How Will Coronavirus Affect the Sporting World and its Fans?

The current pandemic of coronavirus that has occurred has truly changed the future of sports as we see it for 2020 and beyond. The NBA decided to have a hiatus after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert contracted the virus, which then led to many NCAA Conference tournaments being cancelled, which led to March Madness being cancelled. Then, the MLB had their season start postponed for at least 2 weeks, and the MLS has been shut down for at least 30 days. Around the world, the Premier League has been shut down until April after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea Winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for Coronavirus. The Bundesliga, Ligue 1, LaLiga, Champions League, Europa League, and all country-run tournaments have been shut down until April. Not only has the sports world been affected, but the real world as well. Currently, many of the States in the US have gone into States of Emergencies, colleges are online for the rest of the semester, and in places like Italy, you cannot leave your house unless for an emergency. Here is what the effects of what has transpired will be, and what more we can expect to happen, not just in our country, but throughout the world:

Did NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Save Sports As We Currently See It?

I do not believe many people would have thought that sports being shut down in the United States was even imaginable if it were not for Adam Silver having suspended the NBA. The important thing to realize is that Adam Silver did the best thing possible by suspending the NBA season. The importance of keeping the players, coaches, front office, team staff, media, and fans safe is far more important than the remaining 20+ regular season games plus playoffs. Not only did Silver suspend the season, but he already came up with a plan for how players and teams must react over the ‘minimum of 30 days’ hiatus.

The reason why it is important to note how important this gesture was by Adam Silver is the fact that every major league in our country followed suit. The NCAA Conferences cancelled their basketball tournaments and all other sporting tournaments, as did the NCAA with March Madness and their championships, the MLB postponed their start by at least 2 weeks, the MLS and NHL shut down for a month, and the NFL, while their season is over, is discussing ways to change the NFL Draft. Also, multiple tennis tournaments supposed to happen in the US have been cancelled, and now even the French Open, and The Masters’ have been postponed.

Did Rudy Gobert Also Contribute to Saving Sports Now?

I know a lot of people have been giving Gobert a lot of hate for how he handled the situation and for originally taking the whole notion of Coronavirus and social distancing as a joke, but he has since owned up to it, made public statements, and donated money in order to let people know that this is very serious indeed. But if GObert did not get Coronavirus, Silver wouldn’t have suspended the NBA season and no leagues would have followed (at least in the United States). So, indirectly, Rudy Gobert did help out with that. But this should be a lesson to everyone to practice social distancing, keep your hands to your own belongings, and if you do touch someone else’s belongings, to wash your hands and clean the things that you use frequently.

Will and When Will the 2020 Olympics Happen?

Honestly, while I do think the Olympics will happen, the question is of when. There is currently talk of many Olympic qualifiers being cancelled (not even postponed), such as the 2020 Euros and Copa America for soccer now happening in 2021. As of this past week, the Olympics are scheduled to go on as scheduled, but the talk of postponing them is very serious. Honestly, I think the best option is to hold the Olympics in 2021 after all the qualifiers which are now getting postponed to 2021 are happening.

How Would the NFL Draft Take Place?

So, before the outbreak of coronavirus, the NFL Draft was set to take place in Las Vegas at the Fountains of Bellagio, but now no one seems to know what is going to be the alternative option. Players and families will definitely be asked to stay home, and the NFL has already said there will be no fans present. I am not really sure what the NFL is going to do about it, but I have seen that they are discussing what to do, as they have already indefinitely cancelled OTAs and free agency visits.

How Do College Athletes Get Affected?

The NCAA had announced a few days back that all spring sports players are getting what is called a ‘Redshirt Corona Year’ (not the official name, but it is the name that spring sports athletes used in order to plead for this to be taken into effect), meaning that now all spring sports athletes will have an additional year of eligibility, and that this lost year will not affect them. So, while academically they can move on, athletically their eligibility will not be affected.

When Will the NBA Come Back, and Will the NFL Be Affected?

The current talks are that the NBA could come back around July and end in August, but whether this means that the regular season will continue or not remains to be seen. NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie suggested that we have a 28-team tournament in replacement of the NBA Playoffs, almost as if we are making the NBA Playoffs like March Madness, and the NBA is taking that into consideration. On a more serious note, the NBA is discussing permanently starting the season on Christmas Day, as they did during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. That season ended like regular in June and the regular season was cut down to 66 games. Whether or not that is the new format of the regular season remains to be seen, but how this season plays out is so vital to the future of the NBA.

