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Neymar joins Messi and Ronaldo in Kazan mural club

KAZAN, Russia: It has been a busy World Cup for Kazan’s mural artists and in the early hours of Thursday morning they were back at work again painting the face of Neymar on a wall behind the Brazil team hotel. The Brazil forward, in Kazan for Friday’s quarter-final against Belgium, is the third footballer to receive the honor with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi having already been immortalized on the city walls. While the images of Ronaldo and Messi were cheek-by-jowl near the Ramada Hotel…

Ronaldo defends Neymar as English also accused of diving

SOCHI: Former Brazil striker Ronaldo came out in support of his countryman Neymar on Wednesday as criticism mounted against the pundits who have condemned his diving but ignored the fakery of other players. Neymar has been slated, especially in Britain, for diving, rolling and exaggerating fouls. Mexican coach Juan Carlos Osorio made a reference to “too much acting” and former internationals Alan Shearer, Pat Nevin, Peter Schmeichel and Eric Cantona were among those who criticised Neymar’s theatrics during the first…

Uruguay beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in World Cup last 16

SOCHI: Edinson Cavani scored twice as Uruguay shattered Cristiano Ronaldo's World Cup dream with a 2-1 victory over Portugal here Saturday. Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani curled home a superb 62nd-minute winner to settle a thrilling second round duel in Sochi which sends Uruguay into a quarter-final against France next Friday. Cavani had already put Uruguay in front early on, only for Pepe to head Portugal level in the 55th minute in a thrilling contest that was not the battle of attrition many predicted.…

Messi and Ronaldo take centre stage as World Cup enters knockouts

MOSCOW: The world's two greatest players roar into the knockout stage of the World Cup on Saturday, with Lionel Messi's Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal targeting a place in the quarter-finals. Argentina, the beaten finalists four years ago, escaped by the skin of their teeth after a ragged group phase and will rely heavily on Messi when their ageing team face France in Kazan at 1400 GMT. The French, armed with Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and wonder kid Kylian Mbappe have failed to fire the imagination so…

‘Portugal much more than just Ronaldo’

SOCHI: Portugal coach Fernando Santos once again stressed the importance of his other 22 players around main man Cristiano Ronaldo as they prepare to face Uruguay in the World Cup last 16 on Saturday. When the inevitable question about Portugal’s record goal-scorer Ronaldo came, the 63-year-old’s face broke into a grin. “I just got another free coffee, because I bet on this question! I get the coffee. Thank you for the question,” he told a news conference. “Everybody knows that any team in the world depends on its…

Ronaldo in need of Portugal supporting cast to perform

Cristiano Ronaldo’s off-night against Iran nearly cost Portugal their World Cup dream and underlined the stark need for his team-mates to contribute more in support of the Real Madrid superstar. Ronaldo carried Portugal through their first two group games, hitting a memorable hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Spain before netting the winner in a gritty 1-0 victory over Morocco. That left the European champions requiring just a point from their clash with Carlos Queiroz’s Iran in Saransk, but an uncharacteristic display from…

Neymar’s tears worry nervous Brazilians

Brazilians watched their team's excruciatingly hard-fought win Friday over minnow Costa Rica in a cold sweat but it was Neymar's hot tears that really made the footballing-mad nation sit up. Neymar crying brazil vs Costa Rica HD pic.twitter.com/7joAdTA4Lg — 2018 WC highlights (@Wc_highlights_) June 22, 2018 "Neymar's crying is the big news," declared the Blog do Menon on the leading UOL Esporte website. The world's most expensive footballer had just scored the second of Brazil's two extra-time goals, finally…

In-form Ronaldo has Messi in his sights

MADRID: After an uncharacteristically slow start to the season which provoked questions about his longevity, Cristiano Ronaldo has roared back to life with a torrent of goals and now has La Liga’s top scorer award in his sights. On a weekend to savour for strikers around Europe, Ronaldo followed the lead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi by plundering four goals in his side’s thrilling 6-3 win over Girona on Sunday. His goal-fest against Girona lifted Ronaldo above Barcelona’s Luis Suarez as…

Zidane hails selfless Ronaldo

MADRID: Real coach Zinedine Zidane hailed Cristiano Ronaldo's selflessness after the forward gave up the chance of a hat-trick by allowing Karim Benzema to take a late penalty in Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of Alaves. Zidane restored Gareth Bale to the starting XI to reunite the 'BBC' front line of the Welshman, Ronaldo and Benzema, and all three scored in a confident display at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo, whose first goal was created by a magnificent Benzema flick, stood aside in the 89th minute to allow the…

Ronaldo v Neymar as Real draw PSG in Champions League

NYON, Switzerland: Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid stand in the way of Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain after the big-spending duo were drawn together in a mouth-watering Champions League last-16 clash on Monday. Two-time defending champions Madrid are looking to become the first club since Bayern Munich in the mid-1970s to win the European Cup three years running, with this season's final in Kiev in May. After finishing second in their group to Tottenham Hotspur, Zinedine Zidane's side were one of the teams that PSG --…