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What You Didn’t Know about Antonio Banderas

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Spanish singer, actor, director and producer Antonio Banderas is a man of many talents within the entertainment industry. Before he became a renowned thespian in Spain and an international super star of the big screen, he wished to be a professional soccer player and was a part of Real Madrid’s youth team from 1974 to 1977 as a striker, but had to retire from the sport after an ankle injury. Even though he had to give up pursuing his first dream, Banderas is happy with his career decision to switch gears and become an actor.

“If I was a soccer player that would be over 15 years ago. I am very happy actually that I broke the foot,” said Banderas.

Following the damage to his foot, Banderas started taking drama classes in high school after seeing a production of the musical “Hair” and then went to the School of Dramatic Art in Malaga. Soon afterwards, he made his acting debut in a small theater. Later he toured with a troupe at a theater company throughout Spain at playhouses or on the streets, but he would be arrested at least three times for his performance in controversial works by playwrights like Bertolt Brecht under the repressive regime of General Francisco Franco.

In order to support his acting career when he moved to Madrid, Banderas had to wait tables and take modeling gigs. In 1981, Banderas’ patience soon paid off because at 21-years-old he became the youngest actor in the National Theatre of Spain. From there, he quickly captured the attention of one of Spain’s most celebrated directors, Pedro Almodovar, and became a part of the La Movida Madrilena film movement after the death of the dictator Franco, and collaborated in several of the filmmaker’s sexual and political liberation films.

After a string of films with Almodovar during the 1980s, Banderas made his Hollywood debut in the highly regarded movie, “The Mambo Kings,” as a Latin crooner. Critical and commercial success followed in films like “Philadelphia” and “Interview with a Vampire.” After starring with Madonna in “Evita,” Banderas became a Hollywood heartthrob and go-to leading man. This resulted in him nabbing the character of Zorro in the popular film franchise which is one of his most recognizable roles. The other being the scene stealing role of Puss in Boots in “Shrek 2,” a character that was so popular that it led to a spinoff film which earned $555 million internationally and will have a sequel (Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves) that will hit theaters Nov. 2, 2018.

“It did incredibly well with audiences and critics, all around the world, and the character is going to keep going… this character was born almost 12 years ago.  We have had a lot of fun with him, and it seems that audiences do, too.  So, we’re doing another one,” said Banderas.

For fans that can’t wait to see more from Banderas, he has two films that were announced this year (Dear Mister Obama and 33 dias), one in post-production (Altamira) and two films coming out later this year (Knight of Cups, The 33).

Fun Facts

  • He has a line of perfume
  • Banderas’ English was so poor when he first came to Hollywood the script for “The Mambo Kings” had to be made for him phonetically and the opposite happened for his co-star Armand Assante, who played his older Cuban brother, because Assante didn’t know Spanish
  • He has a 50 percent stake in a winery in Northern Spain
  • He serves as an officer for a religious brotherhood in Malaga and takes part of the Holy Week processions
  • He also does the Spanish voice over work for Puss in Boots

 

By Naeisha Rose

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THE 2016 SPANISH CLASICO: WHY WE WATCH

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Tradition is an attractive repetitive. Ritual reinforces the notion of comfort from the familiar. The Spanish Futbol match that encompasses all these is Real Madrid vs Barcelona or as it’s known as “El Clasico.”

Why is this match one of the most anticipated on the soccer calender?

STAR POWER

Both of these teams have had most of the best players in soccer history play for them. Real Madrid boasts of stars such as David Beckham, Emil Butragueno, Luis Figo, Hugo Sanchez, Michael Laudrup, Ronaldo, Raul, and now Christiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona counters with Gary Lineker, David Villa, Thierry Henry, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, Luis Enrique, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Romario, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi.

CHAMPIONSHIP PEDIGREE

Real Madrid has won a record 32 La Liga championships along wth 19 Copa del Rey’s. They also hold the record for most European Cups with eleven, three Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Barcelona counters with 24 La Liga titles, a record 26 Copa del Reys and five European Cups along with a record four UEFA Cups and record best three FIFA World Club Cups.

HISTORY

Real Madrid and Barcelona share a history as the symbols of their sections in Spain. Madrid, who plays in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium represented Castile, who were seen as a reflection of oppression from a fascist regime during the Spanish Civil War. Barcelona, who plays in the Nou Camp represented Catalonia, which spoke Castilian, which was suppressed by Franco during that same Civil War. The perceptions remain to this day. Real Madrid has the overall advantage in head to head battles coming out on top 71 times while Barcelona has won 67 matches with 32 draws in the mix.

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BEST PLAYER DEBATE

The argument of who is the best player in the game pits Lionel Messi of Argentina, who led his team to two Copa America and one FIFA World Cup Final but failed to win any of the three. Cristiano Ronaldo has a European Championship for Portugal under his belt this year but missed the Final due to injury. So the jury is still undecided on this one but that makes tomorrow’s game so intriging as the battle for soccer supremacy on the field, on the scoreboard, and in the lives of millions of Spanish fans are influenced through this classic of the ages.

LIONEL MESSI RETURN SIGNALS BIG THINGS TO COME FOR BARCELONA

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If only Lionel Messi had either a World Cup or Copa America trophy in his hands to show how well he has really done the past two years in World Futbol. Then came the ligament tear on September 26th that was heard from Spain to Argentina.

