Saturday, 7 July 2018
While watching Portugal vs Iran a tall, well-built gentleman stepped up to take a penalty and while waiting for the whistle to be blown, began fussing with his hair. "Why's he doing that," she asked while mimicking the hand motions. "His hair is already so short!" "Well that's Cristiano Ronaldo," i replied. After the match, checking social she remarked on how all of the chatter was about Ronaldo, or C-Ro as he is apparently known in some quarters even though he had done relatively little in the game. That's just how it is, I said.
The next night Argentina played Nigeria and rescued their tournament, at least temporarily, with a late stunner to win the match from Manchester United backup Marcos Rojo. After the match checking social again, I was asked, "Why is everyone talking about Messi? I thought the other guy scored the goal?" Well precisely. He's "the other guy". Messi is the star and that's just how it is.
With both players eliminated last Saturday - If everyone goes out, who will get in, as one netizen remarked - the attention online turned to Neymar - for more legitimate reasons with his influence and antics during Brazil's victory over Mexico. Already the #3 player in the world, he is the future of the sport. Why does it seem so obvious when there are other formidable goalscorers and creators out there though?
As talented as he, Messi and Ronaldo are, to climb above and stand out for their performance on the field of play there is a tremendous amount of propping up by the media that comes with it to elevate to that next level of stardom. I'm not for it. The constant fellating of LeBron James has driven me away from my usual sports talk radio havens over the summer. Conor McGregor receives the same level of myth making as did the newest UFC Hall of Fame inductee Ronda Rousey for a little while.
Where does the UFC find it's next star? The league is dying on its feet. It's not enough to have a big mouth and try and talk trash. The gimmick being run by the interim welterweight champion has failed. I really think for the aura to form around you can't be so obviously fake. Guys like Kamaru Usman and Max Holloway also strike me as being try-hard, too put on. Yet at the same time you need a little self delusion, to really believe that even with the transient nature of the sport that you are so far removed from the rest of your competition. The final element is that media help. The media has to ride your jock and bully people into thinking you're just that great. I think with that in mind the next man up is Darren Till, but that could all change very quickly.
Picks after the jump.