly title he went by- 'Little bee'; Cristiano Ronaldo was named so because no one could catch up to him.

4. As a teenager, for one of his training techniques, he used weights on his feet while playing with the ball. This was aimed at making his movement faster.

5. He was initially signed on with Liverpool who didn't think much of him then. He was signed to Manchester United by Alex Ferguson who was quoted as saying "At half-time I knew I had to sign this boy. He was sensational."

6. While playing for Manchester United he used to wear the Number 7 shirt, which was previously worn by David Beckham, one of his idols.

7. His father was a victim of alcohol abuse which persuaded Ronaldo to swear of alcohol for good. But Cristiano Ronaldo has been known to consume gin and juice at times.

8. In 2012, he was voted as the sexiest athlete by the People Magazine.

9. His on field prowess combined with his good looks have earned him many an endorsement deal with brands such as Armani and Nike.

10. He is a fashion aficionado and has his own boutique, named CR7, in Portugal, run by his two sisters.

11. Ronaldo has been inducted into the 'wax' hall of fame when he had his statue erected at the famous Madame Toussauds in London.

12. He has been a tagged a 'Ladies Man' and has been linked to Hollywood socialites such as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.

13. Cristiano Ronaldo statistics are so impressive, that even the player admits that he is the best.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Football Doesn't Have To Be So Brutal

Brutal and vicious are two words I'd use to describe football during the 2012 season. I've been a player and fan of football all my life. The game has changed, and not in a good way. Let me take you back to 1957 to illustrate my point.

The defensive tackle hit me in the nose on my first play as an offensive tackle in college. He did the same on the next play. Wiping the blood on my jersey, I thought, "This is going to be a long afternoon unless I do something about this guy hitting my nose." On the next play I dropped back to pass block. Dropping my right shoulder as an invitation for my opponent to rush past me, I unloaded my elbow into his face. He collapsed to his knees. Looking me in the eye we both nodded, and from then on, we played a clean game.

I mention this because at that time we didn't have the protection of full face masks on our helmets. We learned to block and tackle with our shoulders; keeping our faces out of the way.

Playing in high school in the early 50s, we didn't have any face masks at all. My senior year our coach bought one face mask for our star back, Roger Mahnke. He used it for one game. At the end of that game, Roger's face was scratched up by the defensive players reaching in to pull him down with the mask. It had proven to be a convenient handle for them in trying to tackle this big, fast running back.

The next year, my first season in college, the no grasping the face mask rule was instituted, and we all had a single bar on our helmets. Later a second bar was added.

Early in the 1960s, Life Magazine published a photo of the Norte Dame football line showing every player with front teeth missing. This was followed by a public outcry that football players needed better protection for their faces. The reaction was the advent of the full face mask.

Monday, April 15, 2013

El Clasico - The Best Football Match Ever

El Clásico is the name given to any football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Some editor use the name Super Clasico as well. Another one use Super Clasico, only for competition final games between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. It is described as more than a match, because it is not only FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid. The rivalry starts as about Barcelona and Madrid are the two biggest cities in Spain, the two football clubs are two of the richest, most successful and influential football clubs, not only in Spain, but all over the world.

Apart from this, the rivalry also has political significance. Through the years Barcelona had the reputation as a symbol of Catalan pride, traditions and identity, against the centralising tendencies of Madrid. In El Clasico the whites are representing Spanish nationalism, while Barcelona representing the Catalanism. Madridists were under the protection of Franco's dictatorship. Barcelona was resentful because Franco made it illegal to speak Catalan, even arrested and executed Barcelona president Josep Sunyol(also a member of the Republican Left of Catalonia and Deputy to The Cortes) without a trial.

The first ever El Clásico was played on 13 May 1902. It was played for Copa de la Coronación, the forerunner of the Copa del Rey, but the Spanish Football Assosiation does not recognize the competition as official. Barcelona had won the game 3-1. There are 221 official Barcelona vs Real games.The whites leads with 88 wins, Barcelona 86 and 47 draws. Barcelona had score 358 goals, against 372 for Real in Clasicos.

5 Players Kansas City Should Consider With the Number One Pick

There are a few approaches Kansas City could make with the first pick of the 2013 draft. They could look to try and find an instant fix at a position of need or simply draft the best player on the board. Here are a few players they might consider for the number one overall pick.

• Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M- Joeckel is clearly the best player available in the 2013 NFL Draft. The left tackle spent all last year protecting Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel, and has all the things you look for in an offensive tackle. He is athletic, fluid with his feet, powerful and polished. Joeckel is a day 1 starter in Kansas City even if they did decide to re-sign free agent tackle Branden Albert.

• Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia- Smith is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, but he certainly possesses enough talent to be a quality quarterback in the league. His play last year leads many to believe he will slip in the draft, but he is an athletic quarterback who can make all the throws from the pocket. He is smart and can move to extend a play when he needs to, all the things Michael Vick did for Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Don't be surprised if Andy, the quarterback guru, Reid drafts Geno Smith at number 1.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Field Goal Kicking Tips

When I was learning to kick footballs as a youngster, I searched high and low for someone who could help with field goal kicking tips.

Of course, I could watch field goal kickers perform on the television during the fall, but that wasn't enough to get a decent grasp on the new skill I was trying to develop.

As a long time soccer player, I had enough instinct to know what felt 'right' when it came to kicking a football for the first time. I knew what part of the foot I used to kick a soccer ball and assumed I'd use the same for a football.

However, the first and only reliable kicker in my town that I could ask for advice had been a toe ball or 'straight-on' kicker! His advice, though well intentioned, was not suited for my kicking style formed from years of playing soccer.

So, what exactly is the difference between a soccer style kicker and that of the traditional toe ball kicker?

Primarily, the difference lies in the way is the way the ball is struck by the field goal kicker. That is, it has to do with the part of the foot used to kick the football.

How to Perform a Kickoff in 7 Steps

The first step is a pretty obvious one; you need to place the ball on the kickoff tee. Easy enough, right? When you set it up on the tee, you want to make sure that the ball is relatively straight up and down; you do not want much of an incline. If you have the ball straight up, there is a better chance that you will get height on your kick as well as distance. If you set the ball down with an incline, you may get more power behind the kick, but the kick will end up being a line drive, which may be fine for a field goal, but on a kickoff you want more of a loft. There should not be much of a problem getting the ball to stay unless there is a strong wind.

The second step is to take your steps, which you should have prepared before you go to do the actual kickoff. Starting with your plant foot next to the ball, take a certain amount of steps back and to a side so that you can feel comfortable and build up power approaching the ball. Personally, being a lefty I choose to take nine steps back and 5 steps to the right. A righty should obviously be taking their steps to the left after the steps back. The steps you will be taking are not normal walking steps; you want to extend your strides for the steps a little because when you approach the ball you will almost be at a run, which are longer strides than walking. Once you think you have the right steps for you, make sure that you can approach the ball with your steps intact. Meaning you can approach the ball fluidly and have your steps end with your plant foot right beside the ball.

Once you have your steps ready and you are back waiting to kick, you become the coach of the field. It is your responsibility to look around at your teammates on the field and address anything that needs to be corrected. The third step of a kickoff is to make sure everyone is in the right place and your team is ready for the kick. Examples of this could be making sure that everyone on your kick off team is onsides, making sure you have the correct amount of people on the field, and making sure everyone is on the side of the field that they are supposed to be on (to the left and right of you). Failing to recognize any of these could lead to a penalty against your team, and needless to say this is not the goal. The final part of this process is somewhat optional, some teams do it and some do not, but when everyone is lined up and appears to be ready, you will look to your right and scream "ready on the right?" and then look to your left and scream "ready on the left?", this lets them know that it is show time.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

How the Spread Option Is Changing College and Professional Football

The spread option exploded onto the scene of college and NFL football this season after a few years of fits and starts. With the rise of Johnny Football from Texas A&M in the NCAA, and the emergence of Colin Kaepernick for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL, the spread option, or read option as it is sometimes called, has become one of the most difficult offensive plays to defend against.

The Green Bay Packers have reportedly begun researching how to run and defend against the read option, according to ESPN. The Packers were eliminated from the playoffs by the 49ers, whose quarterback Colin Kaepernick set NFL playoff records for rushing. The 45-31 final score could have cost Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers his job, but the coaching staff decided to keep him and send him to Texas A&M to learn more about the offensive scheme.

While the read option did not originate at Texas A&M, they have developed it into one of the most potent offensive forces in college football. Behind the leadership of Johnny "Football" Manziel, the Texas A&M Aggies lost just two games early in the 2012-2013 season. They upset the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, and ran all over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl. Manziel set NCAA and SEC records, while winning the Heisman Trophy.

Johnny Football wasn't the first to run the spread option, but is arguably the best at it. Tim Tebow was famous for it at Florida, while Cam Newton has been running and throwing for the Carolina Panthers since entering the NFL.

With this year's NFL Draft class, two more rookies came into the league that can run the option, with devastating results. The Seattle Seahawks scored 150 points over three regular season games and won a playoff game with Russell Wilson running the offense, and the Washington Redskins made it to the playoffs after a 3-6 start to the season behind rookie phenom Robert Griffin III, before Griffin went out with a torn ACL after suffering a knee strain.