Tag Archives: Football

Ronaldo Rules Instagram!

Ronaldo Rules Instagram
Source: Sporting News

It’s a hard task, to encapsulate the popularity of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese soccer super star commands the respect and attention of millions of fans, many of those on Instagram, and literally competes with celebs and popstars in terms of followers. I don’t own an Instagram account. I’m not one for taking photos of my life only to showcase them to everyone to sell my vanity. It’s bad enough that I’m on Facebook, part of the social media spectrum, and something almost completely dedicated to self-worship.

Whatever the original intentions of social media was, it has gotten lost under a sea of commercial ventures and self-glorification. What’s interesting to note about something like Instagram is the manner in which it makes money. You see, when you download and join these apps “for free”, you waver certain rights. One of those rights is in fact the rights to your pictures. Let me put this another way; if one of your pictures taken via Instagram ever appears on a billboard in China advertising washing powder, you’re not the one who will be getting paid.

People like Ronaldo are commercial gold to a company like Instagram who pays the star a whopping £308 000 by way of sponsored photos. He’s the highest paid soccer player on this forum but not the highest paid of the lot. No, that position belongs to Kylie Jenner and pop queen herself – Selena Gomez, follows her.

The Fanaticism of the Fans

Zealots, fundamentalists – fans. These are the followers; those dedicated to their sports and celebrity idols. Okay look, this is a vast and gross exaggeration. I’m quite sure that many of the so-called fans lead very normal lives and are simply harnessing the perks of technology. Although having said this, think about this: when Ronaldo was at Real Madrid, the team had an Instagram following of 120 million. After his transfer to Juventus was announced, they dropped to 60 million! One team member, I say gain, one team member, was responsible for half of the team’s following!  Then there’s the fact that this epic drop in numbers happened within 1 hour of Ronaldo being sold. There’s no discounting the power that this guy wields. However, if we were to look at the leader board, then he is trumped, although only by two stars, namely Kylie Jenner and the brand itself that makes all this ridiculous fandom possible – Instagram.

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From Madrid to Juventus: The Numbers

Ronaldo’s move to Juventus was apparently the result of a dispute with Madrid president Florentino Perez over a new contract, something to be expected when you consider that Lionel Messi and Neymar are both leading him as far as player salaries are concerned. In terms of dollars, he walks away with $64 million, $2 million short of what he would have earned had he stayed with Real. However, the man is a walking economy and tops all his peers when it comes to endorsement deals. Annually he makes $47 million from his numerous ties and affiliations. Still, this writer believes it’s somewhat of a strange moves when you consider that Juventus comes in at 9th place on Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable soccer teams. Italy does however have a top tax rate and this to my mind says that in the future, Ronaldo will cream it when it comes to his net profits. In conjunction with his endorsements, this will make him the world’s second highest paid soccer player. His departure from Real Madrid is the end of an era. He is their all-time leading goal scorer and if fortune favours him as it has thus far, he will bestow this talent on Juventus.

A football-shaped diamond for the World Cup

diamond for the World Cup
Source: Pixabay

Something unusual happened just before the 2018 World Cup quarter final match between Russia and Croatia. Russian mining group, ALROSA, unearthed a 0.50 carat, black and white diamond from the northern Arkhangelsk Region, which coincidentally, looked just like a soccer ball. Nature is famous for creating whimsical shapes, but this is the first time a football-shaped diamond has ever been found. That it happened during the beautiful game’s ultimate tournament, just before a critical match that the host country was playing in, was viewed by some as simply fortuitous, but by many others, as a good omen.

Good omens and exciting competitions

Of course, Russia did not end up winning their quarter final match. Instead, Croatia emerged as the victor in this game, as well as their subsequent semi-final showdown against England, before succumbing to France in the final. Nevertheless, Russia’s hosting of the event, for which ALROSA was one of the main sponsors, was widely regarded as a triumph, and the unearthing of the football-shaped diamond one of the tournament’s many happy stories. ALROSA even went ahead with launching a special football collection of 32 rough-size diamonds, with each precious stone representing a country that took part in the World Cup. In addition, fans were given the opportunity to choose a “football name” for a 76.53 carat stone, which would become the focus of the collection. In the end, two winners were chosen and given tickets to the final – their suggestions were “Lev Yashin”, in tribute to the popular Soviet-era goalkeeper, and “Brilliant Moment”. But, because Yashin was considered a national treasure, ALROSA decided to give his name to another 69.7 carat diamond, which was mined at the Jubilee pipe and not intended for auction.

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Since forever ago

While it seems apt that a diamond shaped like a soccer ball, discovered during the World Cup, would capture the minds and hearts of fans from around the world, the fact is that diamonds have been part of the collective consciousness for centuries now.

