It’s always fun trying to explain European soccer to an American who has been raised solely on a diet of football and baseball. The concept of promotion and relegation is totally alien to them, as is the notion that one team can play in up to four different “league-type” competitions every season.
A mate of mine used to play in the NFL and we recently spent a whole lunch working through such matters before we arrived at the notion of international matches. The fact that a player could effectively be two-timing his main employer by also turning out for his country blew his mind.
I struggled to explain how those national teams would be made up and the only way he could get his head around it was to think of them as “All-Star” line-ups. FULL POST
With the first quarter of the NBA season behind us, a number of rookies are busy making a name for themselves in the world's top basketball league.
While many newcomers take a while to step up from college ball and develop into solid senior-level players, some make the leap with surprising ease – and it's not always the ones you'd expect to be such a success.
Here’s the best of a group of first-timers seeking to follow in the footsteps of past Rookies of the Year such as Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neale, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. FULL POST
One of Jesse Owens' Olympic gold medals sold for almost $1.5 million. Has there ever been a more symbolic piece of sports memorabilia?—
Don Riddell (@donriddellCNN) December 09, 2013
Argentina will lift the World Cup on July 13, 2014 - and the country's third triumph in football’s biggest tournament will be the sweetest of them all because it will come in the back yard of South American rivals and hosts Brazil.
Predicting the winner of a major sporting contest is a precarious business for a journalist at the best of times. We’re trained to report the facts, not interpret tea leaves or stare into a crystal ball.
The guessing game for a World Cup, even an educated one, is even harder when it’s done before the teams are drawn into groups – but that’s the task I’ve been given.
Better, then, to face it than live in fear of it. I’ve pinned my colors to Argentina’s mast because they have the will, the skill and the local knowledge to beat their rivals. FULL POST
Editor's note: CNN's The Circuit will screen a half-hour special on Sebastian Vettel at 1400 and 2130 Saturday Dec 7, 1030 Sunday Dec 8 and 0430 Monday Dec 9 (all times GMT).
I admit it, I was wrong.
I was one of those who didn’t like Sebastian Vettel, hadn’t really warmed to him. Yes, I admired his achievements - but the finger-pointing rankled, his standoffish approach to the media frustrated, and then of course there was the “Multi 21” incident when the German ignored team orders to overtake Mark Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
I viewed it as arrogance.
Maybe the success had gone to his head? I was most definitely camped in the Webber side of the Red Bull garage. But after a few weeks on the trail of the four-time Formula One world champion for this weekend's Circuit special, I’ve changed my tune.
After nearly 400 games, and over 300 goals, is Lionel Messi suffering from burn out?
I first met and interviewed Messi in December 2005, almost eight years ago.
I recall thinking, if reports of his phenomenal talent are even half true, this teenager could go on to enjoy a top-flight career spanning the best part of twenty years.
And so it’s transpired. Messi has scored an awful lot of goals.
But is that still the case? FULL POST