It could have been the best of times as Messi led his National team to the World Cup Final for the first time in in 25 years before its close loss to Germany and the Copa America ambush in Chile where a penalty kick meltdown led to the hosts to the promised land.

But Europe has always been a place where Messi always excells and with players like Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and Brazil’s Neymar on your side, the possibilities are endless.

Barcelona is the team to watch in Europe as Messi made an impressive return to the pitch, scoring twice, against Roma, in a 6-1 shellacking while aiding the Spanish club to the top slot in Group E of the Champion’s League.

“We played a perfect game”

Suarez proclaimed.

To say Barcelona is hot is to understate the obvious. Just ask Real Madrid, who were crushed 5-0 last Saturday in league play by their eternal rivals.

“Right now Barca is unstoppable,”

admitted Roma coach Rudi Garcia.

Now that the big three are together again, Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach, is enjoying the return of arguably the best player in the world today as he added his 78th and 79th goals in Champions competition history. The only one deemed better is the man who holds the goal record with 83, Cristano Ronaldo.

“We are in a sweet moment and hope to keep it going as long as possible,”

Enrique explained.

Though its still early, with the return of Messi and the reunion of the big three, a focus and motivation throughout the unit not seen before, and its historical pedigree, Barcelona may just be the next club soccer dynasty.

What You Didn’t Know about Cristiano Ronaldo

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Considered the best football player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has also become one of the wealthiest too. But, it wasn’t always that way. He came from a modest upbringing from the small Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. Determined to pursue his dream of becoming the best football player, Ronaldo went to the mainland of Portugal without his family at the ripe age of 12 as his father, Jose Dinis Aveiro battled addiction with alcohol. Once on the mainland, Ronaldo and his young teammates were often ganged-up on by robbers. In one incident, as his fellow players ran away from the robbers, he stood up to the would-be thieves and fought back.

“A gang jumped on me and my team-mates in the street. The other players ran away but I stood up and fought – and the robbers didn’t get anything,” said Ronaldo.

In 2003, Ronaldo signed with Manchester United and wore the number seven jersey, which once belonged to former renowned players like Bryan Robson and David Beckham. In England, Ronaldo never forgot where he came from, or his family. He was close with his father and as a youth they would watch football games together. With his newfound wealth he tried to help Aveiro fight his addiction to alcohol by sending him to the best treatment centers, but in 2005 his father passed away before a match against Russia.  After getting the devastating news from his former coach in Portugal, Felipe Scolari and listening to Scolari’s story about losing his own father, Ronaldo went back on to the field and played the match against Russia, honoring his father the best way he knew how.

“He decided to play the match against Russia rather than fly back to Portugal immediately. I now think Ronaldo is not just the best player in the world, but the best person too,” said Scolari.

Earlier this year Ronaldo won his second FIFA Balloon d’Or in two years and the third for his career. Not one to get too comfortable, Ronaldo hopes to win more for years to come. Currently he plays for Real Madrid.

“I never thought I would win three Gold Balls. Fantastic. I want to win as many as possible. It’s hard, it’s very difficult to win. But everything is possible,” said Ronaldo.

Fun Facts:

  • His full name is Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.
  • His middle name is “Ronaldo” because his dad was a fan of the actor Ronald Reagan, who later went on to become the 40th president of the United States.
  • Ronaldo was diagnosed with a racing heart at 15-years-old. After having laser surgery for the condition which could have ended his career he continued practicing football a few days later.
  • He doesn’t drink alcohol.
  • When recruiters from Sporting C.P. Youth and Academy were searching for new football players Ronaldo was up against his childhood friend, Albert Fantrau, in a game where whoever scored the best out of three will be accepted to its club. When they were head-to-head in points Fantrau had the ball for the last shot, but passed it to Ronaldo who he thought was more deserving of the prize. Ronaldo got the shot in and was accepted into the academy. After Ronaldo thanked his friend for his successful career, reporters seeked out the unemployed Fantrau, who by their surprise lived in a lavish home with a fancy car. When asked how he was able to afford his lifestyle, he said “it’s from Cristiano.”

By Naeisha Rose

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RAUL COMES TO NEW YORK COSMOS

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The New York Cosmos, champions of the second division NASL, in their return to soccer have been able to take advantage of a rule change for playoff qualification to be in a position to retain their championship.

In preparation for the future beyond this season, the Cosmos went into yesterday to acquire a 37 year player, Raul, from Spain, is one of the best players in the soccer world. Raul is well aware of the Cosmos history. “They helped establish soccer in America and I’m honored to follow in their footsteps.” Raul said.

“I believe in this club’s vision and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

A professional goal scorer par excellent, he holds record for most goals for Real Madrid, who he played for 16 years starting at age 17. He led them to six La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions Cups. That will be valuable for the 2015 season. He will sign a multi-year deal along with a front office position upon retirement.” He’s a world-class player and he adds a whole new dimension to our attack.” Head Coach Giovanni Savarese pointed out.

“Raúl isn’t coming here on a transitional basis. He is here to help us grow.”

He left to FC Schalke in Germany and in 98 games scored 40 goals and a Champions League Semi-final appearance in 2011. He teaches winnjng wherever he goes and is already been placed as technical advisor of the Cosmos Youth Academy. “He also brings immense passion and knowledge that he can share with our team and with the next generation of Cosmos players in our youth academy. Savarese said.

“He’ll help set the academy training curriculum, structure and establish our player development pyramid.”

Another example of the Cosmos commitment to long term success.