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Cristiano Ronaldo joins Manchester United

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“Welcome home, @Cristiano…” Manchester United’s twitter account said in a tweet and just like that, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United. Despite the rumours of Cristiano not being happy with his current situation at Juventus, the move still came as a shock. Further rumours only linked him to Manchester City after the collapse of Harry Kane’s potential move from Tottenham Hotspur. Ultimately, it was United who won the race to sign him from Juventus in a deal reported worth an initial £12.8million and almost £7m in add-ons. It is expected that the 36-year-old Portuguese will sign a two-year contract after completing his medical. 

His arrival will definitely turn Manchester United into title contenders this season and fans would definitely expect a late run in the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier football competition. At a minimum, with the talent that Manchester United have in their ranks, fans can at least dream of being in the Champions League semi-finals and taking the title is not out of the question. He finished as the top scorer last season in Italy’s Serie A with 29 total goals; more than Lukaku scored for Inter last season, who himself sealed a move back to Chelsea in a £98m move. Despite his age and a salary of £480,000-per-week, this move is a bargain as scoring 45 goals in 58 games for club and country last season is no small feat and pulling off this move should see United end their eight-year-wait for the Premier League title.

The biggest relief however is that fans around the world, myself included won’t have to see him running around in a Manchester City shirt. The thought frightened me as the rumours started to pick up the pace with reports that he had already spoken to Pep Guardiola, Manchester City’s manager on the phone before Sir Alex Ferguson, Rio Ferdinand and Bruno Fernandes got involved to convince him to join United instead. Some fans had even started burning their Ronaldo Manchester United jerseys. 

Ronaldo of course is a Manchester United legend and played from 2003 to 2009, honing his craft to become the world class player he is today and, in the process, scoring 118 goals in 292 games for the club. He is a serial winner who has won every prize there is on offer, can take a game by the scruff of the neck and make a difference in the biggest of the games. You don’t become the highest scorer in the Champions League final (four goals) without having exceptional ability, hunger and drive to succeed and to be the best. This is why even at the age of 36, he is capable of scoring super human goals after a long season of football. Players like these don’t come often and along with Messi, Cristiano is considered to be one of the best ever to play the game of football. He will be the difference in the biggest of games and in the latter stages of the Champions League where teams are well matched and need match winners like Ronaldo and the Messi. 

It doesn’t really matter in the end whether his agent offered him to Manchester City and PSG or not, once it became apparent that Cristiano would leave Juventus, United had to step in. As United Manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in his press conference before the signing was announced: “I didn’t think Cristiano was going to turn out leaving Juventus. It’s been speculation the last few days, of course”. 

Ole added “we’ve always had a good communication. I know Bruno has been talking to him as well. He knows what we feel about him. If he was ever going to move from Juventus, he knows that we’re here.”

Ronaldo is the symbol of a golden age for Manchester United and finally he has returned home after 12 years away. It is impossible not to be excited at the prospect of seeing Ronaldo strutting about on the Old Trafford pitch weaving his magic and writing history in the colours of United again. Manchester City have found out the hard way that while money can buy you a lot of things, love isn’t one of them!

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Foad is a professional Electrical engineer, avid traveller, always up for an adventure and trying to change the world – one word at a time.

Sport

Virat Kohli resigns, Djokovic sent home and Africa Cup of Nations gets underway – The Commentary Box

This week saw the resignation of India’s most successful test captain. Meanwhile in Australia, the ATP men’s singles world No. 1 was sent home after having his visa revoked, whilst the English cricket team may have wished they stayed at home after an Ashes thrashing Down Under!

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Premier League: struggling with Covid

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Within the English football leagues, the Premier League has suffered the most as a result of the new variant – Omicron. A total of 18 games were postponed from 12th December 2021 to 2nd January 2022. Players, managers, and backroom staff being affected at various points meant either there was an outbreak at the club or not enough players to field a squad for the match.

When the festive period comes around, it tends to come with one of the most exhaustive and physically demanding fixture lists, with a game every other day for clubs. This effects clubs around the table and not only the top clubs. Although the clubs in the top half tend to complain more.

The Premier League met on 20th December 2021 to decide whether the fixtures of two game weeks should be postponed or what the best way forward for everyone was. Unsurprisingly, everyone agreed that the show must go on. 

This came down to several factors. The first is that, players already endured a long season -ever since the restart in 2020. Additionally, it’s the World Cup year. As it is taking place in Qatar, there will be a break in Winter 2022 to allow players to take part. Another factor is that the Premier League is inflexible. In the past, the top six clubs have competed in nearly all competitions available to them domestically and in Europe. At times when clubs have asked their matches to be postponed, the League has refused.

