August is August. The Doldrums. Pro Soccer will star up in Europe later this month, Track and Field Championships are in their preliminaries. We here hope you are enjoying the beach and/or pool, or for those in the Southern hemisphere, mebbe a ski trip.
Aussie Rules Football today features an arch rivalry, like no other, Adelaide v Port Adelaide at, where else, the Adelaide Oval. South Australia's most important game on the footy calendar takes on extra significance for two of the premiership contenders. The Adelaide Crows currently are in 1st place in the standings, and the Port Adelaide Power at 5th place. The 43rd edition of the Showdown promises to be a beauty, with the Crows and the Power coming off amazing results last weekend. The Crows showed tremendous fight to rally from 50 points down early in the third quarter to secure a draw against Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, while a bit of Patrick Ryder and Robbie Gray brilliance delivered the Power a thrilling two-point win over St Kilda.
The top-of-the-table Crows will be slight favourites to win their fifth straight Showdown, they have certainly dominated the series in recent years. The fifth-placed Power need a victory to keep their founded hopes of finishing in the top four alive. This will be a contest between two of the top three scoring teams in the competition. The Crows are ranked first with 111 points per game, while the Power are third with 99. But the Power are the best defensive team in the League, conceding just 76 points per game, while the Crows are fourth (81). This promises to be a very close game, too close to call.
Spanish soccer has been thrown into some chaos this weekend, with top players moving out of the country, or threatening to do so. Former top Barcelona player and Brazilian forward Neymar Jr received a hero's welcome from Paris Saint-Germain fans at their Parc des Princes home on Saturday as he vowed to win "lots of trophies" following his world record transfer. Neymar, 25, was presented to fans on the pitch ahead of their opening Ligue 1 match of the season at home to Amiens, telling fans: "Thank you! I'm very happy, I'm delighted to be here for this new challenge." The Brazilian, who cost a world record €222 million in the contract which precipitated his transfer, then delighted fans by running over to the end where PSG's most hardcore supporters converge and launched his jersey into the throng of delirious 'Ultras'.
Meanwhile, Coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid appears to want to pour kerosene on the flames of his team's self destruction. Coach Zidane essentially called for the transfer of top player Gareth Bale, well known to readers of this space, and a popular player among fans. The peaceful Welshman is not given to egotistical rants, which apparently makes him unsuitable to French Zidane. Real Madrid has done nothing, apparently, to calm their temperamental but magisterial player Cristiano Ronaldo, who again is saying he wants to move back to England. Ronaldo has scored more than 400 goals for Primera Liga champions Real since arriving in 2009 and he won three Premier League titles and the Uefa Champions League with Manchester United. He has become so miserable under the persecution and prosecution of a judge who represents an overreaching and money grubbing legal system (well known for its maverick judges who try to make names for themselves by prosecuting stars, athletes, cyclists, politicians).
Neglected as he has been by his team administration, Ronaldo is ready to move out of this Iberian country. While early on he said he wanted a return to Manchester United, now he is so frustrated, it seems anywhere in "England" will do. Hard to see a country's soccer expertise self destruct.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is poised to return to the number one ranking in worldwide men's tennis. Andy Murray has suffered from injuries, and is at the point of losing his top spot. Also, Men's Shot put finals today in the International Track and Field Championships in London.