Monthly Archives: September 2013

Drake Named Toronto Raptors Global Ambassador

The Toronto Raptors have named Drake their Global Ambassador at a presentation announcing Toronto will host the 2016 NBA All Star game. Drake will consult with the team for branding and help host the NBA All Star game in 2016. The Raptors will keep their name but Drake will help with their new logo and vision. Drake stated, “I’m extremely excited to finally be part of a team I grew up a die hard fan of, I’m excited for the new vision.” The Raptors new look should debut in two years.

The Toronto Star reports “The hip-hop star will also launch a clothing line in conjunction with the team. Most intriguingly, he is being asked to consult on a complete redesign of the club’s image to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the franchise in the 2014-15 season.”

According to sources at MLSE, everything about the team is on the table . . . aside from the name. Give up your Huskies dreams. MLSE and Drake are sticking with dinosaurs.

Going forward, this will be more than a business arrangement. It would be wrong to call what comes next a renaissance. That would imply that the Raptors have a legacy to build on. After 18 years, all they have is one playoff series win and Vinsanity to draw from. That’s it.

It’s within Drake’s power to change that. The template is the Brooklyn Nets.

A terrible franchise marooned in a city no one in the NBA wanted to go to. It was the sort of team good players left. This will sound familiar to you.

The Top 10: Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings 2013

Zack O’Malley Greenburg breaks down the earnings of rap’s most successful artists.

Robert Lewandowski Confirms Bayern Munich Switch

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The Pep Guardiola era is well under way at Bayern Munich, picking up from where Juup Heynckes left off may prove to be a harder feat for some but then again, challenges such as this is what puts Pep Guardiola higher than most on the managerial spectrum. His signing of Mario Gotze from closest adversaries Borussia Dortmund seemed to signify a no remorse attitude at Bayern Munich, taking away his closest rivals most valuable asset. And the Spaniard has struck gold again by signing yet another of Jurgen Klopp’s star men, this time Robert Lewandowski, arguably the most clinical number 9 in world football today.

The Pole whose contract runs out at the end of the season confirmed the move yesterday after being questioned if the inevitable was taking place, as to which he responded “Yes, because then I can officially sign a contract. Officially, I can only say something in January. At this moment it is too early. We still have to wait a bit”.

Early reports are suggesting that Lewandowski will indeed complete his controversial transfer in January, however a realistic thought on the matter would have most believing that the man who hit four past Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final in April and was also linked with both Manchester clubs and Chelsea, will move on a free next season to avoid being cup-tied in both cup competitions, furthermore meaning being excluded from the Champions League.

Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)

Januzaj – United’s Latest Jewel?

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In a rather dull opening to Manchester United’s season under new manager David Moyes it could be argued that there has been only two things to have kept fans content so far. The impressive form and work rate of Wayne Rooney, following months and months of paper talk and speculation surrounding the England striker’s future at Old Trafford.

The second is the emergence of youngster Adnan Januzaj who looks to be quite a formidable talent. The technically gifted Brussel’s born playmaker has all the fundamental qualities to be a success under David Moyes, should the Scotsman choose to use him efficiently. The Albanian-Kosovan teen has pace, is heavily composed on the ball for someone of his age, is more than confident and courageous enough to take players on and can pick out a pinpoint pass, with his cultured left-foot.

As a United fan I am so intrigued and excited to see what the future holds for United’s most exciting young talent. With the likes of Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester City observing Januzaj’s development, with an option of signing the 18 year old through the bosman ruling, United need to act fast to ensure that one of Europe’s finest talents remains at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future before his contract runs out at the end of the season. And with the side lacking some sort of creativity in the midfield, now is a better time than any to exploit the world to the talent that is Adnan Januzaj.

Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Talks Business To WSJ’s Lee Hawkins

Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe talk to the Wall Street Journal’s Lee Hawkins about Mayweather’s fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, his career, his philosophies on wealth, his pay-per-view deal with Showtime, Bob Arum, and his plans to break into the boxing promotions after he retires from boxing. Among other things, Mayweather tells Hawkins that he may consider fighting Manny Pacquiao if Pacquiao agrees to sign under his Mayweather Promotions company.

Welcome To Real Life Bale

All eyes were on Gareth Bale as he attended Real Madrid’s training for the first time since his record breaking move. Keen eyes were also intrigued to see how both the Welshman and new teammate Cristiano Ronaldo would fear. Would Ronaldo’s ego affect the team morale after being replaced as the world’s most expensive player by a player who virtually shares the same qualities as him?

Although those questions were hardly going to be answered in the opening training sessions of Bale’s Madrid career, it was interesting to see Ronaldo get stuck in and give Bale a taster of what could come his way after becoming the world’s most expensive ever footballer.

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Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)

Same Ol’ England

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Watching the Ukraine vs England game was virtually like watching paint dry, a very dull coloured paint in fact. If I’m being perfectly honest I could barely bring myself to watch the full 90 mins, instead I opted to grab something to eat, grab a drink or two, check out the timeline on Twitter, everything and anything to divert and less engage myself to the bore draw that took place on Tuesday night. Now let’s not fault Ukraine they gave it their all, vying to get those vital three points to put themselves in contention for an automatic qualification spot, at the expense of their Tuesday night rivals.

For England however, the plot was simple on Hodgson’s behalf, scupper out any goalscoring opportunites created by Ukraine and hang on for 90mins. Ok Ukraine rarely threatened Joe Hart and gave English fans heart attacks but there was really only one team looking to get the three points. With a midfield trio of Jack Wilshere, Steven Gerrard and newly established centurion Frank Lampard, England on paper should have been able to create something for the forward players, Theo Walcott and Ricky Lambert.

