Ronaldo v Rafa: Let Battle Commence

What happens when two giants of sport collide? They play poker of course.

Between them they’ve won the world’s biggest competitions, earned millions of dollars, and have earned hero status amongst fans across the globe, but they’ve left their respective sports aside for Rafael Nadal takes on soccer legend Ronaldo on the green velvet.

It’s not the first time the pair have met on the poker table, with them meeting just under a year ago in Prague with the tennis star serving up a few aces to defeat not only the Brazilian but Dutch hockey player Farima Moreira de Melo and six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu.

This time the venue is London. But how will they fair in the capital?

Ronaldo has little experience in the city with only one win in three visits just under 20 years ago as he bagged his second international goal in a 3-1 win at Wembley. Rafa too has seen his share of shocks in London, seeing him sent home from Wimbledon earlier this year by a man ranked 144 in the world, so both will be more than wanting to set the record straight in London to add to their already illustrious careers.

Of course really it is just a little fun for the poker enthusiasts. Ronaldo called out Nadal around a month ago after finding out Nadal had been in training, and deemed it the perfect chance for revenge.

It’ll be an exciting event, and has already drawn a lot of intrigue from the media ahead of it being broadcast live on the PokerStars website, especially with the players being as high-profile as they are.

Ronaldo has been out of sport for a number of years after seeing his phenomenal career cut short by persistent injuries, but leaves behind him 352 goals and performances that has seen him win FIFA World Player of the Year three times and two World Cup winners medals.

Throughout his career he played at the highest level in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and his home nation becoming a true great in each and helping lift his side to numerous titles.

Perhaps his standout years came at Real Madrid as part of the ‘Galacticos’ alongside Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, and David Beckham – an era which will have undoubtedly inspired Madrid fan Nadal.

Nicknamed ‘The King of Clay’ Nadal will be determined to become King of the Velvet after his impressive ninth French Open win in just 10 years in June. That goes alongside the other five Grand Slams he’s won during his career collecting over $70 million in the process.

But with the 28-year-old Spaniard having been diagnosed with appendicitis, it’ll be the prize pot on offer at the Hippodrome Casino that will have his eyes lit up. The former Wimbledon champion has been putting his poker skills to the test regularly since teaming up with PokerStars, and has even recently tried his hand at bluffing.

But of course the great Brazilian is no stranger to bluffing either. During his time in football he was one of the most lethal finishers in the world giving both defenders and goalkeepers the eye to send them the wrong way. He was deceptive in his trickery, and you’d rarely see him miss a penalty. Can he transfer that to the poker table and get his revenge on the World Number Two tennis star. We’ll have to wait and see…


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