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Ronaldo ‘back’ against favourite enemy Atletico

first_img0Shares0000“I’m back,” said Cristiano Ronaldo (R) after training with his Juventus teammates in Turin. © AFP / Marco BertorelloTurin, Italy, Nov 25 – Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo warned he was ‘back’ and ready for Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with old rivals Atletico Madrid in Turin.Coach Maurizio Sarri said the 34-year-old Portugal international’s fitness still had to be assessed before the Group D clash as he battles a knee problem. But the 34-year-old showed his eagerness to play by posting a photo on Twitter with the caption: “I’m back,” followed by an emoji of a flexed bicep.Ronaldo has a long history with the Spanish side going back to his nine years with city rivals Real Madrid.The five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored 22 goals against Atletico for Real, including in the 2014 Champions League final triumph. He also hit the winning spot-kick as they were defeated in the final again two years later.In last season’s Champions League, the Spanish were 2-0 winners in the first leg of their last 16 tie, but a Ronaldo hat-trick in Turin in March denied them a quarter-final berth.“I have five Champions Leagues, these guys zero,” Ronaldo had declared after the defeat in Madrid, holding up five fingers to the home fans throughout the game.This season Ronaldo has scored just once in the Champions League and was furious after being substituted by coach Maurizio Sarri in their last game against Lokomotiv Moscow, also being hauled off before the hour in the following game against AC Milan.In characteristic defiant style he hit back with four goals to qualify holders Portugal for Euro 2020.But he was rested for Saturday’s Serie A game against Atalanta which Juventus won 2-1 thanks to a Gonzalo Higuain double to stay top of the Italian league.“Cristiano trained with his teammates yesterday (Sunday),” Sarri told a press conference at the Juventus Stadium. “It seems that his condition is improving but we still have to evaluate between today and tomorrow.“The positive thing he was able to play throughout the training session with his teammates.”– ‘Always suffered’ –Atletico coach Diego Simeone knows what to expect from a player who holds the record of Champions League goals with 127.“Ronaldo is a champion, we have always suffered a lot against him. He is number one, but I don’t think it’s Ronaldo against Atletico because Juve is a great team. “It’s always painful to play Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone. © AFP / Marco BERTORELLO“I have no doubt, Juventus will be the protagonist again this year.”Atletico midfielder Koke added: “We consider the team as a whole, not just Ronaldo.“Ronaldo had scored a lot of goals against us, we’ll see if he will play one of his typical matches tomorrow.”Sarri said he had “a good relationship with Ronaldo” despite the player’s harsh words in his direction at being substituted.“If a player who has won so much is angry about being substituted, it means he still has a lot of motivation, and this is something positive,” said the former Chelsea and Napoli coach. Juventus are already through to the last 16 and want to finish top of their group with second-placed Atletico needing a win to guarantee their place.The Italian champions will be without defender Matthijs de Ligt, with a dislocated shoulder, with forward Federico Bernardeschi, who bruised his chest, in doubt.Atletico’s Portugal forward Joao Felix is also fighting for fitness.But Sarri conceded he was spoilt for choice up front between Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Higuain.“We have three very strong strikers for just two roles, I think it is an ideal situation,” continued the Juventus coach.“Playing Dybala, Higuain and Cristiano all together is difficult because of their characteristics, but all three know how to play really well and are comfortable with each other.” Higuain, who has scored five goals this season, said he was not trying to take Ronaldo’s throne.“I don’t have to steal anything from anyone,” said the 31-year-old, who played alongside Ronaldo at Real Madrid. “We know who Ronaldo is, a winner. I try to help the team win, we are all important and crucial, both those who play and those who don’t play.“In the long run, this is what leads a team to winning things.”0Shares0000(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

SA 4th in world for national pride

first_img4 August 2006South Africans rank fourth in the world for pride in their country, according to a recent report by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago in the US.The report, released in June, was based on a survey of people in 34 countries carried out by the International Social Survey Program, a consortium of survey researchers throughout the world.Countries surveyed were mostly in Europe and the Americas, with several Asian countries represented. Israel was the only Middle Eastern country included.The researchers asked people about their pride in 10 specific areas of their country: its democratic system; political influence in the world; economic success; social security; science and technological achievements; sports; arts and literature; military; history; and fair treatment of all groups in society.My country right or wrong?A second set of questions tested people’s general national pride, asking to what extent they agreed with such statements as, “I would rather be a citizen of my country than any other country in the world,” “Generally speaking, my country is a better country than most countries”, and “I would support my country even if it were in the wrong.”In area-specific pride, the United States led with an average score of 3.6, followed by Venezuela (3.9), Ireland (6.9), South Africa (7.9), Australia (7.9) and Canada (9.6). (A top score of 1.0 would be achieved if citizens rated their country as number one in all 10 areas.)On the general pride measure, people in Venezuela scored 18.4 (out of a possible 25), followed by people in the US (17.7), Australia (17.5), Austria (17.4), South Africa (17), Canada (17), Chile (17.1), New Zealand (16.6) and Israel (16.2).So, while Venezuela led on general national pride and finished second on area-specific pride, the US scored first on the latter and second on the former.New nations, former coloniesAlthough these two countries have been at odds over a variety of issues recently, they share a common trait with most of the top 10 countries in the national pride survey – they are both relatively new nations that once were colonies.“These countries formed their national identities through conflicts that bound their people together and created a national story that resonates with citizens,” said Tom Smith, author of the report and director of the General Social Survey at the NORC.Patriotism is mostly a “New World” concept, the survey found: while former colonies and newer nations were more likely to rank high on the list, Western European, East Asian and former Socialist countries tended to rank near the middle or bottom.National pride serves as a resource to buttress people’s fortitude during times of adversity, Smith said. Levels of pride in specific areas help shape dimensions of national identity, such as how people define a true member of their national group.Globalism; bad mannersCountries that were part of the former Soviet Union or in the former Eastern Bloc ranked lower because they were still struggling to find new national identities, Smith said.The countries at the bottom of the list were generally established countries in Europe. “It could be that those nations are experiencing a response to globalism, particularly among young people,” Smith said. “Many identify as much as being Europeans as they do as being citizens of their own country.“In some European nations,” he added, “the concept of strong patriotism also has negative connotations.”Cultural differences, Smith said, might explain the lower rankings of the three Asian countries on the list – Japan (18), Taiwan (29) and Korea (31) – where it is “both bad luck and poor manners” to be boastful about things.Response to terrorismIn a separate report published in March, Smith and co-author Seokho Kim examined changes in national pride over the past decade, and found that countries with growing national pride were those that had experienced terrorist attacks on their citizens, such as the United States and Australia.The study also found that within the surveyed countries, national pride was generally lower among minority groups, people with higher levels of education, and younger adults.Ranking for (area-specific) national pride:United StatesVenezuelaIrelandSouth AfricaAustraliaCanadaPhilippinesAustriaNew ZealandChileGreat BritainIsraelUruguayFinlandSpainDenmarkSwitzerlandJapanFrancePortugalHungaryBulgariaNorwayRussiaSwedenSloveniaGermany (West)Czech RepublicTaiwanLatviaKoreaSlovakiaPolandGermany (East) reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more