October 19th, 2002: A fresh-faced sixteen year-old Evertonian plucks the ball out of the air and blasts it into the Arsenal goal in the dying minutes.
“Remember the name, Wayne Rooney.”
And so we did.
There has always been an underlying sense that, in Wayne Rooney, there could’ve been more. And that should tell you all you need to know about how highly people thought of him in his earlier days; to look at a career as glittering as Rooney’s and feel even the slightest bit of disappointment is a sign of astronomical standards- and for good reason.
Teenaged Rooney was nothing short of a prodigy- something most people realized as he lit up the 2004 Euros. Manchester United did what so many other clubs wished they did and signed the eighteen year-old for around twenty-seven million pounds. A glorious debut hatrick in the Champions League against Fenerbahce was enough to make everyone forget all about that figure; here was a star.
Let’s have a quick look back on his skillset. Wayne Rooney had an unlikely combination of qualities: a passionate disposition, a fiery temper and a bull-like physique were traits that were rarely associated with a silky touch, unbelievable passing range and a football brain that worked two steps ahead of everyone else. However, in the case of England’s “Golden Boy,” that package was there for everyone to see. Rooney’s first few seasons were no disappointment- by the age of twenty-one he’d already racked up almost 60 goals for United, forming a perfect foil with the likes of van Nistelrooy and later, Ronaldo. The idea of Rooney sacrificing his own numbers to bring the best out of his strike partners would become a usual trend. Indeed, for ten or so years Manchester United’s main strikeforce consisted of Wayne Rooney and someone else- a testament to the Englishman’s consistency and commitment.
As United evolved, so did Rooney. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was lifting the Champions League trophy in Moscow in 2008, a season in which he’d once again played a supporting role with the likes of Ronaldo and Tevez in center stage. Regardless, Rooney was appreciated as one of United’s best players, though a shift was apparent. A player who looked like taking the world by storm was doing it in a different way- by bringing the best out of those around him. Of course, moments of explosive individual brilliance were still abundant enough to appreciate Rooney’s natural talent, but in his head, a more team-oriented mindset was clearly developing. That said, stats-wise his best days were still ahead of him.
Rooney’s best goal-scoring season was the 2009/2010 campaign, with a final tally of 34 goals. The fact that this came straight after Ronaldo’s United departure is by no means a coincidence. For the first time in his career, the Englishman was the focal point of United’s attack, and a Rooney as a pure striker was scintillating- still just 24, he was beginning to look like one of the great forwards of our time. Expectancies were at an all-time high for England fans, with the 2010 World Cup beckoning as the stage for Wayne Rooney to once and for all prove his world class status. Sadly, injury coupled with well-documented personal issues sent those expectancies crashing to the ground. England endured a forgettable campaign, with Rooney hardly looking like a shadow of the player he was a few months previous. Many would say this was the beginning of a very early end.
A testing six months followed, with Rooney continuing to struggle for form and fitness and even looking like he’d leave the club at one point. Although a resurgence followed -Rooney would go on to be extremely influential in the second half of the 2010/2011 season and indeed equaled his record goal tally in the 2011/2012 campaign- there was an unshakable feeling that something was lost. He was developing a knack of dropping deeper and a midfield role was even rumored for him, that relentless striker instinct slowly but surely fading away. One other thing was fading too- “the fire in his belly,” as David Moyes so aptly put it. One would normally appreciate a player’s maturation and a short temper is hardly a good quality to find in a football player, but it was different for Rooney. Ask any United fan and they’ll tell you- the Rooney screaming at referees and making frustrated crunching tackles was simply better than the one they had now, because with that anger came a dimension in his play that set him apart from other players.
