Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

“Doctor Rossi” gives sport an injection of charm


It is not very often, in the modern era of pampered sports celebrities who are coached before interviews and can smell a potentially endorsement-breaking question a mile off that you meet one you would like to go and have a drink with, not least one whose English is slightly ropey.

Italy’s multiple MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi bucked the trend in an interview this week, however, convincing me there was merit in the drawn-out process of setting up an exclusive audience rather than just having a management company wheel out a cardboard cut-out.Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi of Italy smiles during a news conference in Tokyo

The 30-year-old had just stepped off a long haul flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo, yet he was “very ‘appy” to talk about his future (no to Formula One, yes to rallying) and his past bust-ups with fellow Italian Max Biaggi. Indeed, he was grinning from ear to ear on the subject of his former rival.

“If only David Beckham would dish the dirt like this” popped into my head as Rossi spoke with an infectious charm about his explosive relationship with Biaggi.