Pro-footballers are a special breed. They dedicate their lives to the sport. Every day ensuring they’re in peak physical condition, training every day and focussing on beating their next opponents, so come the weekend, they are ready for the thrill of delivering in front of thousands and thousands of adoring fans.
Much like football, poker requires a burning desire. An immovable focus. And that’s why more and more top pros are turning to the green felt after retirement.
We look at some of the players who have experienced success both on the pitch, and off it.
It’s the cup no one cares about, and the trophy nobody dreams to win at the start of the season. It’s also the tournament in which, until a few years ago, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic would have been rested, rather than summoned for a mundane fourth round. It might also be the trophy that provides David Moyes with a much-needed confidence boost.
Having fought tooth and nail against Liverpool in the previous round, United sailed through to the fifth round tonight, their performance unexpectedly solid, considering the poor displays they had at times offered in the League Cup even under Fergie’s guidance.
A clean sheet in Europe after ages. Jonny Evans and Phil Jones again showed the fans that they are the future of this great football club. More noticeably, the former is a Manchester United academy product – one that we can gloat about. Every club has a player that surpasses or finally lives up to the expectations. In Jonny Evans, Manchester United have the former. A Manchester United youth graduate who has everything that a defender requires – two good feet, good awareness, command and who’s a good reader of the game.
Robin Van Persie has claimed Adnan Januzaj is one of the finest talents he’s ever seen and believes the young Belgian could develop into one of the best players in the world.
So far, Januzaj has been one of the few shining lights of United’s first post-Ferguson season, scoring twice on his first start for the club against Sunderland and making an impact after coming off the bench against Stoke last Saturday. The Belgian’s performances have been impressive and, having signed a new five-year deal, many believe the Belgian should be starting regularly.
Having spectacularly failed to strengthen the squad adequately over the summer, David Moyes must now try to address United’s shortcomings in the January transfer window and reports suggest the club might be eyeing a surprise for move for Roma’s midfielder Miralem Pjanic.
The 23-year-old Bosnian, who was on Spurs’ radar earlier this summer, has been an integral part of Roma’s incredible start to the domestic campaign, as new coach Rudi Garcia has so steered the Giallorossi to nine wins in the first nine games, scoring 23 goals and conceding only one.
David Moyes has rushed to defend Nani after the Portuguese was booed off the pitch by sections of United fans during Saturday’s 3-2 win against Stoke City.
Nani, who had been at his frustrating best throughout the afternoon, was substituted by Adnan Januzaj after 58 minutes and the Portuguese was targeted by boos as he left the pitch, after some fans had allowed their frustration to spill over and directed their anger to the Portuguese.
David Moyes has refused to get carried away after United snatched victory from the jaws of the defeat in customary fashion against Stoke on Saturday afternoon to claim a crucial three points.
Dramatic and welcomed though it might have been, the win barely masquerade one of United’s worst performance of the season, as the Reds looked incredibly pedestrian for the first 70 minutes and could have – and perhaps should have – been more than one goal down at halftime and had to thank David De Gea for keeping the scoreline acceptable.
In many ways, yesterday’s was arguably United’s worst performance of the David Moyes era, perhaps with the exception of the 4-1 shellacking the Reds suffered at the Etihad earlier last month.
Granted, United showed the fighting spirit of old in 10 spirited minutes and managed to turn a game on its head with two late goals but however welcome the win was, it was yet again a case of papering over the cracks.