One factor instrumental in the longevity of any football player is physical condition and its maintenance. Whichever way you look at it, Wayne Rooney did not look after his body, and for a player who made an average of 42 appearances per season since the age of sixteen, that was career suicide. His pace was deteriorating at an alarming rate and visible displays of unfitness were becoming more and more common. Perhaps the most surprising decline was that of his touch, which by his old standards had dropped to a level that was frankly unbelievable. Tragically, at the age of 29, the Golden Boy didn’t look to be glimmering again. Following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, Rooney was experimented on by a series of different managers until Jose Mourinho realized what had to be done and granted him an exit befitting of his legendary service to the Manchester United: A return to his boyhood club Everton.
The question of Wayne Rooney is a funny one. Never before has such an illustrious career been accompanied by such a disappointing career trajectory- how could you call Manchester United’s all-time top goalscorer, a club legend by all accounts, anything other than a resounding success? But then again, upon watching footage of that fiery-eyed eighteen year-old, one can't help but guiltily feel like we could have, perhaps should have, been given more.
It seems like yesterday when Egyptians across the country were huddled around their TV’s to watch Basel’s Mohamed Salah score on three different occasions against the mighty Chelsea.
But four years is a long time in football, and Salah proved just that.
It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in football or not- if you’re Egyptian, then you’ve heard the news. A couple of weeks ago Mo Salah finally put pen to paper on his move to Liverpool, which, no matter how you look at it, is a quite incredible rise for someone who learned their trade at El Mokawloon.
Of course, this isn’t Salah’s first big move- Chelsea decided to sign their tormentor in 2014, although it didn’t quite work out for him in the Premier League. Competing against the likes of Hazard and Willian, the Egyptian’s opportunities were few far between, which resulted in a loan move to Fiorentina; a move which proved the end of his short spell at Chelsea and perhaps the most important of his career.
Six months in Florence turned into a renaissance period for Salah, who took to Serie A like a duck to water and became an established first-teamer, scoring nine goals in all competitions. This attracted the attention of the likes of Roma, who moved quickly.
Rome’s new golden boy had arrived.
Ask anyone what Salah is about, and they’ll say one thing: Pace. While that is undeniably one of his biggest assets, the winger’s game has developed immeasurably during his time in Italy. Despite his obvious affinity for wide spaces, has shown an increasing capability for intricate one-touch play. In fact, since going to Italy, no player has created more chances from inside the box in the country- a stat further reinforced by Salah’s devastating partnership with Edin Dzeko in the 16/17 season. Indeed, Salah’s immense performances have culminated in a comeback to the Premier League, this time as Liverpool’s record signing.
Now, despite being just 25, Salah is no stranger to a big move. It’s been three years since his seemingly dreamlike move to Chelsea, but Egyptians have never been as excited as they are now- and that is for good reason. This time, the winger looks primed to take the Premier League by storm, and we’ll take a look at why.
Liverpool aren’t a club lacking firepower. And, to tell the truth, Salah is unlikely to be the ultimate solution to all their issues. However, the prospect of Mane (whom Salah overtook as Africa’s most expensive export) on the left and Salah on the right is enough to strike fear into Premier League defenders’ hearts. Whilst Firmino is a very different player to Dzeko, his tendency to drop deep and create for those around him could prove to be a perfect foil for Salah, and his goalscoring could even be amplified as a result. It’s not a sure thing by any means, but it’s hard not to see Salah thrive in Klopp’s high-pressure, free-flowing system.
Here’s the thing; this Mohamed Salah is a very very different player to the one who hastily joined Chelsea three years ago. And that’s exactly why we’re so excited.
One question has undoubtedly been on all of our lips lately: Could it actually happen?
It seems to have all started on that day in Lisbon, in perhaps the most meaningful “meaningless friendly” of all time. A few people may have gawked at Sporting Lisbon defeating Manchester United by three goals to one, but looking back, that scoreline seems utterly irrelevant. See, that day, tormenting the United defense at every opportunity they got, was a young spaghetti-haired boy by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Against his own wishes, Ronaldo had the #7 shirt bestowed upon him, previously worn by the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona, and David Beckham. It’s fair to say you are forgiven if you didn’t think the erratic Portuguese would surpass all three- he took us all by surprise. Ronaldo had a stop-start first three years at United, both dazzling and frustrating in equal amounts. Many supporters were starting to lose patience even- writing him off as another one-trick pony who, when the going got tough, wasn’t of much value to a team. He was twenty-one.
