Roberto Carlos’ Physics-Defying Free Kick

Brazilian Roberto Carlos’s 1997 free-kick against France curved so sharply that it left goalkeeper Fabian Barthez standing still and looking puzzled.

Now, a study published in the New Journal of Physics suggests that the long-held assumption that the goal was a fantastic fluke is wrong.

A French team of scientists discovered the trajectory of the goal and developed an equation to describe it.

They say it could be repeated if a ball was kicked hard enough, with the appropriate spin and, crucially, the kick was taken sufficiently far from goal.

Roberto Carlos scored his wonder goal during the inaugural match of the Tournoi de France, a friendly international football tournament that was held in France ahead of the 1998 World Cup.

Follow the curve

Many pundits referred to it as “the goal that defied physics”, but the new paper outlines the equation that describes its trajectory exactly.

“We have shown that the path of a sphere when it spins is a spiral,” lead researcher Christophe Clanet from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris told the press.

roberto-carlos-impossible-free-kick

Dr Clanet described this path as a “snail-shell shaped trajectory”, with the curvature increasing as the ball travels.

Because Roberto Carlos was 35m (115ft) from the goal when he kicked the ball, more of this spiral trajectory was visible. So the apparently physics-defying sharp turn of the ball was actually following a naturally tightening curve.

Dr Clanet and his colleague David Quere were studying the trajectory of bullets when they made their sporting discovery.

They used water and plastic balls with the same density as water to “simplify the problem”.

Long flight

This approach eliminated the effects of air turbulence and of gravity and revealed the pure physical path of a spinning sphere.

“On a real soccer pitch, we will see something close to this ideal spiral, but gravity will modify it,” explained Dr Clanet.

“But if you shoot strongly enough, like Carlos did, you can minimise the effect of gravity.”

The crucial aspect of the wonder strike, according to the scientists, was the distance the ball had to travel to beat Fabian Barthez.

“If this distance is small,” said Dr Clanet, “you only see the first part of the curve.

“But if that distance is large – like with Carlos’s kick – you see the curve increase. So you see the whole of the trajectory.”

Memorable Fevicol Ads During Cricket Broadcasts on TV

I grown up in a neighborhood of working-class families that lived under the same roof. Regardless of the background, ethnicity, education, preferences, and everyday struggles, there was this sense of one-ness. Few things were as exhilarating and festivity-inducing as the India’s cricket matches. I remember the take-no-prisoner-craze and interest bestowed on cricket, and the integral part it played in the lives of so many men, rich and poor, young and old. None could match the degree of bondage that had been forged during the day-long cricket match. One of the sweetest ingredients that used to enhance the experience of this family-cricket-dish was the timely and creative Fevicol ads that used to come during commercial breaks. They used to spark a torrent of laugh and humor among all the cricket watchers, even during trying times.

After all these years, I couldn’t help but hold my breath in awe when I watch them.

The creative strategy of Fevicol has always been to rise above the physical bonding of tables and chairs, and instead bond with the consumers by taking a strategy that is metaphorical. These gems by Fevicol over the years will prove it :

Who can forget the ad that shows a curious cook trying to break an egg. Little did he know…

How can we not remember this brainy fish catcher?!

Or this memorable ad that gave us the sure shot way of tackling mischievous toddlers.

Shadows follow us, or do they? 

The one where we kept wondering how they didn’t fall off the bus, but then again, we knew why.

Classic Fevicol. Classic Rajkumar Hirani.

Lionel Messi

A player who is still playing in Europe and still at the height of his powers. In spite of trying not to exalt and ‘jinx’ a player midway through his career, so beyond doubt is his legendary status already that there is not really a good or bad time to write a profile feature on the life and career of Lionel Messi. As the incomparable, complete playmaker-forward hybrid that Messi is, there have already been countless features on his life on and off the pitch. The only thing is, it can’t really be overstated just how privileged we are to watch his journey unfold, and just how easy it is to take Messi for granted. We’ve had eras and glimpses of total football all over the globe at different points in time: 1960s and 70s Ajax and Holland, 1970s Brazil, Barcelona for the last decade. Bottle everything that these teams have possessed going forward – pace, power, elite technique, superior tactical knowledge and telepathic understanding of tempo, space, and positioning – into one enigmatic freak of football, and you get Messi.