Get vaccinated

The message by the UK government has been clearer than any other country in the world. Get vaccinated. And now, get boosted. 

The latest data from 7th January 2022 sets out that 134.8 million vaccinations have been administered. Currently, 51.9 million people have had their first vaccination and 47.6 million double dosed. A further 35.2 million boosted.

The Premier League has encouraged everyone to get vaccinated. However, in the most recent report published by the Premier League, it states that 92% of players have either received their first, second or third jab. This is quite a vague statistic. In many reported news outlets, it has also been revealed that only 77% of players are double vaccinated. In addition to this statistic, 16% of Premier League players have not received any jabs; the lowest across the top 5 Leagues.

Compare this to other top leagues and they can boast about their vaccination numbers, as majority of their players have been double vaccinated. It has been reported, (Italy) Serie A has 98% of its players double vaccinated, (France) Ligue 1 has 95%, (Germany) Bundesliga has 92% and (Spain) LaLiga has 92%. 

As a result of this, other leagues have not seen disruptions like the Premier League has. In fact, Germany has taken one step further and banned fans in the stadium. 

Therefore, we can only denote from this limited information that the Premier League has brought this disruption on itself. It could be argued that taking a vaccination is a personal medical right and choice. From this, it can be inferred that the players’ confidence in the vaccine must be low. Therefore, a greater conversation around Covid vaccine efficacy should be taking place with them.

Future of Covid in Football

Undoubtedly, Covid is here to stay. There is no time frame placed nor an end date in sight. It is something we will have to live with. 

Interestingly, Jurgen Klopp is very pro-vaccine and has taken a strong approach. He stated that “I will not sign any unnvaxxed players for Liverpool – they are a threat to all of us”. This was in relation to future transfers. 

It remains to be seen how willing he is in implementing this policy. For a top European club, such a policy is needed. Having to travel around Europe where different travelling rules apply is something that has an impact on the whole squad. 

The football transfer window will need to adapt to the situation. Some of the prevention strategies that they need to keep in mind are reducing the amount of transfer domestically and internationally, keeping players at the club in case of another outbreak and relying on youth players to cover and step up. 

It is quite clear that the Premier League needs to encourage players to get vaccinated, otherwise, the negative consequences will be felt.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Umar is currently studying the Legal Practice Course. He has a LLB Law and LLM International Human Rights Law degree. When he is not studying or volunteering, he likes to Cycle and play Football

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Australia cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa

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Tennis giant Novak Djokovic has had his visa to enter Australia suddenly canceled upon his arrival at Melbourne airport. The news comes just a day after a furor erupted when Djokovic revealed he received a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open. He is chasing his tenth singles title, and a record-setting 21st grand slam win. The exemption allows him to play regardless of his vaccination status.

Novak Djokovic arrived from Dubai on a flight to Melbourne airport late last night. Speaking at a press conference this morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the world number one was not able to get into Australia because he was never granted an exemption in the first place. There are also potential concerns relating to the application to get the approval for this exemption.

The acting Victorian Sports Minister Jaala Pulford got on the front foot via Twitter last night shortly before Djokovic arrived in Melbourne, saying that the Federal government has contacted the Victorian government asking for help in the tennis star’s application to enter the country. She said that the Federal government rejected the visa this morning while doubling down on saying that the Federal government has contacted her government three times asking for help. She also said that her state government would not support individual visa applications.

Novac Djokovic is entitled to challenge the visa decision in court. It is understood that the tennis player will challenge the decision in the Federal court, although the court says that they have not received any application from his lawyers. Meanwhile, the Australian Border Force has ordered Djokovic to leave today. His coach and support staff have cleared immigration and have chosen to stay at the airport. The world number one has been taken to a city hospital while further investigations into his exemption application continue.
We have also heard from the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who has spoken to Novac Djokovic and said that Serbia would stand behind and fight with him. There is also the infight between the Australian Federal and State governments as this drama continues. It is an incredible situation and a developing news that the world is watching this morning.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Soofi Aziz joined The Analyst in 2021 and is an Australian Registered Homeopath and a fourth-year psychology student. He contributes articles covering a range of social, health and political issues.

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From an NFL Superstar to a League Outcast: The Fall of Antonio Brown

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On 2nd January, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown once again made headlines for all the wrong reasons. He ran off the field and left MetLife stadium during the third quarter against the New York Jets. Brown, who appeared frustrated on the bench, refused to re-enter the game when twice asked by head coach Bruce Arians. Upon his refusal, Arians told the wide receiver to “get out”. Despite teammates Mike Evans and O.J Howard trying to calm Brown down, he stripped off his uniform and equipment and proceeded to run off the field shirtless while waving and throwing his undershirt and gloves into the crowd. 