2006 came, and with it Ronaldo’s first World Cup. While Portugal’s semi-final exit could be seen as a relative success, one particularly interesting subplot unfolded. In the quarter-finals against England, controversy surrounded United teammate Wayne Rooney who was in hot water after stamping on Ricardo Carvalho. Ronaldo spotted the incident and through his admittedly petulant objections, was seen as the chief factor in getting Rooney sent off. His subsequent wink didn’t help his case much.
His future was very much up in the air- many supporters booed him upon his return to Old Trafford, and questions were asked about his subsequent relationship with Wayne Rooney. However, in a manner that would soon become typical, Ronaldo defied the odds. Amongst the doubt and controversy, the 2006/07 season saw Cristiano Ronaldo truly break out, becoming a key factor in winning his first Premier League title and developing a reputation as one of the most frightening left wingers in the world, forging an irresistible partnership with none other than Wayne Rooney. His clean sweep of all four English Player of the Year awards was by no means an exaggerated accolade.
Cristiano Ronaldo had arrived.
If that were the season when he proved himself as world class, then 2007/2008 was when it was set in stone that he was one of the world’s best. Thirty-one goals in the Premier League and forty-two in total was absolutely unheard of, for a left winger no less. The last of those 42, a towering header in Moscow, helped deliver Manchester United’s last Champions League title to date and their first one since 1999. He knew it, the club knew it, and the world knew it. Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player on the planet, and his first Ballon d’Or trophy testified to that.
His heart set on the white of Madrid, a lesser season followed. Lesser, by Ronaldo’s standards, meaning a mere twenty-six goals, another Premier League title, and a second consecutive Champions League final, although this time bested by Barcelona. He’d lost out on the Ballon d’Or that season by a certain Lionel Messi- a rivalry was born, a rivalry that was supercharged by Ronaldo’s next move. In August of 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo finally got his move to Real Madrid for fortune.
Turns out it was the bargain of the century.
Now, 406 goals, two league titles, three Champions League trophies, and a whopping four more Ballon d’Or awards later, rumors of Ronaldo’s discontentment in the Spanish capital have surfaced and, naturally, the world turned their heads toward Manchester United. Is a return on the cards? The Portuguese, even after cementing his status as a Madrid legend, has talked about how close the club is to his heart, and after all, United fans still sing his name to this day; the questionable circumstances in which he left have in no way left a bad taste in their mouths. Perhaps it left nothing but a void, a longing in fans’ hearts that they haven’t seen the last of him. And that is why when you ask any Manchester United fan around the world, they’d tell you that they would welcome Cristiano Ronaldo back with open arms.
Now… could it actually happen?
Today, we celebrate a legend.
Last Saturday, the season culminated in a stunning 4-1 victory to Real Madrid, who henceforth became the first team to take home the Champions League trophy in consecutive seasons. In the heart of it all was Cristiano Ronaldo, who buried a brace against the previously impenetrable Buffon and co. Now this may seem like an extraordinary feat for anyone, but for the man from Madeira who had Manuel Neuer and the Atletico Madrid defense at his mercy, it was nothing more than another day at the office.
Oh, and he did it in purple.
The Sport Shop has come a long way, and we’d love nothing more than to treat you, our ever-loyal customers. And what better way to do that than to commemorate one of the history’s finest players by giving away a signed shirt in the very colors he lit up Cardiff in. That’s right, we’re giving away a Cristiano Ronaldo jersey signed by the man himself.
