12 Global Stories
Neymar frolics in the French snow, an Italian pornstar helps out her local team and Partick’s Conor Sammon is irked by pizza – it’s been a month of weird deliveries
1 GOODNESS GRACIOUS, MEE England Burnley
There have been lots of iconic movie posters in the past: Jaws, Pulp Fiction, A Clockwork Orange, Saving Bernardo Silva. Hang on, Saving Bernardo Silva? When Ben Mee rugby-tackled Silva during Burnley’s clash with Man City, he was pictured virtually carrying his opponent over his shoulder, as if the ex-Monaco ace had been wounded in battle. Burnley mocked it up into their own version of the Saving Private Ryan poster, with boss Sean Dyche peeking at the back. Next: Jack Cork cycles to the moon mid-match to recreate ET.
2 CHEVRON BONANZA Nigeria Lagos
Nigeria have launched their snazzy new kit range ahead of the World Cup – we haven’t seen so much zig and zag since the days of The Big Breakfast. The home jersey features chevrons – with black-and-white sleeves – and is a throwback to Nigeria’s ’94 World Cup kit. Here’s hoping the homage doesn’t end there, and Victor Moses celebrates scoring in Russia by pretending to wee on the corner flag, Finidi George-style.
3 “IT’S CHRISTMAS!” France Paris
You know that song I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday? That’s basically Neymar’s life, and to prove it, the Brazil star randomly donned a Christmas hat in February and dashed outside to take pictures of himself in the French snow. Neymar didn’t see many blizzards in Brazil or Spain, so perhaps Christmas films have conned him into thinking everyone puts on a Santa hat as soon as it snows. He then dashed inside to pull a cracker and watch some Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials for the 4,000th evening in succession.
4 THE REAL THEATRE OF DREAMS Japan Matsumoto
Don’t expect a boring picture of a bloke holding up a shirt when J2 League side Matsumoto Yamaga announce a new signing. Instead the club hired a local theatre, lined their new players up on the stage and got scarf-twirling fans to serenade them in song. The players had to sit and look polite for an uncomfortably long time. “OK, cheers guys, thanks for the welcome. Er, can we go to training now?”
5 “SAY MOZZARELLA, CONOR!” Scotland Partick
Conor Sammon had just come off the field after Partick Thistle’s home loss to Dundee when somebody handed him a pizza and asked him to pose for the cameras. Result: the angriest product placement picture ever taken. “Conor Sammon received his FREE pizza from Pizza Express after full-time on Saturday,” the club tweeted, with a picture of the forward looking livid, as if he was ready to shove the pizza where the sun doesn’t shine. Maybe he’d asked for pepperoni?
6 EVIL EYES Serbia Belgrade
There are few scarier places than Red Star Belgrade’s Rajko Mitic Stadium, and it was no different for the Europa League visit of CSKA Moscow. Before kick-off, ultras unveiled a tifo of a massive, menacing pair of eyes, staring down on the opposition in an attempt to frighten the life out of the players. The eyes seemed familiar – maybe they based the tifo on Conor Sammon after receiving that pizza...
7 WHO KNEW SPIDER-MAN WAS A MASSIVE FLAMENGO FAN? Brazil Rio de Janeiro
It’s not every day that FFT gets a photo of Spider-Man wearing full Flamengo kit pretending to cry his eyes out, so we thought we’d share it with the world. The superhero tweeted after Vinicius Jr angered Botafogo with a ‘cry baby’ goal celebration – referring to a press conference when Botafogo’s players cried while whingeing about referees. Angry about the celebration, Botafogo cancelled plans for Flamengo to use their home stadium for the state final. Spider-Man didn’t look too concerned.
8 “VIRGIL, IS THAT YOU?” England Southampton
When Liverpool took on Southampton, a few chaps dressed as dragons turned up outside the ground pre-match. No, it wasn’t Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren arriving in disguise – the dragons were enjoying Chinese New Year. With huge white gnashers and a constant wide smile, Jurgen Klopp marked the dragons’ presence with a 2-0 away win.
9 NO ONE MESSES WITH MARCUS RASHFORD’S DOG England Manchester
Alexis Sanchez’s dogs usually take the headlines, but Atom and Humber would cower in fear if they ever suffered the misfortune of meeting Saint, Marcus Rashford’s terrifying new pup. Rashford unveiled the canine in full Man United grab – we look forward to the arrival of his second dog, Greavsie.
10 PORNSTAR TO THE RESCUE Italy Vicenza
The Serie C side Vicenza were declared bankrupt recently, but help may be at hand. Pornstar Amandha Fox, aka ‘The Polish Venus’, will donate 10 per cent of the profits from her calendar sale. She wants to assist because she often hosts at a lap dance club in the city. She said the team’s woes saddened her ‘because the bankruptcy’s 40 years since they finished in second place in Serie A’. Ah, the era of Vito Callioni and Giovanni Lorini, she remembers it well.
11 “JUST CALL ME KHABIB” Spain Madrid
Remember the name... Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov. Actually, the 29-year-old Russian is pretty well known in UFC circles, and met up with Cristiano Ronaldo during a trip to Spain. He even got Ronnie to pose in a daft Russian hat – although given that Khabib has literally wrestled a bear, you’d probably just do what he says. “What’s that, scary fighter man, you want me to put on the hat? OK!”
12 LOVE IS NOT IN THE AIR USA Atlanta
When the MLS got players from various clubs to pose for Valentine’s Day, they thought it’d be a bit of fun. But Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez had a different view, demanding that the MLS website remove a jaunty image of him posing with a rose between his teeth. “That photo was when we were just joking around – they never told me it was going to go out,” the Venezuelan fumed after the picture went viral. If Martinez and Conor Sammon one day unite and rock the world with a ‘No to Stupid Promotional Pictures’ campaign, remember how this all started.