Around the world in 12 sto­ries

Ney­mar tricks a ca­nary, an Ar­gen­tinian team pre­tend to be glad­i­a­tors and a journo in­fu­ri­ates Ro­ma­nia’s boss with a fish­ing rod: it’s been a jape a minute this month

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS -

1 BANKS WOULD HAVE SAVED IT Mex­ico Guadala­jara

The Es­ta­dio Jalisco played host to one of the great­est saves in foot­ball his­tory – Gor­don Banks’ de­nial of Pele dur­ing the 1970 World Cup – and now it’s also seen one of the odd­est post­pone­ments.

Ravel Mor­ri­son was all set for his At­las de­but against Ti­gres UANL, only for the game to get called off as a big TV screen newly in­stalled above the cen­tre cir­cle was hang­ing dan­ger­ously low.

The Ti­gres goal­keeper Nahuel Guz­man posed for pic­tures pre­tend­ing to hold up the screen, though he couldn’t save the day: it needed Banks to turn up and im­prob­a­bly tip it over the sta­dium roof.

2 LION, HART Eng­land Ash­ford

If Paul Gas­coigne’s taught us any­thing, it’s that noth­ing can pos­si­bly go wrong when an Eng­land in­ter­na­tional opts to stick his fin­gers near a lion en­clo­sure.

Thank­fully, Joe Hart was able to feed the lions at the Big Cat Sanc­tu­ary in Kent with­out ma­jor in­ci­dent, although it was a lot less funny. If you still haven’t seen that fa­mous Gazza clip, Youtube it now.


They’re back, and they’re weirder than ever. The Ar­gen­tinian side Sa­cachis­pas dressed up as su­per­heroes for a team photo ahead of a shock cup win ear­lier in the year, and with four months un­til the next round, they had plenty of time to pre­pare for their last 16 show­down at Sarmiento. But never mind the ac­tual match, what were they go­ing to wear?

Glad­i­a­tor garb, ob­vi­ously! The team emerged onto the field com­plete with hel­mets, shields and spears. God knows how they got those through se­cu­rity...

4 CHEERS, LADS! Ger­many Mu­nich

It’s not just Sa­cachis­pas who have been pos­ing for weird pho­tos – even Bay­ern Mu­nich have got in­volved.

As part of an an­nual spon­sor­ship deal the full squad donned leder­ho­sen and posed with beer in hand, Franck Ribery ex­cepted due to re­li­gious rea­sons. Sadly no spears for Die Roten’s squad, though. Re­mem­ber kids, beer and an­cient Ro­man weaponry just do not mix.

5 DON’T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB, ROM Bel­gium Brus­sels

When Bel­gium started to cre­ate a new mas­cot, they had a brain­wave: why not let our star striker de­sign it?

Romelu Lukaku was soon handed an easel and pen and told to do his worst. Un­for­tu­nately, Rom took that in­vi­ta­tion very lit­er­ally, com­ing up with one of the worst draw­ings any­body has ever seen. The fed­er­a­tion have now asked the fans to sup­ply some ideas in­stead: Rom’s bid to be the next Van Gogh could be over.

6 DAUM TAKES THE BAIT Ro­ma­nia Bucharest

You know when you are try­ing to stage a press con­fer­ence, but a bloke keeps wav­ing a bloody fish­ing rod around in front of your face?

Christoph Daum cer­tainly does. Hav­ing claimed a news­pa­per was ‘only good for wrap­ping fish’, said news­pa­per hit back by send­ing a scribe along to the Ro­ma­nia coach’s next press con­fer­ence with rod in hand. The Ger­man didn’t re­act well, and his tur­bu­lent spell as boss came to an end days later.

He’s un­likely to spend his new-found spare time go­ing on any fish­ing trips...

7 CA­NARY TRAP Brazil Manaus

Some­times old ones are the best, right? Once Brazil­ian duo Ney­mar and Philippe Coutinho had fin­ished an open train­ing ses­sion with the Sele­cao, they teamed up to play a clas­sic prank on Ca­narinho. Ney­mar knelt down be­hind the mas­cot, then Coutinho pushed him back­wards, knock­ing the bird over in comedic style.

Kids, eh? The top clubs won’t want to pay the big bucks for them if they don’t start tak­ing things a bit more se­ri­ously.


Just what is it with Ju­lia Roberts be­ing pic­tured with foot­ball stars th­ese days? First she was at Old Traf­ford chat­ting to Michael Car­rick, and then she told Ser­gio Ramos “you played amaz­ing” af­ter he’d been sent off in El Cla­sico.

This time, Roberts posed with Robert Le­wandowski and wife at the in­trigu­ing ‘Calze­do­nia Leg Show’. We look for­ward to her meet­ing up with Stoke’s at­tacker Eric Maxim Choupo-mot­ing any day now.

9 “IT’S A LOT WARMER THAN THIS IN MADRID...” Wales Vale of Glam­or­gan

When Gareth Bale said that he needed some cry­ing ther­apy af­ter re­cent woes at Real Madrid, the Welsh FA must have mis­heard. In­stead, they in­structed him to strip to his pants be­fore stick­ing him in­side a room that quickly plum­meted to mi­nus 160 de­grees.

All right, they didn’t mis­hear: this was the Welsh squad’s cryother­apy re­cov­ery af­ter their vic­tory at home to Aus­tria. It helped them to beat Moldova days later and it also per­fectly ac­cli­ma­tised them for the au­tumn internationals in Cardiff.

10 GET THE BAN­NER, MO’S HERE Uganda Kam­pala

So you want Wenger out of Ar­se­nal, but you live 4,000 away miles from Lon­don. How do you make your voice heard? It’s ob­vi­ous: you wait for Gun­ners mid­fielder Mo­hamed El­neny to rock up in Uganda and then ask him to pass on a mes­sage.

“El­neny please tell Wenger to re­sign,” one chap penned on his plac­ard when Egypt ar­rived for a World Cup qual­i­fier. El­neny no doubt agreed to the re­quest. “So how was your break, Mo?” “Good, gaffer, but I have to in­form you that a bloke in Uganda wants you out.”

“Oh he does, does he? Sigh.”

11 “NO, YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR BALL BACK!” France Juil­lan

There’s only so many foot­balls that can land in a French­woman’s gar­den be­fore she even­tu­ally snaps.

That’s what hap­pened at the Pyre­nees club Juil­lan III, where one lo­cal res­i­dent stormed out onto the pitch with a chair dur­ing the game with Tarbes, sat down and re­fused to budge. The match was aban­doned – con­sider it a point made.


There was a sur­prise win­ner of the Doha Bank Lot­tery: for­mer Barcelona ace Xavi.

He may re­port­edly be on £7 mil­lion per year at Al Sadd, but Xavi bagged him­self an ex­tra mil­lion Riyal (£200,000) as well as one of those huge che­ques. De­cent pub­lic­ity for the lot­tery, too, as it goes...

It gives clubs bat­tling FFP an idea: can our play­ers win the lot­tery ev­ery week?

BAT­TLE AXE Getafe re­leased Cata Diaz af­ter his wife called the coach a ‘fake cow­ard’ on In­sta­gram. But at least a fake cow­ard is bet­ter than a real cow­ard, right?

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