The steps to get your hands on the shirt are simple. Starting from today, June 5th and running through to June 27th, any orders placed equal to or above 300 EGP in value will be recorded. Every one of these orders equates to a ticket which will have your order number and name on it. That’s right- every order you make placed above the minimum value will earn you an extra ticket, increasing your chances to win the huge prize! Furthermore, orders placed by credit card will have double the chances of winning than regular cash-on-delivery orders. Come July 4th, a raffle will be held on both Facebook and Instagram live video and the winning ticket will be drawn randomly.
Ronaldo 7. Iconic. And it’s only fitting that icons.com (via their closed signing sessions), is the site we used to give you, the fans, the ultimate opportunity to celebrate the phenomenon that is Cristiano Ronaldo.
Best of luck!
(For any questions, customer service is available from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM at 010 9852 0433, or you can send us a direct Facebook message or email us at tss-eg.com)
With the Euro set to kick-off on Friday, we take a look at the young players who are expected to impress this summer.
Anthony Martial - France
After his move from AS Monaco to Manchester United, many expected Martial’s enormous transfer fee of £36million to be heavy on his shoulders but the player arrived banging on the doors of opponents. Scoring 18 goals in all competitions in his first season at United is not a bad feat either. Anthony finished the season by winning Young Player of the Year at United.
Kingsley Coman - France
At the age of 19, you’d be surprised how much Coman has already won. The player moved to Bayern Munich to win the German league and cup, having previously won the league and cup in Italy and France. He’s just 19!
Marcus Rashford – England
Now talk about a way to announce yourself to the world. A brace on your Man United and Europa league debut, followed by another brace on your Premier League debut… A goal in your first Manchester derby, two goals against Arsenal and a goal on your first match for England’s senior team. Better yet? The kid was born on the 31st of October, 1997.
Leroy Sane - Germany
Sane comes from a family of athletes. His mother is a former German Rhythmic Gymnast Champion, his father is a former Senegalese international, Sane has all it takes to make the stage his own at the Euros. Fast, skillful and has a good shot on him, the Schalke man will be looking to impress.
Dele Alli - England
1 year ago, Alli was at MK Dons in League One. Today, he’s the PFA’s Young Player of the Year and will probably start for England at the Euros. This is the stuff of dreams.
Honorable mentions include Switzerland’s Breel Embolo, Belgium and Liverpool’s Divock Origi, Portugal’s Renato Sanches and Julian Weigl from Germany. These are our picks, what are yours?
Leicester City – From Relegation to Champions
The English champions are considered a fairy tale not only for being crowned champions after barely escaping relegation in 14/15 season, but more importantly for how they were able to entertain fans worldwide and pull off an entirely unexpected run of consistent performances with a squad full of unknown names to prove that money's influence in sports is after all limited to what the actual "players" of the game can offer. The underperformance of the EPL's powerhouses does not affect this achievement in anyway. This achievement is only a result of Leicester City's backroom staff, squad and club chairman's hard work throughout the entire season.
Watching Leicester City in the UEFA Champions League next season is an exciting thought for all football fans worldwide!
Atletico Madrid – The European Black Horse
Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone became one of the strongest European teams. In just under 5 years he led them to their first La Liga in 19 years, their second Europa League Cup, their second UEFA Super Cup, and a Champions League runner-up.
Simeone's strategy proved that you can build a winning team out of nothing and create world class players from starlets.
They still have a chance to make history on the 28th of May's UCL Final with the derby of Madrid in Milano.
Liverpool – Klopp's Influence
Simeone is not the only coach on the scene with a talent to win cups & leagues out of thin air. Jurgen Klopp's impact with BVB was honored by their loyal fans when Liverpool visited the Iduna Park Stadium for the 1st leg of the Europa League this season.
After 7 years and 5 cups with BVB, Klopp took over at Liverpool and reached the Final of Europa League, the second biggest competition in Europe, after magical performances specially in the 2nd leg against BVB in April after a comeback from 1-3 to win the game with aggregate in the last minute 4-3!