As for the NFL, with OTAs now cancelled, the talk of training camp being cancelled as well and going straight into preseason is a very real possibility. Assuming that the statement made from the White House that the Coronavirus lasts until July or August, training camp would be cancelled, and the NFL would have either have the choice of going straight to preseason or skip preseason and go into training camp in order to avoid player injury. With the new 14-team playoff being put into effect this upcoming season, avoiding player injury is more vital than ever, and with a 17-game regular season starting as soon as 2021, this coming season could be a way to see how shortened or no preseason would work out.

A General PSA

As I am writing this, I am currently at home with my family doing my best to practice social distancing and preventing the spread of Coronavirus. This virus is very scary, so I highly encourage everyone to please stay home and practice social distancing as much as possible. With many grade school and college students now finishing the rest of their semesters at home, and with many people working their jobs from home, it is imperative that we realize the seriousness of this. Sure, there are times when we will need to go out places and see people and go study or work, but health always comes first. So please, I encourage everyone reading this to please wash your hands constantly, practice best health and hygiene, practice social distancing, try to avoid big gatherings and going traveling or eating out, and most importantly, realize that this isn’t a joke and that we can go on with life, even though these tough times are upon us.

Did Cristiano Ronaldo Close The Door On Lionel Messi For The Soccer GOAT?

On June 15th, 2018, Portugal and Spain, two European heavyweights went to battle in their Group B opener of their 2018 World Cup campaigns. Portugal superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo had a huge test ahead in that Spain defense and goalkeeper David de Gea, the best in the world at his position. Ronaldo recently made claims that he is the GOAT, and that the gap between him and Lionel Messi of Argentina is the largest it has been in a while. This match gave him a great opportunity to prove himself, and he did more than just that. drew a penalty in the 3rd minute of the match and converted from the penalty spot a minute later to give Portugal a quick 1-0 lead. Spain, however, did not back down, as striker Diego Costa brought them level with a series of beautiful moves between a crowd of 4 Portuguese defenders. Portugal, or should I say, Ronaldo, was not fazed. In the 44th minute, Ronaldo got to the edge of the box and fired at the knee of David de Gea, who could not hang on to the ball, allowing the ball to deflect off his knee and in for his second goal. Portugal goes into half up 2-1. Spain, however, ended up taking a 3-2 lead by the 58th minute, with Costa scoring again, and Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammate Nacho scoring an amazing golazo. Down 3-2, Portugal was unable to create any real chances until the 88th minute, when Ronaldo was fouled in his ‘free-kick territory’, and man did he deliver. Ronaldo, before he kicked it, stepped back, rolled his shorts up, took a few deep breaths, and kicked it straight into the back of the net. The Ronaldo GOAT talks seemed to be happening at an all-time high, and it seems as though we can expect to see more of this throughout his 2018 World Cup campaign.

On June 16th, 2018, Argentina played their Group D World Cup opener against Iceland, a team that had never scored a goal in its World Cup history. Argentina, full of world-class goal scorers led by Lionel Messi, seemed primed to take an easy win, but Iceland had other ideas. In a rather boring game, Argentinian striker Sergio Agüero got things started with an early goal in the 19th minute, which was followed up by Alfred Finbogasson’s goal, as those 2 goals would be the only goals of the entire match, but there were many chances from Argentina, specifically Messi, to win the match. Messi received a penalty kick which, unlike Ronaldo, he failed to convert on, and a free kick, which he also failed to convert on, again unlike Ronaldo. Messi had the pressure put on him by Ronaldo’s performance and did not deliver, that too against a much weaker team in Iceland. Considering the circumstances, Iceland celebrated as if it was a win, which despite the score line, it was a win for the Icelandic.

On June 20th, 2018, Ronaldo and Portugal played Morocco, in a rather sloppy 1-0 win, and Ronaldo scored off of a header in the 4th minute, yet he, and his GOATee shined throughout the match.

On June 21st, 2018, Messi and Argentina played Croatia. Croatia destroyed Messi and Co. 3-0, and Messi had 20 touches, not shots, TOUCHES, in the first half, and went the last 21 minutes and 11 seconds without a single touch. Croatian players like Ante Rebić, Mario Mandzukić, Ivan Rakitić, and Luka Modrić made Messi look like a player who shouldn’t have even gone to the World Cup.

Is Ronaldo The GOAT Over Messi?