It is sometimes said that Messi would have struggled to break through as a senior professional had it not been for the medical treatment he underwent as a tiny 11-year-old to help battle his growth hormone deficiency. Born in Rosario, Argentina on 24 June 1987, Messi spent his childhood as a physically underdeveloped footballing phenomenon, impressing so much at Newell’s Old Boys that he earned a move to Barcelona’s La Masia at the age of 11. But it’s hard not to think that even a physically stunted Messi who lacked the pace and power he currently possesses would still have made it at an elite level in world football. Instead of being the lethal penetrative dribbler, playmaker and finisher that he is now, Messi would still have been able to make use of his vision and passing ability to fit into a deeper playmaker role that has been occupied by the likes of the Xavi and Pirlo. Even as a tiny 10 year old, watching him play at La Masia, it’s clear that he already had the touch, the complete control. He had ‘it’

It was at Barcelona where Messi’s career truly took off and flourished. He became the youngest player ever to play and score in La Liga for Barcelona, coming on as a substitute against Espanyol in October 2004 and scoring against Albacete Balompié in May 2005 at the age of 17 years, ten months and seven days. The next season, Messi’s hattrick in Barcelona’s 3-3 draw with Real Madrid forced Diego Maradona to declare that “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.”. As if to fulfil Maradona’s prophetic claim, just over one year later Messi scored one of his most memorable and historically significant goals of his career. Replicating Maradona’s famous goal in the 1986 World Cup against England, Messi dribbled from the halfway line past 5 players and the goalkeeper to score a scarcely believable goal against Getafe in the 2006-07 Copa del Rey. As teammate Deco described it, “These are the goals that go down in history. It is the most beautiful goal I’ve ever seen.”

By the time 21-year-old Messi ditched his number 19 shirt for the coveted number 10 (made available by the departing Ronaldinho), he had already racked up 42 goals, two La Liga titles, two Supercopas, and a Champions League title in 110 matches. It was at this point, though, that Messi’s career went into overdrive. Rather than bow under the pressure that the historic number 10 Barcelona shirt brought with it (players like Ronaldinho and Rivaldo made history wearing it), Messi instead made it impossible for anyone else to live up to the shirt in the future. From 2008-09 onwards for Barcelona, Messi has scored 370 goals and registered over 100 assists in 372 matches. It’s a mindboggling statistic, particularly due to the fact that Messi has that many assists whilst also being the primary scorer in the team.

These goals since 2008 have won his Barcelona side five La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys, three Champions League titles, and have personally earned him a record four consecutive Ballon d’Ors. Every year since this incredible record began, Messi has improved. Every goal, every assist, every play is bettered the next week, next month, or next season. His drive to improve is comparable only to that of Ronaldo. Messi’s relentless improvement has been no clearer to see than during this season. Messi’s goal against Bayern Munich in this year’s victorious Champions League campaign was hailed as possibly the best he has ever scored. The context certainly elevated the significance of the already impressive goal, as he dribbled past Jerome Boateng with humiliating ease to then dink a delicate finish over Neuer to give Barcelona a 2-0 away lead at Bayern Munich that effectively sealed their place in the Champions League semi-final. And it probably was his best ever goal, until his goal in the Copa del Rey Final three weeks later. This time the opposition were Athletic Bilbao, and this time he humiliated four players, not one.

But forget goals. Forget assists. Forget dribbles… Just the fact that someone has been able to make a 12-minute video of Messi successfully taking on 3 defenders or MORE shows that we are lucky to witness such a supremely talented technician every week. And even then, dribbling past players is only one of his many many strengths.