First unearthed in India in the 4th century BC, diamonds have gone on to play momentous roles in wars, betrayals, unions, marriages, inheritances, economies, and more. As for how they naturally form, it’s in a multitude of ways – the most significant being, under the pressure and heat of the Earth’s gravity, 100 miles below the surface at the mantle, near the molten core. Volcanic pipes then proceed to transport these valuable minerals closer to the surface, where they are mined. But that’s not the only way they are created.

Diamonds can also form in the midst of a cosmic collision between an asteroid and Earth, which incidentally brings us back to Russia: they claim to have a deposit of diamonds that was formed as a result of a crash 35 million years ago. Diamonds created in this way are unlikely to have gemstone qualities, but because of their strength can be used for industrial purposes, like cutting.

Gifts from the gods

Meteorites are also known to bring diamonds, and scientists have proposed that the massive stones found as a result, could only have formed within another planet that was demolished during the early stages of the solar system. In ancient times, diamonds were considered to be gifts from the gods, which would bring wealth, health and strength to the wearer – think about those meteorites transporting diamonds to Earth and the idea doesn’t seem so fanciful.

Presently, we continue to assign similar philosophies to diamonds, even though we know how they’re formed. As a result, diamonds are still very much a part of our popular culture – for example, they’re even subjects of online casino games at Spin Palace. Moreover, as a legacy of 2018’s World Cup in Russia, and as enduring symbols of wealth and success, we suspect they will continue to do so for years to come. After all, diamonds are forever!

Spanish Authorities Arrest 1st Pro Footballer for Match Fixing

Jorge Morcillo involved in match fixing
Source: Diario AS

Segunda star and Almería captain Jorge Morcillo is a man who is used to seeing his name in the newspapers. The central defender has led his team to many a victory and a few disappointments since joining the side in 2015. Now, Morcillio is back in the news, this time for being the first Spanish player in the Primera or Segunda division to be arrested on charges of match fixing.

Morcillo was just about to board a plane to Italy for a short holiday when police arrested him in connection with suspected illegal betting activities and alleged match fixing. Morcillo was just one of 19 people arrested in the “Operation Cortes” sting which was put together to look into the unlawful practice of match fixing in Spanish football. It is believed that Morillo was involved in rigging a game between the Andalusian side and Gimnastic back in January.

Why Mocillo Was Arrested

While he did not play in the match himself, he was said to have orchestrated the one-all draw. According to popular betting site Federbet, they began to have suspicions about match fixing when an abnormal number of bets were placed on the results of Segunda match shortly before kick-off. Other Almería games have also come into the spotlight including the Almería-Nàstic de Tarragona played at the Mediterranean Games Stadium in January. Police are looking into the strange pattern of online betting on all previous Almería games. If it does come to light that match fixing was an issue and that the games were rigged, many bettors are sure to want to stick to playing Blackjack in the future, as at least then, the results cannot be rigged!

If he is found guilty, Jorge will face criminal charges with heavy fines and possibly jail time. While the scandal has rocked the Spanish football community, this is the not the first time a football player has been in the spotlight for match fixing.

How Match Fixing Works

For those who are unsure of how it works, match fixing involves persuading a team or individual to “throw” a game so that prospective bettors can be sure of the results. Players are paid out a cash sum for rigging the match while the online betting syndicate profits from placing thousands of dollars in bets.

The match fixing system is usually initiated by a betting ring that approaches key players like the captain or strikers. They offer the player or the team a certain cash sum to ensure they do not score or allow their defence to get sloppy. If the result goes the right way, the bettors are paid handsomely from the online betting sites and the players get an extra cash boost.

Needless to say, the practise is completely illegal but quite prevalent in the world of sport. Just about every sport from soccer to cricket, American football to ice hockey, tennis and even eSports has seen its share of match fixing scandals. Recently six English football players were arrested in connection with fixing matches in British lower league football matches.

Who Benefits?

According to the police, it is easier for bettors to approach the lower league teams, as they are more susceptible to bribery as their salaries are lower. The matches also remain out of the spotlight and results tend to be ignored. It is the betting sites that tip off the police when the see an abnormal number of wagers placed on “less important” games. Every time there is unusual behaviour in the market, this sends up a red flag and must be looked at in relation to past games.

This same pattern is seen across all of the sports. The people who instigate the match fixing are part of large betting syndicates with millions of dollars ready to be used for wagers that can guaranteed a profit. While most sports are regulated and kept within the confines of fair and competitive activities, the rise of online betting has meant that there are more opportunities for illegal activities to take place, and that those who want to rig the system have greater opportunities to do so.