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World Cup diary - Ronaldo meets Mandela

Published: 11 Jun 2010 - 06:37:17

Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Queiroz visited former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela at his home in Johannesburg yesterday, presenting the 91-year-old with a shirt bearing his name and age.

"As result of a personal invitation from the former South African leader to visit him at his home in Johannesburg, they (Ronaldo and Queiroz) had the chance talk to him," read a statement from the Portuguese Football Federation.

Ronaldo will need more than a shirt, a nod and a wink to get his hands on the World Cup this summer.

PELE BACKS SPAIN...AND BRAZIL

As the opening day of World Cup 2010 dawns, Brazilian Pele has delved deep into his football database - and predicted either Spain or his native Brazil to win the competition.

"Spain and Brazil have the best teams, but it is difficult to point to a specific team as a favourite".

The man oft described as the best footballer ever, also had his FIFA diplomat's hat on, quelling recent criticism of facilities and organisation of this summer's event: "It will be a good tournament, well organised and very exciting."

PRIZES GALORE

- Play World Cup predictor
- Play World Cup fantasy football
- Win a signed England shirt

WE CAN WIN WITHOUT WAYNE - HURST

England's World Cup-winning former striker Sir Geoff Hurst says we don't need Wayne Rooney to banish 44 years of hurt.

"We won the World Cup in '66 without Wayne's equivalent, in fact better than Wayne, Jimmy Greaves. Jimmy Greaves played 57 games for England and scored 44 goals," said Hurst.

In fact, that was quite a veiled compliment you just paid yourself, Geoffrey, as we all know who replaced Mr Greaves, don't we? "Having said that, I think it would be quite inconceivable that we could win the World Cup without Wayne Rooney playing up front."

VUVUZELA DANGER

In a rather officious statement, one London doctor has claimed the vuvuzela is responsible for the direct spreading of cold and flu germs. Dr Ruth McNerney says those seated near one of these popular instruments at the World Cup could easily intercept airborne germs, leading to infection and subsequent illness.

Cue Facebook groups to ban the trumpet?

MANSOURI DROPPED

Algerian captain Yazid Mansouri has been dropped by coach Rabah Saadane for his team's World Cup opener against Group C rivals Slovenia on Sunday, due to poor form. The veteran midfielder trained as expected at the team base near Durban on Thursday, but did not speak to reporters afterwards.

GREECE MY PALMS

Three Greece players have had money stolen from their hotel rooms, police have said. Lt. Colonel Leon Engelbrecht announced on Thursday that EUR 1,600 had been reported stolen on Tuesday night, from their rooms at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga, north of Durban.

The players remain unnamed. The Greek squad declined to open a case for the theft. Hours later, three foreign sports journalists were robbed at their hotel in Magaliesburg, North-west South Africa. Money, camera equipment, laptop computers and mobile phones were taken.

MESSI AT 80%...STILL PRETTY GOOD

Lionel Messi's chances of a dream World Cup performance have been dashed by fatigue, according to Argentina fitness coach Fernando Signorini.

"He has arrived at the World Cup tired, the damage is already done and it's irreversible."

Put into perspective, Lionel Messi at 80% will still be able to toddle the ball around most defences.

WENGER BACKS WIZARDS OF OZ

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted at a close game between Australia and Germany in Group D: "If I was the national team coach of Germany and I had to play Australia, I wouldn't sleep well," said Wenger.

Perhaps wearing those famous blinkered spectacles to bed would do the trick, Arsene?

ECO SHIRTS

Players from nine teams competing at the World Cup will don eco-friendly shirts made from recycled bottles. Brazil and Holland are amongst the teams sporting the 13% lighter apparel, which allows sweat to dissolve quicker than standard materials. Which begs the question, what are the pants made out of?

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Tom Littlefield
Seen as the heir apparent to Jan Molby until an underactive thyroid gland curtailed this youngster’s development, Tom Littlefield will now concentrate on making a “big pitch” (pun) during South Africa 2010. As Barnet’s staunchest Gooner, he is well placed to judge good football. So, while the England team provides your compulsory tournament displeasure, Tom will look to rouse your enthusiasm for the beautiful game (and WAGS) in the oasis of oratory that is his World Cup Diary.

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