Cristiano Ronaldo attends the ceremony to rename Funchal Airport as Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Funchal, Portugal March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

When the island of Madeira on Wednesday renamed its airport in honor of its hometown hero Cristiano Ronaldo, all eyes were expected to be on the four-time world player of the year who is adored not only for his soccer skills but also his model looks.

But grabbing attention instead was a bronze bust of the player with a toothy grin and bulging eyes that instantly created a laugh on social media because of its debatable likeness.

"I defy you not to feel better after viewing this picture of Cristiano Ronaldo alongside his portrait bust," wrote one Twitter user, Tom Sutcliffe (@tds153).

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World Cup issues 4-game ban on Messi (March 30, 2017)
Associated Press [ Source: Philippine Star ]


GENEVA – Lionel Messi is banned from Argentina’s next four World Cup qualifying games, dealing a blow to a campaign by the 2014 runner-up that has stuttered without him.

Messi’s suspension for “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee” during a home qualifier last week against Chile started on Tuesday, shortly before his teammates played Bolivia in La Paz.

Without Messi, Argentina went on to lose the qualifier 2-0.

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Younghusband relieved to get chance to make up for early miss (March 30, 2017)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Phil Younghusband fires a shot in the Philippine Azkals’ 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying opener against Nepal. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

After missing his first penalty at the 14th minute, Phil Younghusband knew he had to make up for his miscue fast before the the frustrations could kick in.

Fortunately for the Azkals striker, he was gifted with a second chance with another penalty kick in the 21st minute.

This time, he made sure to send the ball to the back of the net, kickstarting what ended to be a dominating win for the Philippines, 4-1, over Nepal to open its 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers on Tuesday.

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Dooley rues missing out on clean sheet vs 10-man Nepal (March 30, 2017)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Philippine Azkals vs Nepal in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Photo by: Tristan Tamayo/

Philippine Azkals coach Thomas Dooley expressed satisfaction over his side’s 4-1 win over 10-man Nepal to kickstart its 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers campaign on Tuesday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

But holding his team to high standards, the American coach wasn’t happy that the Azkals conceded a goal just before halftime when it looked like the team was cruising to the one sided victory.

“I think it can be avoided, every goal can be avoided,” he said. “I’m a little bit upset at halftime, but even when you’re winning 3-0, 4-0, 5-0, you have to have enough urgency to do something. Every single ball that goes close to the goal is high alert, so we have to be wary with those.”

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Nepal coach disheartened over big loss to Azkals (March 30, 2017)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Nepal coach Koji Gyotuku. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Losing a player early in the match against the Philippines truly threw Nepal off of its game.

Nepal lost midfielder Bikram Lama in the 12th minute due to a handball at the penalty box, leaving coach Koji Gyutoku with just 10 men for the rest of the match.

“I had to change our plans and it was difficult for us to do it during the game, especially on our right side,” said Gyutoku  Tuesday after Nepal’s 4-1 loss to the Azkals to open the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

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There’s no reason to panic, but the trend of unconvincing performances from the Philippines continued Tuesday night in a goalless draw against Malaysia in a friendly at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Almost a year after flashing their best attacking display against North Korea in the World Cup Qualifiers, the Azkals failed to break down a less heralded team in Malaysia as they were left stymied by the well-drilled and organized visitors.

Granted that the Azkals only got back to training three days ago, after a disappointing AFF Suzuki Cup campaign, it still came as a surprise that the Azkals weren’t able to finish off their chances with Phil Younghusband back playing up front alongside Chinese Super League veteran Javier Patino.

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Azkals, Malaysia figure in scoreless draw (March 23, 2017)
Santino Honasan [ Source: ABS CBN News ]

Philippine Azkals. ABS-CBN News photo

The streak continues.

For the fifth time in as many matches, the Philippine Azkals figured in a stalemate against the Malaysian national team, this time in a scoreless draw, Wednesday evening at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.

The home side managed a number of decent chances early, but couldn't convert. The visitors were just as fortunate as they headed into the midgame break with clean sheets.

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