RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Wayne Rooney wasn't jealous watching former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo pick up the Ballon d'Or award earlier this year.
"I'm not a player who needs that like Cristiano Ronaldo," the England striker said Wednesday. "He has to have that and you admire him for having that. I'm more about winning things as a team. You can see how he is. He wants ... his moments."
Just like in the Champions League final, when the Portugal star celebrated scoring Real Madrid's fourth goal in the 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid by pulling off his shirt to reveal his muscles in front of the cameras.
"It's more important for me to win trophies as a team," Rooney said. "I've won (Professional Footballers' Association) player of the year, which is nowhere near as good as winning a trophy with Manchester United."
— By Rob Harris — www.twitter.com/RobHarris
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Laundry can wait. Brazil has a World Cup match to play.
The typical timeline at one Rio apartment complex: Turn in those dirty clothes Thursday, and they're ready at 9 a.m. the next morning.
But this Thursday, host nation Brazil faces Croatia in Sao Paulo to open the 2014 tournament.
"Don't expect it before 5 or 6 (p.m.)," said Joao, who handles laundry at the complex. "You know how it is. Brazilians are crazy about football. Everyone will be watching."
He made a fist, stuck out his thump, and raised the imaginary drink to his mouth. He suggested there may be some celebrating, or drowning sorrow should Brazil lose.
Joao usually starts work at 6 a.m. On Friday, he'll come in about noon. He wants to avoid any problems.
"I don't want to be out driving early in the morning," he said. "People will still be out there going crazy."
— By Stephen Wade — twitter.com/StephenWadeAP
FOOTBALLS AND ROCKS
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Traditionally, goalkeepers complain with each new-fangled ball introduced at the World Cup. Not this time.
England's Joe Hart isn't worried about the new "Brazuca" from Adidas being used in Brazil. His lack of concern has more to do with opposing forwards' skills than the design of the ball.
"The players have adapted now and they know how to make the ball move — whether we use a rock or the Brazuca," he said Wednesday.
— By Stephen Wade — twitter.com/StephenWadeAP
SANTO ANDRE, Brazil — Along with the heat and humidity, the German team also has to come to terms with the unusually early kickoff time of its World Cup opener against Portugal.
Monday's match in Salvador kicks off at 1 p.m. local time, 2½ hours earlier than most Bundesliga games. Champions League and national team matches usually kick off at 8:45 p.m.
The German team has left it to individual players to decide how to best adjust.
"This is new for us, so we'll have to see how they adapt," said the team's general manager, Oliver Bierhoff.
There is no set time for breakfast, and a buffet has been opened so that players can decide when and what to eat. The team's practices have now been set for 1 p.m. as of Wednesday to simulate conditions for the opener.
— By Nesha Starcevic
SOUNDS OF ITALY
MANGARATIBA, Brazil (AP) — Luigi Serrano was banging out the notes to the Neapolitan folk song "Reginella" at Casa Azzurri on Wednesday.
He's the official singer at the facility that the Italian football federation sets up at World Cups and European Championships for media and sponsor activities.
As visitors sip strong Italian espresso or taste a plate of pasta, they can listen to classic Italian tunes.
"I specialize in songs from the 60s, which are also very popular here in Brazil — songs by Peppino Di Capri, Mina, Ornella Vanoni," Serrano said.
Serrano is from the southern Italian region of Calabria and works as a pianist and singer at the well-known Jackie O' club off the famed Via Veneto in Rome.
He's been working at Casa Azzurri since the 2008 European Championship in Austria.
So who's the best singer on Italy's squad?
"I think (Antonio) Cassano, if I remember correctly. He's a nice guy," Serrano said. "(Andrea) Pirlo is nice too, but I don't think he sings."
The Italy squad also has a theme song and video created specifically for this World Cup by the Italian group Negramaro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71IGqqIDRAU
— By Andrew Dampf — www.twitter.com/asdampf
CAMPINAS, Brazil (AP) — With his cap on backward, Cristiano Ronaldo strolled off a plane, lifted a hand and coolly pointed to acknowledge a bunch of fans who shouted out his name. Another day in the life.
And on his cap? A No. 7, of course, his beloved shirt number.
The Portugal and Real Madrid forward took his first steps in Brazil to yells of "Ronaldo!" as he arrived for the World Cup showing no signs of the left leg injuries that had troubled the world player of the year's buildup to the tournament.
He ambled across the tarmac with his backpack and a kit bag at an airport near Campinas, a city just north of Sao Paulo. Across the runway, red-suited construction workers abandoned their work to line up against a fence, straining to catch a glimpse of him.
Brazil's Neymar and Argentina's Lionel Messi are already here, so Ronaldo completes the top trio of World Cup superstars. Game on.
— By Gerald Imray — www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Follow AP journalists covering the World Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports/world-cup-2014
- Sports & Recreation
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Real Madrid
- Manchester United
- Wayne Rooney
- Atletico Madrid
- RIO DE JANEIRO