12 Global Sto­ries

Felix Ma­gath mixes chess and cheese, a Rus­sian bear warms up for the World Cup and Prince Wil­liam nearly names baby Axel – it’s been an­other weird few weeks

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -

1 “HELLO... IS IT NON-LEAGUE YOU’RE LOOK­ING FOR?”

USA Las Ve­gas If there’s one thing that Lionel Richie is known for, it’s his will­ing­ness to throw his weight be­hind clubs threat­ened by rel­e­ga­tion from the Foot­ball League. Hartle­pool, Alder­shot, Kid­der­min­ster Har­ri­ers: Lionel has sup­ported them all (prob­a­bly). This sea­son he posed with a Ch­ester­field top to sup­port the ail­ing Spire­ites, ahead of a sum­mer con­cert. “Good luck to Ch­ester­field for the rest of the sea­son!” he said, in a quote that def­i­nitely wasn’t made up on his be­half. “Look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing at the leg­endary Proact Sta­dium in June.” Leg­endary in­deed...

2 WHAT A PAIR OF CLOWNS Eng­land Ac­cring­ton

Strange times at Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley, where two Ron­ald McDon­alds turned up at the Wham Sta­dium af­ter an odd dis­pute be­tween the EFL and the club’s chair­man, who was warned for buy­ing his play­ers a McDon­ald’s af­ter vic­to­ries. Not that Stan­ley were too per­turbed: those vic­to­ries helped them to se­cure pro­mo­tion. They’re lovin’ it.

3 “THEY HAVE PO­LAR BEARS IN RUS­SIA, RIGHT?” France Paris

An­other month, an­other weird Ney­mar pic­ture on In­sta­gram. Af­ter in­ex­pli­ca­bly donning Christ­mas cos­tume in the snow in Fe­bru­ary, this time the Brazil star kept him­self oc­cu­pied by stick­ing on a mas­sive fur coat and stroking a toy po­lar bear. Amid trans­fer links to Real Madrid, it’s al­most as if he’s drop­ping hints that Paris is too cold for him. It’s all too sub­tle at the mo­ment, though. Next month: Ney­mar dresses as Queen Elsa from Frozen, per­form­ing a beau­ti­ful ren­di­tion of Let It Go, be­fore launch­ing straight into, “Oh this year I’m off to sunny Spain, Y Viva Es­pana…”

4 LIFE AND DEATH Italy Milan

It was a bat­tle of the tifos when Milan faced In­ter at the San Siro re­cently. The Ner­az­zurri un­veiled a ban­ner quot­ing a heart­felt line from Vasco Rossi’s song Vi­vere (‘To Live’) – Milan went in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, mak­ing a tifo of an enor­mous skull to­gether with the words ‘Fino Alla Morte!’, or ‘Un­til Death!’ Crikey guys, keep it light.

5 BEAR 1 MON­KEY 0 Rus­sia Py­atig­orsk

Ja­pan led the way, train­ing a mon­key to de­liver the match ball at Cerezo Osaka. Rus­sia have taken it fur­ther: no mess­ing about with mon­keys, they’ve got a bear – an ac­tual eight-foot bear. The an­i­mal was led out to the pitch be­fore Mashuk-KMV’s third-tier match with An­gusht, stand­ing on its hind legs to clap the crowd be­fore hand­ing the ball to the ref­eree. It cer­tainly added an touch of jeop­ardy to pro­ceed­ings – Rus­sian hooli­gans are a mi­nor con­cern com­pared to the prospect of an an­gry bear ram­pag­ing through the sta­dium.

6 ROLLING IN IT Ger­many Mainz

Op­po­si­tion to Mon­day Night Foot­ball shows no sign of go­ing away in the Bun­desliga. Af­ter Werder Bre­men’s Garfield tifo protest last month, this time Mainz fans got in­volved – hurl­ing reams of toi­let roll onto the pitch to de­lay the start of the se­cond half. The game had al­ready been de­layed when the play­ers went in for half-time, only to be called back as a penalty had been awarded by VAR. Just an av­er­age mid­week match, then.

7 FOR­GET HEAVY METAL FOOT­BALL Eng­land Liver­pool

Any­one who knows any­thing about mu­sic can reel off the names of The Bea­tles: John, Paul, Ge­orge, Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain… No wait, Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain? OK, the Ox isn’t ac­tu­ally part of the band, but he did don Six­ties gear and pose as part of the Fab Four for char­ity, along­side Joe Gomez, Adam Lal­lana and Jor­dan Hen­der­son. Thank­fully, heavy metal fan Jur­gen Klopp didn’t turn up and bite the head off a bat.

8 RAY PAR­LOUR, TOP GIZA Egypt Giza

Ray Par­lour headed to Cairo re­cently to meet Gun­ners sup­port­ers in Egypt – a fan­base that has been grow­ing since Arse­nal’s sign­ing of Mo­hamed El­neny. Du­ties com­plete, he hot­footed it to Giza and did the clas­sic ‘fin­ger on top of the Great Pyra­mid’ joke. Sur­pris­ing, re­ally, that no one pho­to­bombed him with a ‘Wenger Out’ sign.

9 SAY CHEESE, FELIX! Ger­many Ber­lin

If you’ve been won­der­ing what Felix Ma­gath is up to now, won­der no more. The for­mer Ful­ham gaffer ran­domly turned up to make the cer­e­mo­nial first move at a chess tour­na­ment, and it’s ru­moured he also of­fered some tac­ti­cal in­struc­tions to the play­ers – some­thing about rub­bing some cheese on each piece be­fore the start of the match. It didn’t help, to be hon­est.

10 PRINCE AXEL IT IS, THEN Eng­land Birm­ing­ham

Prince Wil­liam and John Carew, to­gether at last. Se­cond in line to the throne met lum­ber­ing for­mer striker at As­ton Villa’s game against Cardiff, and the pair were pic­tured cel­e­brat­ing to­gether when Jack Gre­al­ish scored a late win­ner. A renowned Villa fan, Wil­liam joked he’d call his third child Jack or Jackie in Gre­al­ish’s hon­our. It was a pity that Axel Tuanzebe didn’t bag the win­ner.

11 “BUT NO ONE GOT ME A CARD?” France Paris

When Hatem Ben Arfa posed in front of a birth­day cake on In­sta­gram re­cently, it con­fused peo­ple: mainly be­cause it wasn’t his birth­day. The for­mer New­cas­tle wide­man was ‘cel­e­brat­ing’ the fact that it was ex­actly a year since his last out­ing for PSG – he’s been well down the peck­ing or­der since Ney­mar and oth­ers rocked up. We can’t imag­ine the photo went down ter­ri­bly well with boss Unai Emery…

12 ZLA­TAN IN ‘NOT AC­TU­ALLY A REAL LION’ SHOCKER USA Los An­ge­les

As we know by now, Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic is a lion. We know this be­cause for the past year or so, the Swedish front­man has been telling any­one and ev­ery­one that he’s def­i­nitely a lion. Not a tiger, and cer­tainly not a chee­tah. A snow leop­ard? Don’t even go there, friend. He’s a lion, all right? Grrr. Ibrahi­movic con­tin­ued this pre­tence by pos­ing with a lion mas­cot at a re­cent LA Kings ice hockey match, al­though it back­fired on him. If any­thing, he looked much less like a lion than the mas­cot, and even the mas­cot isn’t a real lion. You’re fool­ing no one, Zla­tan…

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