We will most likely never see anyone so naturally perfect at such an impossibly complex sport, and this view is shared by a large number of football’s greatest ever players. The scary thing is that, at 28, there is still a lot to come from Messi. Needless to say, his greatness will transcend time and eras in football. As Arsène Wenger simply put it, “Who is the best player in the world? Lionel Messi. Who is the best player ever? Lionel Messi.”

 

Indian Wells ATP Masters’ March

Roger Federer edged Steve Johnson 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in a hard-serving duel at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, setting up a fourth-round match against Rafael Nadal.

Federer fired 12 aces – his fastest serve registering 131 mph – and never faced a break point against Johnson, who reached 136 on the radar gun and fought off all four break points against him.

Nadal advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win against 26th-seeded Fernando Verdasco for his 50th career victory at the desert tournament, where he’s won three titles but none since 2013.

Five-time Indian Wells winner Novak Djokovic defeated 2013 finalist Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and next faces Nick Kyrgios in the same quarter of the draw as Federer and Nadal.

”The third set was the best tennis I’ve played this year probably,” Djokovic said. ”I’m just hoping I can carry this confidence, especially on the return, to tomorrow’s match because I’m going to need that.”

On the women’s side, No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber lost to 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3 in the fourth round. Kerber is assured of retaking the No. 1 ranking from injured Serena Williams next week.

No. 9 Madison Keys was beaten by 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4.

Federer is a four-time champion at Indian Wells who won his last title in 2012. He defeated Nadal in the Australian Open final in January for his record 18th Grand Slam title. Their meeting on Wednesday will be the earliest they have played since their first match in 2004 at Miami, where Nadal won.

”Because it’s early in the tournament, I think we both don’t quite yet know to 100 percent how everything feels,” Federer said. ”There is a bit of the unknown, which is exciting maybe for the fans to see how we’re going to try to figure that part out.”

Federer hit 32 winners against Johnson, including a forehand volley that earned him a mini-break in the first set tiebreaker. He won five of the next six points and closed out the set on Johnson’s desperate backhand lob that landed wide.

Johnson held at 6-all to force the second tiebreaker and fell behind 4-2. He broke Federer for a 4-all tie before Federer won on his second match point when Johnson netted a backhand.

”In the second set, I think he was serving almost 90 percent at one point,” Federer said. ”That’s why I changed my position on the return. I was trying to mix it up a bit.”

Nadal closed out his 1 1/2-hour, third-round match in 95-degree (35 C) heat with a forehand winner.

Nadal won 80 percent of his first-serve points and three of five break points. Verdasco, who won eight straight points for a 3-2 lead in the second set, had seven double faults.

Nadal called it unlucky that he and Federer were to play before the quarterfinals. The Spaniard leads the rivalry 23-12, including a 9-8 edge on hardcourts.

”It doesn’t matter if everybody is playing well because from our part of the draw, only one of us is going to be in that semifinals,” Nadal said. ”So that’s tough, but that’s not happening every week. Only thing we can do to avoid that is be in higher position of the ranking.”

French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain planned to watch the latest chapter in the Federer-Nadal rivalry.

”I think everybody is going to watch that match,” she said. ”Everybody likes Rafa. Everybody likes Roger. It’s history over there.”

Venus Williams advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2001 with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Shuai Peng, the last remaining qualifier in the draw. She had 40 winners, 40 unforced errors and won the final four games of the match after trailing 3-2.

”It was so frustrating,” Williams said. ”But I feel like I got my focus more in that second set and towards the end of the third because I’m just a competitor. If things get closer, then I think my better tennis is going to come.”

Williams ended her 15-year boycott of the event last year, when she lost in the second round.

In other women’s matches, No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova advanced when 15th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky retired trailing 5-1 in the first set; Muguruza defeated No. 10 Elina Svitolina 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-0; No. 19 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova outlasted No. 5 Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; and No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova beat 21st-seeded Caroline Garcia.

