Which is the strangest football city on earth? Buenos Aires? Athens? Rio de Janeiro? Not this month: it has all been happening in Manchester, for some reason
1 BEST FANCY DRESS COSTUME EVER England Nottingham
FourFourTwo has seen some pretty special fancy dress get-ups over the years, but a man turning up to a party dressed as a Rene Higuita scorpion kick may just about top the lot. Not content with merely sticking a perm on and pretending to be the Colombian goalkeeping legend/loon, the japester depicted Higuita laid on a giant plinth, balancing a football on his feet, to recreate his acrobatics at Wembley in 1995. Bravo, sir.
2 FANS WANT THEIR WANG OUT Netherlands The Hague
We know things are quite liberal in the Netherlands, but fans of Eredivisie club ADO Den Haag seemed to be taking it all a bit too far when they unveiled a ‘Wang out’ banner during their game against Utrecht. As it turned out, however, this was not some sort of call for mass nudism, or even a childish joke, but a serious protest against the club’s Chinese chairman Wang Hui. Still it was all pretty funny, though...
3 HE’S SMARTER THAN THE AVERAGE WOLF, JOGI Russia Kazan
If there’s one thing Germany coach Jogi Löw is good at, it’s posing next to a giant wolf without looking awkward in any way. Well, maybe a bit. Löw relishes such experiences so much that he flew over to Kazan just to meet up with Russia’s 2018 World Cup mascot Zabivaka, on the pretext that he was attending the draw for the Confederations Cup. He managed to avoid putting his hand down his pants and sniffing his fingers this time.
4 ADEBAYOR’S SEA LIFE LOVE Togo Lome
Emmanuel Adebayor has been without a club since leaving Crystal Palace back in the summer, so he’s been sitting on the bonnet of his massive car and then posting pictures on Instagram. Back in his home country of Togo, his snaps have been accompanied by the phrase ‘SEA life’s good’ – a reference to the forward's name, Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor, not an endorsement for the Sea Life Sanctuary in Manly.
5 SCHNEIDERLIN WISHES HE WAS SOLD England Manchester
What do WAGs do while their partners are off to Everton for a football match? They get dressed in Santa costumes and run round Old Trafford, of course. Morgan Schneiderlin’s fiancee Camille Sold was joined by the girlfriends of Juan Mata and Anthony Martial for the 5k charity fun run. Sold ran exactly 5k further than her partner that day – Schneiderlin didn’t even make the bench for Man United at Goodison.
6 VUITTON DRESSED AS HAM Spain Guijuelo
There was only one thing that people were talking about when Atletico Madrid visited Guijuelo for a Copa del Rey clash. Never mind the Rojiblancos' 6-0 trouncing – did you check out the Guijuelo physio’s bag? It wasn’t exactly Ralph Lauren or Louis Vuitton – the bag was made to look like an actual ham. The Guijuelo area is famous for its ham – last term the Segunda Division B club’s away kit was designed to look like meat. Lady Gaga would be jealous.
7 “CAN YOU SIGN THIS CHEESE?” England Manchester
Problem: you’ve just bumped into your club’s new signing, but you don’t have a piece of paper to hand. Solution: ask him to sign a piece of cheese instead. Manchester City new boy Gabriel Jesus duly obliged when a woman thrust the dairy at him and asked for an autograph, but he did look rather baffled. It wasn’t like this in Brazil.
8 PUT SOME CLOTHES ON, MAN USA Colorado
Seattle Sounders star Zach Scott must have seen the banners at Den Haag and got confused. Either that or he was in high spirits after his side’s play-off win at Colorado Rapids, so he decided to strip off – save for a fetching pair of sandals and the Western Conference trophy to help protect his modesty. Things got even better for Seattle when they beat Toronto to lift the MLS Cup – we don’t even want to look at the pictures he probably posted after that.
9 COV’S SOMBRE PROTEST England Coventry
Difficult times continue at Coventry City, where fans donned black cloaks before carrying a coffin to the Ricoh. “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken back to Highfield Road,” said a fans group, in a protest against owners Sisu. The good news is the club rose again an hour later, to play MK Dons. The bad news is that they lost.
10 SCHNEIDERLIN WISHES HE WAS JULIA ROBERTS England Manchester
Julia Roberts inexplicably pitched up in Manchester recently – sadly no one asked her to sign any of their cheddar, so instead she larked about on the Old Trafford playing surface with Michael Carrick, Coleen Rooney and friends. Presumably Morgan Schneiderlin was seething about it – he’d been asking to go out onto the pitch for months.
11 BOARDING CARD, PLEASE Portugal Lisbon
Benfica’s team-talk before their derby with Sporting: “Right lads, big game tonight, make sure you’re fully focused – oh, but when you come off after the warm-up, can you run past the airport check-in desk that we have randomly placed at the side of the pitch?” Benfica are sponsored by Emirates, so airline staff turned up and pretended it was a real airport. Things got awkward when Luisao forgot his passport and ex-Fulham flop Kostas Mitroglou was informed the dressing room had been overbooked and he’d have to wait on a nearby bench for at least 90 minutes until the situation was resolved...
12 “WHERE’S MY WET T-SHIRT TROPHY?” Spain Madrid
What advertising Emirates gained at Benfica, they lost at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid wore a special kit against Sporting Gijon, made from recycled plastic from the ocean. That makes it good with water, right? Wrong. The Emirates logo washed off the kit when it rained, turning the match into some sort of wet T-shirt contest. Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t look very impressed.