A childhood coated in coal dust
Well that was quick. One minute we were a nation with genuine World Cup dreams. The next, stumbling tourists unable to climb the steps to Macchu Pichu.
Even if the Socceroos had managed to beat Peru, we still wouldn’t have made it through courtesy of – surprise, surprise – a draw between France and Denmark. There have definitely been some – shall we say – less than 100% competitive encounters in the final matches of the group phase at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
But no matter. The tournament rolls on, and the Socceroos’ early exit gives us a chance to remove our green-and-gold goggles and engage with stories around players from other countries. Like this incredible piece on The Players’ Tribune with Argentina’s Angel Di Maria.
It’s just one of our favourite stories this week about elite sportspeople, as told by elite sportspeople, from our favourite athlete platforms around the world.
Just like you get on PlayersVoice every day.
the letter from real madrid
The chunk of this story being taken by football websites and other news outlets this week is the bit where Angel Di Maria talks about a letter from his club Real Madrid at the 2014 World Cup. Basically, they didn’t want him playing the final, risking aggravating an injury, and devaluing his worth on the transfer market.
Ah, the heartless business of football.
But we think the best stuff in this great, emotive story is the tales of his poverty-stricken childhood, the sacrifices his parents made, the risks he took. We love it when sportspeople turn out to be amazing humans.
Before the 2014 #WorldCup final, Ángel Di María received a letter from the Real Madrid staff urging him not to play.
“Throw it away. The one who decides here is me.”
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) June 25, 2018
aussie world cup reality check
Strap yourself in, you won’t enjoy this.
Dugout is a site that offers exclusive stories by some of the world’s biggest football stars. It ran a series ahead of this World Cup called ‘World Cup Stories’ and Australia is completely overlooked.
The only very brief blip when the Socceroos get a look-in is in their 2006 Cup wrap, when it’s noted that Australia were the other team on the pitch when the ref inexplicably awarded three yellow cards to a Croatian player. And that’s it. That’s the Socceroos’ entire World Cup legacy, according to a leading global football site. We’ve got a ways to go.
On the positive side, the site did run this excellent compilation of Socceroos gun Tom Rogic’s greatest moments, as part of its ‘World Cup Superstars’ series.
If they were making that video again, we’re sure they’d add his incredible run against Peru that could so easily have resulted in one of the great World Cup goals. You can watch it below.
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) June 27, 2018
bridging the gap between footy and life
Why is Carlton great and 1995 premiership winner Anthony Koutoufides standing on a bridge while he shares these excellent insights about his career and post-footy life?
No bloody idea, but it’s a great piece of storytelling by Exclusive Insight. Amazing how back in the day, there were no transitional plans for players after footy. Luckily he’s found a career and a purpose in the fitness industry. Onya, Kouta.
Hang on, he’s actually sitting on the bridge. Anyway, whatever. Get around it.
‘robbie’s already ruling the joint’
Shock us. Robbie Farah, the exiled Wests Tigers captain who spent a couple of years at the Rabbitohs, is back, and already ‘running the joint’.
These are the very tongue-in-cheek words of Josh Reynolds, who has opened up on athlete platform 20FOUR about this weekend’s match against the Gold Coast Titans at Leichhardt Oval – the much-loved suburban ground dubbed ‘the eighth wonder of the world’.
Although Reynolds is having a laugh, we can’t help thinking that the ninth wonder of the world would be if the notoriously headstrong Farah emerges from his second stint at the Tigers with no bad blood between him and anyone at the club.
You can watch his 30-second video here.
Leichhardt Oval on Game Day… 👌
Don't miss another cracking day out at the footy when we take on the Titans! pic.twitter.com/RjQmjpJmgD
— Wests Tigers (@WestsTigers) June 28, 2018
ange’s brave admission
He had a vision which no one at the pointy end of the FFA shared, he knew it, and it was time to go.
Ange Postecoglou said the major ingredient in all Socceroos teams is courage, and the man himself has plenty of it. Here’s hoping Arnie carries the torch.
If you haven’t read Ange’s story on our platform yet, we think you’ll find it better than a Berocca for your World Cup hangover.