On the men’s side, No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori routed 25th-seeded Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-2; American Donald Young defeated 14th-seeded Lucas Pouille 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; No. 15 Nick Kyrgios beat No. 18 Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4; and Malek Jaziri got by American wild card Taylor Fritz 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Gritty Nadal Beats Daring Dimitrov To Face Federer In The Final — The Legendary Fedal Tennis is Back!

A standing ovation greets the players as they assume their respective positions at either end of the court. Nadal has ball in hand. He’s in control of his own destiny. Dimitrov can only hope. Nadal is three points away when Dimitrov knocks a backhand return wide. Dimitrov’s head has gone. He smacks a forehand long and it’s 30-0. Uncle Toni is encouraging his nephew from the stands. The nephew mishits a backhand. 30-15. Suddenly it’s 30-all. Dimitrov comes up with a good forehand pass. Nadal volleys. Dimitrov clips a backhand past him. Nadal thinks he’s hit an ace. It’s called out and overruled by the umpire. Dimitrov challenges. And … it’s in! Nadal finally has a match point! But it’s not over yet. Dimitrov takes control with a low forehand, then smashes confidently for deuce. But of course. Nadal earns a second match point, though, a serve down the middle forcing Dimitrov to block a spinning backhand wide. There are four hours and 54 minutes on the clock. A Nadal forehand clips the top of the net. Dimitrov thumps one into the right corner. On we go. Nadal serves wide. Dimitrov stretches and knocks a forehand long. He looks phlegmatic. A third match point, then. They rally. Nadal defends. He runs. He defends some more. And finally, mercifully, at long last, an epic semi-final draws to a close when Dimitrov sends a backhand long. That’s it. It’s all over. There was no denying the legend in the end. He’ll meet another one on Sunday. Despite the admirable Grigor Dimitrov’s best efforts, the Australian Open final will be contested between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

It will be Rafael Nadal against Roger Federer in the Australian Open final after the Spaniard withstood a gritty performance from Grigor Dimitrov to prevail 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 in an exhilarating contest on Friday night in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park.

It was an emotional victory for the 30-year-old Nadal, who is through to his first Grand Slam final since winning the 2014 Roland Garros crown – his 14thmajor triumph. It will be his fourth final appearance at Melbourne Park, having lifted the trophy in 2009, beating Federer in a dramatic five-set finale, and finished runner-up in 2012 (l. to Djokovic) and 2014 (l. to Wawrinka).

“It was a fantastic match. Very emotional,” said Nadal. “I think Grigor played great. I played great. So was a great quality of tennis tonight. For me, it is amazing to be through to a final of a Grand Slam again here in Australia at the start of the year. Means a lot to me. I feel the love of the people here. They give me a lot of positive energy.

“I feel very happy to be part of this match. There was a moment in the fifth set that for sure I wanted to win. I said to myself, ‘I am giving my best, I am playing very well. If I lose, that’s it. Grigor deserves it, too.’ I think both of us deserved to be in that final. It was a great fight. Finally was me. I feel lucky. I am very happy for that.”

Sunday evening on Rod Laver Arena will mark the first Nadal-Federer contest since the 2015 Basel final and their 35th battle overall. Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 23-11, winning five of their past six meetings. It will be the first time since the 2011Roland Garros final, which Nadal won, that they have contested a Grand Slam championship.

Top 10 Soccer Goal Scorers of 2016

With just a few days to go in 2016, we are looking at the players to score the most league goals (across Europe’s top ten leagues) in this calendar year.

In 2015 the man at the top of the chart was Cristiano Ronaldo (with Alex Teixeira second and Lionel Messi third). Ronaldo was also the main man in 2014 (ahead of Messi) and in 2013 (ahead of Luis Suarez and Messi), while in 2012 it was Messi who topped the list with Ronaldo in second.

