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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 21 February, 2019

Ronnie the Rocket, 200-pound roomies and Pele the fraud: It’s the week’s best sportswriting

There is also an article on classic football jerseys and a satirical piece on homophobia in rugby.

1. For those of you too young to remember him, do yourself a favour and google Johann Cruyff. Not only will you find footage of a gloriously gifted footballer, who even has the ‘Cruyff Turn’ named after him. You will also find details of a man with deep principles, a man who banished stattos and number crunchers at his beloved Ajax.

Soccer - World Cup West Germany 74 - Final - West Germany v Holland One of the classiest footballers of them all. Source: EMPICS Sport

A man who ripped down the poster at Barcelonas training ground which read, “players below this mark (5ft 10”), turn around”, thus sowing the seeds of creation for Xavi, Messi, and Iniesta to dazzle us with the now seen playing style of Barcelona.

One for the jersey nerds, like us. Neil Heard of Sabotage Times reveals his three favourite football jerseys and the stories behind them.

2. O’Sullivan, who is thirty-nine, loves the anonymity of running. About ten years ago, he discovered that it was one thing that truly takes him out of himself—more than the drink and the drugs and the antidepressants—and suspends the otherwise unavoidable fact that he is the most talented snooker player of all time.

Writing for the New Yorker, Sam Knight provides a superb portrait of snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan.

3. It’s one thing to share a house with a 6-foot-plus, 200-pound-plus NHL player suffering from what his team gently describes as “flu-like symptoms.” But it’s quite another to have to deal with two of them.

Both of Megan’s roommates had come home from work infected with some sort of superbug — “the norovirus,” is how she diagnosed it — that turned her serene home into a makeshift infectious diseases ward. One was her husband, Willie Mitchell, the 37-year-old captain of the Florida Panthers. The other was 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the promising young rookie she sometimes calls her son.

Katie Baker of Grantland details the intriguing tale of ‘The Roomies,’ NHL pair Aaron Ekblad and Willie Mitchell. 

Britain Soccer Pele London Is this guy a fraud? Source: AP/Press Association Images

4. Far be it for anyone to tell Pele that he can’t make money. Poverty sucks. Get paid. And when you’re done, get paid even more. The careers of athletes are generally short, and considering that Pele played when the game wasn’t remotely as profitable as it is now, no one can blame him for taking advantage of opportunities presented to him.

What we can do, though, is call him out for misrepresentation.

A headline like ‘Pele is a fraud‘ definitely needs to be backed up by a substantial argument, and SB Nation’s Zito Madu provides exactly that.

5. Seriously, what is wrong with these social justice warriors! It’s as though they can’t resist the impulse to stick their noses where they don’t belong.

First we had to pretend that it’s OK for girls to play sports, even though deep down we all know that ladies ain’t meant to sweat.

And what about all these black fellas running around our game these days, carrying on as though they’re the same as the rest of us. It’s disgusting.

And now, as if these injustices weren’t bad enough, we’ve got to pretend it’s acceptable for homosexuals to play footy. Enough is enough!

On the pages of The Roar, former Australia wing Clyde Rathbone offers a scathing piece of satire after David Pocock came under fire for highlight homophobic slurs in a Super Rugby game.

Athletics Preview Baseball Beane has linked up with AZ Alkmaar. Source: AP/Press Association Images

6. Beane is a self-confessed soccer nut who regularly gets up at 5am to watch Arsenal. He is a regular dinner companion of Liverpool owner John W Henry and has spent time with some of the best thinkers in football: Sir Alex Ferguson once drove from Manchester to London to meet him while he has talked about data and football for hours in the company of Arsene Wenger.

Writing for the Guardian, Ben Lyttleton explains why Billy Beane was right to avoid the Premier League and work with AZ Alkmaar instead.

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NFL eyes Germany, Mexico games, more in London

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