Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo’s inspiring half time speech revealed

1 Comment

This tale proves just how much of a leader Ronaldo is.

Stretchered off early on in the EURO 2016 final, Cristiano Ronaldo’s world came crashing down around him.

[ MORE: 3 things learned | Player ratings ]

He could’ve cried (he did, but more in pain and anguish than anything else) and felt sorry for himself but he showed yet another great moment of leadership as Portugal dug deep and beat France without him thanks to Eder‘s extra time goal.

Apparently Ronaldo gave a rousing team talk at half time of the game which inspired the Portuguese players to clinch the nations first-ever major trophy.

[ VIDEO: Young Portuguese fan consoles crying Frenchman

Southampton’s right back Cedric Soares spoke to ESPN after the game and revealed exactly what Ronaldo said to try and refocus his teammates following his untimely injury.

“It was a very tough moment,” Soares said. “I remember, for me and the team, everybody was a little bit in shock I think. In half time, Cristiano had fantastic words for us. He gave us a lot of confidence and said ‘listen people, I’m sure we will win, so stay together and fight for it.’ It was really unbelievable. I think all the team had a fantastic attitude. And we showed tonight when you fight as one you are much much stronger.”

“He had fantastic words for each player in each moment of the game … I’m really really happy to be part of this group and be champion.”

Ronaldo could also be seen marauding up and down the touchline during the game, barking orders at the players like a coach and kicking every ball as he hobbled around with his knee heavily bandaged. He wanted this trophy, big time.

His teammates, including longtime club teammate at Real Madrid, Pepe, spoke afterwards about how they wanted to win the trophy for Ronaldo.

Maybe that extra motivation to do it for the all-time leading goalscorer and appearance holder in Portuguese history pushed them over the line.

That, and probably the rousing half time speech by an emotional Ronaldo, seemed to do the job.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
Leave a comment

West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

Leave a comment

In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.