In fact, the last time neither Ronaldo nor Messi topped the chart was 2009, and the man at the top of that chart was Suarez. Could he do it again? Or could Zlatan pip him with a hat-trick against Middlesbrough on Saturday?

10) Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar) – 24
While Islam Slimani and Andrea Belotti have also scored 24 league goals in 2016, they have needed 34 and 38 games respectively. Smolov has needed only 23. Phwoar. He missed a month through injury and the Russian league is now in hibernation, and yet still he sits above Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mauro Icardi and Harry Kane in this list. The most astonishing thing about this ridiculous 2016? He was signed by Krasnodar for nothing in 2015 after three goals in 68 games for Dynamo Moscow. You won’t remember him from Euro 2016 because some fool played him on the wing.

9) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 27
Five goals in his last four Bundesliga games have catapulted the Pole up the rankings, though a record of a goal every 100 minutes of league football looks pretty shabby next to the records of the sub-90 men at the top of the list. Lewandowski has now scored an astonishing 133 goals in 210 Bundesliga games and yet there are still many who dismiss him as ‘just a finisher’. Maybe. But what a bloody finisher.

8) Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – 27
Just the 17 goals in the second half of last season (including a hat-trick against Chelsea) and now ten in 12 under Pep Guardiola. Logic says that he would be higher up this list if he hadn’t insisted on doing two utterly stupid things already this season. He was on our list of top ten Premier League players of 2016 because you simply cannot ignore the statistics, but Guardiola is not alone in wanting to see a little bit more from the Argentine. Though a goal every 95 minutes is none top shabby.

7) Edinson Cavani (PSG) – 27
To the naked eye, he can look like a clown. And yet he has scored 18 goals in 17 games for PSG this season, thriving after stepping out of the giant, big-nosed shadow cast by Zlatan. Yes, it’s only the French league but six Champions League goals suggest that this is not the form of a flat-track bully. Unai Emery may be under pressure in Paris, but Cavani is the reason he is still in a job. He has scored 47% of their league goals this season.

6) Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon) – 28
It still seems astonishing that his 15 Ligue Un goals since the turn of the year did not bring a) a summer transfer or b) a call-up by France. To Lacazette’s credit, he has just kept on keeping on, and has scored 13 goals in 14 league games this season – though it’s worth noting that he scored every 100 minutes in 2016 while Cavani notched every 87. Will anybody pay the reported £60m transfer fee for a 25-year-old with one international goal?

5) Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli and Juventus) – 30
Should a 28-year-old striker have cost £78m? After 36 Serie A goals last season (with 20 goals in the 2016 run-in), Juventus clearly thought the Argentine was worth the outlay to truly challenge for the Champions League. His ten goals in 17 Serie A games this season is a decent record, but the Old Lady will expect rather more bang for their buck. You don’t pay £78m for a striker to score fewer goals than Dries Mertens. But score the goal to win the Champions League and all will be forgotten.

4) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 31
This looks like a poor year from Ronaldo until you look closely at the figures and see that those 31 goals have come in just 30 La Liga games, giving him a record of a goal every 84 league minutes this calendar year. Which means he has actually been more efficient than during a goal-laden 2015. Oh and he won Euro 2016, the Champions League and is well on the way to winning La Liga. So it’s not been all bad.

3) Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 32
The total is higher but Messi has actually played five more games than Ronaldo and only Lacazette and Lewandowski on this list have a higher minutes-per-goal rate than Messi. As usual with the Argentine, it’s his consistency that is astonishing – he has only had ‘endured’ one three-game league spell with no goals in the whole of 2016. He is joint top scorer in La Liga this season with Luis Suarez, but it’s his Champions League record that is astonishing: Just the ten goals in five games then…

