Hours after Spain's new monarch ascended to one throne, the kings of football - the Spanish nation's pride and joy - were being knocked off theirs.
And while I agree with those citing tiredness as a cause, I think any fatigue was more in the mind than the body.
You only had to look at the demeanor of goalkeeper Iker Casillas to see he was suffering from the sporting equivalent of post-traumatic stress; shellshock brought on by the explosive nature of conceding five goals against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup winners' opening game. FULL POST
After the tumult of the trophy lift, as the Real Madrid players frolicked on the Stadium of Light's pitch, the eye was drawn towards Sergio Ramos.
Using a large silk flag as a matador's cloak, he drew loud blasts of "Ole" from the crowd with every swish of the cloth. There was no bull in sight but a beast had been slain; an imaginary one, given tremendous bulk by the club's fervent desire for "La Decima."
With a record-extending 10th European Cup secured, the removal of that burdensome weight helped propel the buoyant celebrations of everyone associated with the tournament's most successful ever team. FULL POST
It’s his way. Or no way.
Simply put, Louis van Gaal doesn't suffer fools gladly - and as Manchester United’s star-studded squad is about to find out, no-one’s immune!
The Dutchman’s appointment as manager on Monday truly marks the end of the glorious Alex Ferguson era. Never again will we see that kind of longevity or continuity. Ferguson had ruled Britain's biggest club with a rod of iron from 1986 to 2013, winning everything in sight including 13 English Premier League titles and two European Champions League crowns. FULL POST
So much has been said and written about Neymar Jr, the 22-year-old from Santos being billed as the next Pele – particularly since his controversial move to Barcelona, it's difficult not to head into an interview with preconceptions.
Big money move and below-par form aside, he's one of the most photographed footballers of the moment, he was named the most marketable footballer on the planet by Sportspro and he has the haircut and model girlfriend to boot.
I'm pleased to say I'm not so long in the tooth that I don't get excited by sitting down to interview star footballers like Neymar. But there can be a certain amount of "take a deep breath, here it goes" ahead of sitting down with some of the current generation.
With the out-of-touch, overpaid, media-trained-within-an-inch-of-their-lives types, it can be a challenge. FULL POST
The Chinese calendar says it's the year of the horse. Some commentators were convinced it was going to be the year of the prancing horse when Kimi Raikkonen joined Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.
But they were wrong, 2014 is the year of Mercedes.
After a clean sweep of wins for the Silver Arrows in the first three races of the season, next up it's the Chinese Grand Prix.
The venue, the Shanghai International Circuit, is known as something of an engineering marvel - built on 40,000 concrete pillars to stop it sinking into the marshland.
But the circuit won't be the only spectacular feat of engineering on display this weekend. FULL POST
For British football fans in the spring of 1989, it was our JFK moment.
Every one of us remembers exactly where we were and what we were doing on April 15, when we learned that over 90 Liverpool supporters had been crushed to death at an FA Cup semifinal. Along with many others across the country, I was listening to the game on the radio, quickly switching on the television to watch a disaster unfold in front of me.
This was a time before the Premier League, before the massive investment in all-seater stadia; football was very different back then.
Anyone who'd stood on a terrace and been herded like cattle into and out of a stadium could relate to what those fans must have gone through. Most of the time, standing behind the goal at a first division game was a lot of fun, the crowd ebbed and flowed with the action on the field, a crowd that was a vibrant, living entity and you were thrilled to be a part of it. FULL POST
Sitting in block 225 of the South Stand at Old Trafford last Tuesday, just to the right of the bench and beneath the press box, my eyes were drawn to the banner that proudly hangs on the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.
It reads “The Impossible Dream, Made Possible”. It’s a banner paying tribute to the former Manchester United manager and the ridiculous number of trophies he helped bring to the club - most notably 13 English Premier League titles and two European Champions League triumphs.
But seeing that banner while watching the post-Ferguson United take on the might of European champions Bayern Munich in a Champions League quarterfinal first leg – it made me chuckle. FULL POST
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews should be admired for many reasons but not for finally asking its members to admit women after 260 years.
Seen as golf’s spiritual home, St Andrews is urging its 2,500 members to vote in favor of abolishing its men-only policy and a vote on the issue will be held in September.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s certainly the right decision. By all means say, “Congratulations and welcome to the 21st century” but the announcement seems to be motivated by self-interest more than a sudden enlightenment of the men who run the club. FULL POST
Having looked at both American Football and basketball’s plans to grow their markets beyond the U.S., my hunch is we should see an NFL team based overseas before an NBA franchise.
However, I would not be surprised if neither league actually moves a side to foreign soil, even though global expansion is viewed as essential to growing their respective businesses.
The view of the NFL as a global sport is accentuated during Super Bowl week. The clash between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos is expected to attract more than 2013’s worldwide audience of 111.3 million viewers. FULL POST
In the last few weeks we've had suicide bombers in Volgograd killing more than 34 people, and Islamic militants promising a "present" to organizers and visitors to Sochi in February.
At least five Olympic committees have received letters in Russian making “a terrorist threat” before the Winter Games, and security forces are hunting a woman suspected of planning a suicide bombing who is believed to already be in Sochi.
For any journalist covering a major event like this, the experience should be about reporting mind-boggling feats of skill and endurance. But Sochi feels different and I’m sure many – be they athletes or journalists – will travel to the Black Sea resort with feelings of trepidation. FULL POST