Well, let us take a look at the stats. First, look at the Ballon D’Or’s, the award given to the best player in the world every year. Both of them have 5 each, with Ronaldo having won 4 of the last 5 Ballon D’Or’s. As far as Champions League’s go, it is in favor of Ronaldo, 5-4 (Ronaldo won his first in 2008 with Manchester United). So, now to the goals. Ronaldo in his career has 658 goals in 913 appearances (573 goals in 761 appearances club-wise), whereas Messi has 616 goals in 763 appearances (552 goals in 637 appearances club-wise). So, Ronaldo holds the crown in goals overall. Messi has 250 assists to Ronaldo’s 208, yet that it expected, since Messi plays on the wings, and has never played striker, whereas Ronaldo is often asked to play striker, as he does in international play for Portugal. Last, look at the trophies. Ronaldo has 3 Premier League Titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 EFL Cups, La Liga, Copa del Rey, Spanish Cup, and UEFA Super Cups each, along with the 5 Champions Leagues, and 4 Club World Cups. Ronaldo also won the UEFA Euro’s in 2016, giving him a career total of 23 trophies. Messi has 8 La Ligas, 6 Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercups each, 4 Champions Leagues, and 3 UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cups each, and he has a FIFA U-20 World Cup win, and a Gold Medal (2008), giving him a grand total of 32 trophies. Now, many of these trophies came before Real Madrid received Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2008. Messi also has had guys like Ronaldinho, Carlos Puyol, Xavi, Xavi Alonso, David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Alexis Sanchez, Neymar, and Luis Suarez, all of these players being some of the greatest players at the sport. Ronaldo has had Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Garry Neville, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Edwin van der Sar, Gerard Pique, and Gareth Bale, also some of the greatest players to play the sports. Messi, however, much like in the Michael Jordan-LeBron conversation, has always had the more superior teams, unlike Ronaldo, who played in England, where the competition is always more tough.

As players, regardless of statistics, Ronaldo is more of a ‘move without the ball to get position, get into the box with the ball, and shoot or draw fouls kind of player’, as he creates many more chances. Messi, on the other hand, goes all over the field, yet is more of a player who stays on the wings and does his movement with the ball at his feet. When it comes to shooting, no one is as good as Ronaldo, especially with the technique that Ronaldo uses when shooting, such as the bend and finesse that he puts on every shot, you never see the same kind of bend and finesse twice. Messi is more of a power kind of kicker, yet less finesse-oriented. Ronaldo also, unlike Messi, is very good at conserving energy when on the field, as he really only moves around the pitch when his team is in possession.

Now, when leading a team, if Messi always has the better team, then why doesn’t he have a World Cup yet? Well, that’s where the composure part comes in. Messi, unlike Ronaldo, let’s the talk and pressure get to him, and he lets it affect his overall play on the pitch. Take yesterday for example, how Messi tried so hard to shoot and score, as Ronaldo calmly put away penalties and free kicks. Ronaldo also needs less shots and on-the-ball touches to be effective. Ronaldo took 4 shots and had 3 shots on target against Spain (he scored all 3), whereas Messi had 3 shots on 11 targets. Against Iceland. Messi had 0 shots against Croatia. ZERO! Even for club, Messi disappears in big moments, such as the Champions League. This year, in the quarterfinal against Roma, when his team was down 3-0 and tied 4-4 on aggregate, Messi took shameless shots on goal to no avail, and almost seemed to have given up on himself and the team as a whole, always with his head down, and not playing with the heart and will. Ronaldo, on the other hand, was in the same situation, this time in the Champions League semifinal against Juventus, tied at 3-3, and he drew the penalty which ended up being the final kick of the game, as he scored the penalty, giving Real Madrid a 4-3 win on aggregate. Going back to the World Cup conversation, Ronaldo plays for Portugal. Yes, Portugal is a good team, but not better than the top teams in the world like Germany, Brazil, France, Spain, or even Argentina. Argentina has guys like Paulo Dybala, Sergio Agüero, Lucas Biglia, Ever Banega, Angel di Maria, and many more, all of which are better than Ronaldo’s best world-class players, who would be André Silva, Bernando Silva, Joao Mario, and Joao Moutinho. Messi also plays for Argentina, a country with a long history, with Diego Maradona, one of the greatest midfielders ever to play the game, always watching him. Maradona has always called out Messi for his lack of leadership of such an uber-talented team like Argentina, yet Messi never answers. Expect Ronaldo to have a better World Cup, and Portugal to go to at least the semifinal of the tournament, beating Argentina in the quarterfinals (I am assuming both Portugal and Argentina win their groups). Ronaldo has almost closed the door on Messi for GOAT status during this World Cup, and expect him to finish the job this year. I am also predicting that Nigeria will pull off the upset vs. Argentina, and will not make it out of the group stage.

Can Any Player Catch Up To Messi and Ronaldo?

Neymar, the Brazilian great, of course, if he can bring Brazil to World Cup glory, and if he can find a club he can stay with for more than one year and win with (unlike PSG this year).

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