2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG and Manchester United) – 35
He left PSG with a ridiculous burst of 15 goals in eight games. Easier league, oui, but bloody hell. By his own admission, he has found life harder in the Premier League, but he has still scored 12 goals in his first 17 league games in England and only Diego Costa has been more prolific in England in 2016/17. Not bad for a man who has just turned 35. And he has one more game against Middlesbrough to ease past the man at the top of this list…

1) Luis Suarez (Barcelona) – 37
Ronaldo obviously won all the prizes in a year in which he has won both Champions League and European Championship, but Suarez is undoubtedly European football’s form striker. Fourteen goals in five games as Barcelona wrapped up La Liga in May has been followed by 12 goals in 15 games at the start of this season as they attempt to keep pace with Real Madrid once again. A goal every 80 sodding minutes in the league? Wow. Just wow.

Fedal Flowers

ao-6

The 2009 Australian Open Men’s Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men’s Singles tournament at the 2009 Australian Open. It was contested between the world’s top two players for much of the previous four years, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, then ranked first and second in the world respectively. It was their seventh (out of eight) meeting in a Grand Slam final, but their first, and so far only one, outside of either the French Open or Wimbledon. This was Rafael Nadal’s first Grand Slam hard court final while it was Roger Federer’s ninth and at the time he was yet to lose in a Grand Slam hard court final.

Nadal defeated Federer in five sets in four hours and twenty-three minutes, with the match finishing after midnight, to become the first Spaniard, male or female, to win the Australian Open. The match was lauded as one of the greatest ever at the Australian Open and it was yet another high quality match between two of the greatest players of all time, almost seven months since their epic 2008 Wimbledon final.

The opening set took precisely one minute less than the women’s final at 58 minutes. It was not of the highest quality compared to their Wimbledon final, though the tension was immense. Everybody was watching the world No1 like a hawk, wondering if his Friday night-Saturday morning semi-final against fellow Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco, which lasted more than five hours, had taken away his edge. The general perception was that he was just a shade slower, though this could easily have been an optical illusion, given Federer’s languid movement. He never seems in a hurry, even when moving at maximum speed.

It was a curious opening with no fewer than five breaks of serve, Federer establishing a 4-2 lead, then contriving to lose it. Nadal was hitting some wonderful backhands, striking with a power that jolted the Swiss. Neither was serving well, though the warning bells clanged for Federer when he lost his serve for a fourth time midway through the second set. The crowd, longing to be part of history, and as much as they admired Nadal, urged Federer on and he duly responded, winning four successive games to win the second set.

Federer’s service percentage for that second set was a mere 37%. That he still managed to level the match increased the feeling that Nadal was struggling physically. After one deep run to his left, after which he pulled off a stupendous passing shot, he seemed to say something to his coach, Toni Nadal, and at the next changeover he called for the trainer to have his right thigh massaged, as if he was feeling cramp.

It was not a medical time-out, though he continued with the treatment two games later at the change of ends. At 4-4 Nadal saved three break points, and three more at 5-5. The Spaniard was clearly pushing himself to the limits, knowing it was imperative to win the third set if he were to have the chance of winning the title. It was an absorbing middle set, Nadal almost clinching it at 6-5, and then taking the tie-break as the clock passed three hours. A stunning running backhand volley by Nadal took the tie-break to 6-3, with Federer double faulting to give his rival a two sets to one lead.

Federer jumped ahead 2-0 lead at the beginning of the fourth, only for Nadal hit back and then have the Swiss at 15-40 on his serve. The French umpire over-ruled a call, only to get it wrong when Federer challenged via Hawk-Eye. He had a stern word with Maria, but Federer used his anger to lift himself, saving five break points in total for a 3-2 lead. This time it was Nadal who cracked and, just as at Wimbledon, the final entered a fifth set, though this time there was no need to worry about the light in the floodlit Rod Laver Arena.

In the fifth and final set Nadal broke for a 3-1 lead and although Federer saved two match points at 5-2, the three times Australian Open champion put one final forehand long and Nadal was the champion for the first time.