But typically of England they struggled to string three passes together, instead the tendencies to go long seemed to have lured every English player on the field, a trait that we have all become too familiar with. With no Wayne Rooney or Danny Welbeck to stretch the defence all focus was towards England’s latest target man Lambert. Despite the talk of England needing to alternate their playing style and adapting to the modern day forms of actually playing attractive football, Hodgson still relied on his tried and tested formula.

But that’s not what irritated me, with the option of making changes to offer something different to the table, Hodgson decided to bring on Ashley Young in a defensive role and was later joined by Tom Cleverley, whose job was to sit back and offer some support and energy to the tired defensive legs of England’s midfield. But that’s where the main problem lies for England, 80mins into the game Ukraine are bound to be a bit wary, bring on some quicker and exciting legs to give the Ukrainians something to think about. Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend were two of England’s most in-form players going into both qualifiers but were hardly given a look in when they could have been so valuable to England’s chances.

England are still failing to take risks, we constantly hear of pundits speaking of an array of new talent rising through the ranks, Ross Barkley is a clear example of that, but how is he going to develop successfully by one not getting valuable international experience and two not playing his style of football. Players like Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere, Andros Townsend and Raheem Sterling are hardly going to compliment England’s style of play with Gary Cahill and Big Phil Jagielka constantly playing Stoke City type football.

Ukraine are not a top 10 nation and should not have been given as much respect as England gave them. England had match winners in that game but were never utilised. Frank Lampard nearly made his centurion cap a day to remember but even a winning goal would not have saved England from a dismal performance, yet a dismal performance that would leave Hodgson ecstatic.

If England are to make anything of themselves in Rio next year, assuming that they will qualify of course, then they have to start taking risks. Players like Ross Barkley, Andros Townsend, Raheem Sterling are seen as hidden treasures to other nations, they will provide something new and refreshed to the table, if used properly and efficiently, until then England may as well prepare for further shortcomings on the international stage.

Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)

A Rare Gem At The Emirates

Needless to say Arsenal have bagged themselves a beaut of a player in Mesut Ozil.

With a near god-like touch as seen in the video footage below, Gooners and football lovers alike should revel in seeing something special grace The Emirates Stadium this season.

Why Fellaini Should Release The Shackles Of David Moyes

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The Chosen One has played a safe game since joining Manchester United, yet what made Sir Alex Ferguson so successful was his risk taking, abandoning the norm, disregarding the stereotype of how to run a football club. David Moyes before taking the United hot seat must have made a checklist of what to do and what not to do in his opening months as a United manager. His transfer targets were probably already identified through Sir Alex and David Gill, the tactics was quite simple, continue the simplicity, why change a winning formula, stick to the traditional 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. And that is what Moyes has done, ok let’s try and stay away from Manchester United’s transfer disappointments and obvious embarrassment because I will start to ramble on, thus becoming further disgruntled with proceedings during the summer.

So I am going to look to the future and take away the many positives that Moyes has at his disposal. The loss to Liverpool on Sunday, sorry I couldn’t help but refer to the immediate past, should have shown what United have been lacking for years a midfielder, a holding midfielder. Fans all over social networking sites, criticised United for not having any creative players within their ranks and stupidly referred back to their inability to sign a playmaker. Not to much of my displeasure, being a United fan myself.

But United do have a playmaker and his name is Shinji Kagawa, not to mention Wayne Rooney can also provide some valuable amount of creativity. But Moyes sticking to his early season checklist kept things simple and utilised what he thought was the best formula to nullify a much stronger and organised Liverpool midfield. Hence the defensive inclusion of Ryan Giggs. Giggs since the departure of Park Ji-Sung has now become the tireless worker and the grafter of United’s flanks in important games. We saw that against Real Madrid and we saw similar attempts against Liverpool. Had Rafael been fit, it would have Phil Jones partnering Carrick in the midfield with United using two out and out wingers against Liverpool, but injuries took its toll on what should have been a straight forward tactical shift. So therefore Giggs was Moyes’s ideal fit.

What United needed was a Roy Keane, 2008 Owen Hargreaves or Darren Fletcher to add a bit of aggression and bite to the midfield, which would have maybe allowed Kagawa to play a role on Sunday. They now have that in Marouane Fellaini, who made his deadline day move from Everton. A fundamental but versatile defensive midfielder, the hairy Belgian should be a great match with Carrick, who will be allowed to expose his passing qualities to a greater extent, once Fellaini wins those aerial duels. Typically of a deep lying playmaker, which Carrick is, he would then be the one who supplies the balls to the more creative players which is where Rooney and Kagawa may come in, without feeling too exposed at the back. United should soon turn into what Real Madrid were under Jose Mourinho, a counter attacking team capable of producing flashes of brilliance, they have quick minded players to do so and with RVP leading the line they should be more than capable of being clinical.

Fellaini will provide that stability for the back line, discipline should hardly be an issue for the Belgian, despite his history in the referees book, how many times do we see United players lose their heads, very rarely. Look at Wayne Rooney’s transformation. His presence is something that has been needed for a while, Cleverley is fairly good against weaker sides, but against the top 5, you need a bully in the middle of the park, City have Toure, Spurs have Sandro and Dembele Liverpool have Gerrard and Lucas and now we have Fellaini. Let’s be honest we didn’t need to make too many changes after a more than impressive campaign last season and by keeping near enough the same squad, the mental toughness should remain. We had a winning formula, so why change it; a minor tweak was all that was necessary and in Fellaini, a focused Rooney and an improved Kagawa, who are both eager to right their wrongs of last season, we should be hopeful of retaining the league title and providing David Moyes with a reason to celebrate this season.

Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)