With a total worth of $3.3B for Manchester United's squad and $1.6B for Chelsea's squad, the latter's worth being more than 50x the EPL champions ($78M), they both proved that no money can secure titles. Both clubs have been involved with more business than sports lately specially with Manchester United being a "stock trading club". Both clubs have changed their managers a few times in the last couple of years and created a job insecurity that makes it extremely hard for any manager that takes charge to do his job properly.
For example, Sir Alex Ferguson built a very strong foundation for the Manchester United football team that stayed competing for over 20 years. Any manager that will take charge now will need at least a couple years to reform the team based on his own managerial structure. Manchester United & Chelsea are 2 of the best teams in England and they already have what it takes to bring back titles to their cabinets. All they need is for fans, squad, and staff to place their trust in the coming manager and give him time to rebuild their beautiful game.
Manchester City – From A Super Run, To No Run
Manchsester City's run this season was one of their best ever. Not only were they a strong contender in the EPL title race and reached the UCL semi-finals (eliminated only with an "own-goal"), they also won the Football League Cup. If it wasn't for Manchester City's management deciding to announce 4 months before the end of the season that Guardiola will take over starting from next season, it could have been a historic season for The Citizens.
They have quality players as well as experienced & skillful managers and they are backed by their amazing fans. Whether it's for the injuries or for the condensed schedule of games between the league, cups, and European leagues, both London teams are missing consistency in their form. Maybe it's time for some backend staff rotation.
Real Madrid – Zidane's Leadership In the Spanish Capital
Real Madrid started their 2015/2016 season in a really good form and they were the leaders in La Liga for the first few months, before their performance dropped completely by the beginning of this year and crashed out of the Copa Del Rey as they broke the Spanish Federation rules.
When Zidane took over a couple of months after terrible performances, he turned around a losing team into a winning team, witnessed by how they shocked Barcelona at the Camp Nou 1-2, even though they were the underdogs with 10 points difference. Not only that, they now also have a chance of becoming the European champions for 11th time in their history, thanks to Zidane's leadership.
They are arguably the best two teams in Europe currently. Both only won their domestic league titles and were knocked out of the UCL by the same opponent, Atletico Madrid. They were both stunned by an attacking and passionate team and not even FCBs' players & managers expected the amazing performances. Those 4 UCL fixtures can be a true lesson to all teams to always give your best and respect your opponents.
Juventus – The Coming European Champions
For 2 years straight, the 5 consecutive years Italian champion has been impressing fans globally with their strong performances in the UCL. Last year they were a runner-up to Barcelona after losing 3-1. This year Bayern Munich barely eliminated them with a comeback from 0-2 to 4-2 in the extra time after probably the most entertaining & intense game of the season.
A fan of them are not, Juventus are one of the few teams that all true football fans love to watch play.
If one of your friends is a die-hard fan of a football club, then you'll surely need to get him one of these five gift ideas
1 - Keychains
Your keys are something that is always close to you, and so is your favorite football club. Keychains at TSS come in different shapes for a number of clubs. You can get your friend a keychain with one of his favorite players on it, like this Steven Gerrard keyring, or a one with your friend's favorite club's logo on it like this Chelsea keyring coming straight from Stamford Bridge, or even a fancy Italian leather Liverpool one.
What a great way to start a perfectly productive work day with coffee from your favorite football team's mug.TSS sells diverse types of mugs like the tea tub mug for those cozy match days you're watching at home and the aluminium and plastic travel mugs to use on your way to work every day.
You'll find an amazing collection that ranges from the top European leagues official footballs, to the Euro 16 footballs and even unique old school retro soccer balls that you won't find easily in Egypt! Check this Liverpool ball and see for yourself now!
It will also be a great way for your friend to show off his UEFA Euro 2016 ball when he goes for a Thursday night football match.
Yes, these do exist and we have them on TSS.. Take a look at this fancy Arsenal watch.