When Brown abruptly exited the game, the Bucs were trailing the Jets 24-10, and despite an amazing comeback and heroic game winning touchdown pass by Tom Brady, the biggest takeaway from the game was the wide receiver’s future with the team. After the game, when Arians was asked about Brown, he made it clear that “he [Brown] is no longer a Buc”

As it currently stands, it appears that Brown has played his last game as a Buccaneer, but former teammate Ryan Clark stated on ESPN’s Get Up that Brown has most likely played his last game in the NFL. Clack mentioned how “no one wants a wholly inconsistent person on their team. I believe he played his last snap”. However, arriving at this point should not come as a surprise since Brown has had an extended history of misconduct both on and off the field. To better illustrate the magnitude of Brown’s fall from stardom, we must look at his career prior to all his troubles. 

Brown was selected in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Between 2013 and 2018, he was arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL and his statistics were beyond impressive. 

  • 2013: 110 receptions, 1,499 yards, 8 touchdowns
  • 2014: 129 receptions, 1,698 yards, 13 touchdowns
  • 2015: 136 receptions, 1,834 yards, 10 touchdowns
  • 2016: 106 receptions, 1,284 yards, 12 touchdowns
  • 2017: 101 receptions, 1,533 yards, 9 touchdowns
  • 2018: 104 receptions, 1,297 yards, 15 touchdowns

During his nine seasons with the Steelers, Brown’s contest to catch footballs, speed and work ethic propelled him to seven Pro-Bowl selections, four All-Pro selections and he was named to the Hall of Fame All 2010s Team. He had cemented himself as not only one of the greatest receivers of his generation, but of all time. 

Yet his seemingly cemented legacy began to crack in 2018. Here is a recap of how Brown contributed to his downfall. 

31st Dec. 2018: Due to an altercation with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Brown skipped practices, a walkthrough and a team meeting. In addition, during the half-time break versus the Cincinnati Bengals, Brown left the game. He would never play for the Steelers again.

10th March 2019: The Steelers trade Brown to the then Oakland Raiders and he signs a three-year deal.

12th Aug. 2019: Brown steps away from the Raiders a week prior because his desired helmet is no longer in accordance with league protocols. After having his request to use the helmet denied, Brown decides to return to the team. 

4th Sept. 2019: After the Raiders fine Brown for repeated unexcused absences, he goes on social media to vent his frustration and verbally assaults general manager Mike Mayock.  

7th Sept. 2019: The Raiders cut Brown. The following day he signs a one-year, $15 million deal with the New England Patriots. 

10th Sept. 2019: Britney Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, files a federal lawsuit against Brown accusing him of multiple sexual assaults in 2017 and rape in 2018. 

19th Sept. 2019: The Patriots cut Brown. 22nd 

22nd Jan. 2020: Following an incident with a moving truck driver in Florida, Brown is charged with a felony offence of burglary and battery. 

12th June 2020: After pleading no contest to the charges, Brown receives two years of probation.

31st July 2020: The NFL suspends Brown for eight games due to multiple violations of the league’s conduct policy. 

27th Oct. 2020: The Buccaneers sign Brown to a one-year deal. His contributions helped the team win Super Bowl 55 that same year. 

28th April 2021: Brown re-signs with the Buccaneers for one-year. 

2nd Dec. 2021: Brown receives a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his vaccination status to the NFL by obtaining a fake vaccination card; a federal offence. However, the Bucs allow Brown to return to the team. 

2nd Jan. 2022: During a game against the Jets, Brown runs out of the stadium due to an altercation with teammates and coaches. 

As it currently stands, the Bucs have yet to officially cut Brown. However, his career is certainly in jeopardy and seems unlikely any other team would be willing to give Brown another opportunity. The unfortunate aspect is that Brown, at 33 years old, can still play and be an impactful player, but his constant misconduct has held him back ever since 2018. It yet to be seen whether the Bucs bring him back or if another team acquires his services with the hope of containing his unpredictable nature. But the best thing for Brown would be to leave the NFL and seek the psychological aid he requires since life is more than just about football. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Business

2021 In Focus

A look back at some of our best moments from 2021. As we explored topics ranging from Remote working, HGV Driver Shortages, Climate Change, Cryptocurrency, the COVID pandemic, Rebranding, though to Development through Play and much much more. So grab a snack and relive 2021 In Focus!

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Commentary Box

The Best and Worst Sporting Moments of 2021 – The Commentary Box

We look back at an action packed year of sports. 2021 was a year that was full of drama and saw new young stars make the headlines.

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