This was a letter written by a rugby player in Spain after Ronaldo’s comments last week. The letter was posted in various media outlets in that country.
I write this letter as a rugby player. Last Wednesday you made, in my estimation, a very unfortunate statement stating that the match you played in was more a rugby match than football” because a rival kicked you when they didn’t have the chance to pay the ball. I’d like to make clear to you that in rugby you are prohibited to kick an opponent and any type of infraction of that nature would be cause for sending off. I can also tell you that in addition to being sanctioned by the club and by the disciplinary committee, that player would have to apologize to his teammates in the dressing room after the match as he left them at a disadvantage on the pitch and put all the work that they did during the week in jeopardy. For us, the matches are played during the week (in practice) and during the weekend we look to score tries..
Rugby is a contact sport, tough and aggressive, but never violent. In rugby there are codes of honor that we all respect with scrupulously. That it why you will not see a rugbier dive or fake a foul. Many say that the only lie that is allowed for a rugby player is the one that you tell the doctor so you can stay on the pitch. This past weekend, a player was kicked in the face, fracturing his cheekbone. He stayed on and played for an hour so his team would not be at a disadvantage numerically.
You might also notice that our jerseys have numbers on the back, each indicating the position on the pitch but not the name. The reason is because it does not matter who wears that jersey The most important thing is for those who wear it “do only their job, but their entire job.” That is why That is why when we score a try no one celebrates it pointing at their name, we celebrate it with our teammates. They are the reason why the ball gets to us in the best possible conditions. That’s why we don’t give out Ballon D’Ors or Pichichis. We also address referees as “sir”. They only speak to the captains and we never blame them for losses because we are aware that we make more mistakes than they do.
I will also tell you that continuity, the philosophy that the ball is constantly is always in play. That is why when you see a tackle, the player that is tackled releases the ball and leaves the ball on the deck. In rugby the ball has to always be in motion so at the end of the match we end up complying with the first commandment of the game- the best team wins. The “anti-game” is punished severely and it is punished in exemplary manner. That is why you do not see rugbiers wasting time or faking injuries. This is why there is such a thing as a blood replacement; because the player that is injured, once treated, returns to the pitch to continue helping his teammates.
In rugby, the rival is an adversary on the pitch and teammate off it. Never are they enemies, because we share a common passion and code of conduct that we respect beyond the pitch. In Rugby we do an honor guard for our rivals, win or lose and we share a few beers during our socials after we left it all on the pitch. Because of all this, Cristiano, that is why I think your statement was unfortunate. I understand, though because of you lack of knowledge of our sport. This is why I invite you to come and watch a rugby whenever and you want. You will be welcome- you and anyone else. Of course, you are invited to enjoy a few beers in our socials.
Yours in rugby.
Honestly, I never considered myself a “designated player” or that i was different. I remember one time that one of the assistants mentioned something of the sort and I asked him to never mention that in front of other people again. To me, it didn’t mean anything being a designated player. I was another player, I considered myself another player. I tried to help out in the position I found myself in, whether I was a designated player or not.
I didn’t want preferential treatment, I knew that in North American culture, it was recognition.
I tell you about the American players that I did not know of back then. I liked Brad Davis, from Houston, a lot. Brad Evans and Robbie Rogers, who played with me at Columbus Crew. I believe they are still young because they were 18, 19 when I was playing there; so they must be 26, 26 now. I thought they were great.
I also liked Chad Marshall, who’s with Seattle now, he looks like a tremendous defender. He had a lot of concussion issues, though. I saw him and told Alejandro Moreno that Marshall was a player worthy of playing in the Premier League.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto on the great American players he played with and against in MLS.
Here are some quotes from his interview on TyC Sports about his 18-month battle with testicular cancer.
"I had my left testicle removed in Argentina. I went back to England and (Alan Pardew) tole me that I should leave."
"I came (to Argentina) and covered my own expenses despite having a contract with Newscastle. Money is not important. What’s important is health. I had to begin chemotherapy".
"It was very difficult to come to terms with my hair falling out. I didn’t want to cut my hair, I wanted to hold on. One day all my friends showed up and they were all bald. It was a great gesture by them."
Man, hope I make Milan fans feel better. Seems like ages since Gli Invincibili di Sacchi, one of the greatest teams ever.
Galli, Tassotti, Costacurta, Baresi, Maldini; Ancelotti, Colombo, Rijkaard, Evani; Van Basten, Gullit
Today… Possible lineup
López, Rami, Abate, Mexes (Zapata), Armero; Muntari, de Jong, Essien, Honda, Montolivo, Pazzini.
Any other alternative lineups accepted.