Around the world in 12 stories
Suarez statue takes a dive, Maradona cheats at ice hockey and Zlatan forms tentacles: the new season is here and, frankly, it’s weirder than ever
1 BRAVEHEART MEETS BRAVEHEART Scotland Edinburgh
Defender Colin Hendry was nicknamed Braveheart during his playing career, so he decided to head over to Edinburgh and meet the real thing.
Unfortunately, the Blackburn Rovers title-winner had to make do with an impersonator instead, as Mel Gibson wasn’t available and William Wallace couldn’t make it as he’d died 700 years previously. Pretty poor excuse, really...
EDWIN VAN DER SAR’S GOING TO BE A BIT BUSY Georgia Tbilisi
Netherlands superfan Aram Arutinyan had a plan ahead of the European U17 Championship in Georgia: getting his best ever XI inked in formation order.
Van der Sar got the nod in goal with a defence of Krol, De Boer, Stam and Koeman, a midfield of Gullit, Rijkaard, Robben and Bergkamp, and a strike force of Cruyff and Van Basten, with Rinus Michels chosen as the manager.
It looks better going forward than defensively – so probably about right for the Netherlands, then.
3 BOLTON VS BARNSLEY? IS TOM HANKS IN THIS ONE? England Bolton
Bolton Wanderers have announced a bizarre scheme for the new season, installing cinema seats by the pitch to allow fans to recline and watch games.
Trotters supporters will win the seats via social media competitions and will even be given complimentary popcorn. Plus, when a David Wheater clearance flies towards them and smacks them in the face, they won’t even need to wear 3D glasses to make it seem real.
WAYNE ROONEY: A TRUE AMERICAN HERO USA New York
Tim Cahill certainly knew the perfect way to celebrate spending 4th of July in the USA: by getting his wife to dress up as Wayne Rooney, obviously.
Rooney hadn’t even rejoined Cahill’s former club by then, but it didn’t stop the Aussie giving his missus a Wazza mask and asking her to pose for pics.
“Celebrating 4th of July with the main man,” he said. After all, there’s no one more American than Rooney.
TYPICAL SUAREZ Uruguay Salto
It’s only 12 months since a statue of Luis Suarez was unveiled in his home city – predictably, it’s now hit the deck when it should have stayed on its feet.
The toppling was blamed on vandals who left an amusing note saying “I was at Messi’s wedding – I’ll be back soon”. However, there were also rumours that the statue leapt in the air in an attempt to save a shot from a Ghanaian striker, or sneakily stuck a leg out in the hope of making contact with locals walking past. Either way, the statue genuinely had its arm out appealing for a penalty.
OPTICAL ILLUSION England London
FFT was momentarily impressed when we spotted a photograph on Mousa Dembele’s Twitter account, showing Tottenham’s Belgian midfielder lifting a man up into the air during a training session ahead of the new season.
Except, hang on a minute. On closer inspection, the bloke Mousa is lifting is... Mousa Dembele. We’ve been had.
THE FOOT OF GOD Russia Saint Petersburg
It’s been another quiet month for Diego Maradona, who headed to Russia for the Confederations Cup final and had a game of ice hockey, where he decided he didn’t need the silly stick and started kicking the puck for some reason. Either he hadn’t quite grasped the rules, or he was already trying to cheat with the ice hockey version of the Hand of God.
Once that was all out of the way, he then headed to Naples, where a night out ended with him sat on top of a car flashing a nipple. Never change, Diego.
CRISTIANO, STOP SHOWING OFF! Spain Ibiza
You know how Cristiano Ronaldo likes to always stands on his tiptoes in team photographs to look taller and upstage all of his team-mates?
This time he has been busy upstaging his own family, who had assembled for your average group photo, only for CR7 to climb up behind and tower over the party, doing some sort of bizarre salute. OK, you’re the best, Cristiano, now will you get down please.
9 RUN, IT’S ZLATAN! Sweden Stockholm
Never one to draw attention to the fact that he’s become so legendary that he is now being immortalised in bronze, Zlatan Ibrahimovic posted yet another progress report on his statue on Twitter – and it’s truly terrifying.
A video showed a disembodied head with tentacles emerging from his face. That knee injury has stressed him out...
“I WONDER IF THIS FALCON CAN PLAY UPFRONT?” Italy Villasimius
Since becoming a Premier League title winner, Antonio Conte has been happy to pose with anybody and everybody: last month he randomly turned up in 12 Stories alongside a grime artist, now he’s next to a man dressed as a falcon.
Conte was in Sardinia during a family holiday when he met Falky the falcon, presumably named by the same bloke who came up with Rammie the ram at Derby. The Italian’s smiling, though the eyes suggest the falcon’s just told him that Romelu Lukaku’s joined Man United.
THAT’S BULL, REF! Bulgaria Sofia
There was nothing particularly notable about a low-key clash between Botev Plovdev and Cypriots AEL Limassol – well, not until a bull ran on the pitch.
The horned creature wandered up and down for a bit while the players pointed at it, presumably in case the referee hadn’t noticed that a massive bovine had joined them. Then when it finally ran off, the game still couldn’t restart because a dog decided to join the fun. What on earth was going on?
STREET APPEAL Tanzania Dar es Salaam
So what do you do when a footballer randomly turns up in the local area? You illegally rename a street after him, that’s what. A local council in Tanzania did just that, unveiling Victor Wanyama Street during a visit from the Spurs ace, who was born in neighbouring Kenya.
Unfortunately they did not actually have permission to do it and the sign was removed, though not until he’d gone. He’s been known to kick people up in the air, so it’s not worth the risk...