Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
We live for sport,
And we know you do, too!
Valentine’s Day is all about telling that important person in your life just what they mean to you but here, we’ve decided to use February 14 as an excuse to look at some of the greatest love affairs in sport.
From teams and players who adore special tournaments to friendships and relationships forged through sport, here are the best partnerships full of love and adoration...
Sevilla and Europa League
The Spanish side have won the Europa League a record six times. What’s special is their first triumph in the competition came as recently as 2006 with all of their successes coming in the last 15 years. The little brother to Champions League, the Europa League was known as the UEFA Cup up until 2009 and is now synonymous with Sevilla who just can’t stop winning it and also lifted the trophy last season.
Boasting players like Jesus Navas, Dani Alves and Frederic Kanoute, the Andalusian club have thrived after buying low and selling high courtesy of highly-regarded sporting director Monchi. They have become specialists in the tournament which seems to suit them perfectly as for the Champions League, they have only got as far as the quarter-finals once.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have spent a decade on the field together and managed to clinch their fourth Super Bowl ring together last weekend during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers victory of the Kansas City Chiefs at the NFL’s showpiece event.
However, while the legendary quarterback and tight end are good pals, having also been team-mates at the New England Patriots between 2010 and 2018, they’ve never been ones to party.
"To tell you the truth, no," Gronkowski told James Corden when asked if they enjoyed nights out.
“When I got into the NFL, I was 20 years old, he was 32 years old and married. So if you really think about it, he wasn't really going to be hanging out with a 20-year-old that he barely knew and going out on the streets with me and my friends. So we've never actually had a night like that before, but we've had a lot of good times and that's all we need. We just need to keep winning and that's our celebration, that's our party right there, scoring touchdowns together."
Bromances don’t get much better than this.
Rafael Nadal and the French Open
The King of Clay has won 13 of the last 16 French Open championships in a mind-blowing 15 years of dominance. Nadal boasts more than 100 victories in the tournament and simply thrives when playing in the city of love, Paris.
What is even more impressive is his straight sets 2020 final victory over Novak Djokovic saw him break a new record in tennis - no other player has won more Grand Slam titles at the same venue in the Open era. He also passed Martina Navratilova for most victories at one tournament, his 13 wins trumping her 12 titles in Chicago between 1978 and 1992. In a time when Nadal has battled Roger Federer and Djokovic for supremacy, he has truly made the French Open his own.
Frank Bruno and Harry Carpenter
The former WBC heavyweight champion struck up a really special friendship with commentator Harry Carpenter during the height of his career. Interviewed by the veteran broadcaster countless times after fighting during his eighties heyday, the duo had a real rapport with Bruno’s usual response of “know what I mean, ‘Arry?” becoming a catchphrase.
Of course, commentators are impartial and not biased but Carpenter’s admiration for the Brit boxer shone through during one particular bout. Bruno faced the might of Mike Tyson in 1989 and was knocked down in the first round but carried on battling and pulled off a stunning left hook. Carpenter couldn’t hide his delight and, on duty for BBC, proclaimed ‘Get in there, Frank!”
The legendary voice of sport sadly passed away in 2010 and Bruno said he was “very upset” at losing a “good friend."
Ian Poulter and the Ryder Cup
Ian Poulter’s Ryder Cup record is better than anyone else’s of those who have played more than 15 matches. His tally of 14-6-2 equals a 72.2 win percentage and his performance at the Medinah Country Club in 2012 was key to Europe’s comeback.
Poulter adores the tournament. “I love everything about the Ryder Cup,” he told Golfing World. “I love the atmosphere, the team bonding. I like the pressure, the nerves, excitement, tension, drama. Everything about the Ryder Cup, it grips me. When you’ve played one, two and three, it gets hold of you. You never ever want to miss one.”