All in the game
By MARY HANNIGAN
Maradona certainly nose his own child
Good news from Argentina where the lawyer of the woman who gave birth to Diego Maradona’s fifth child last week has announced that there will be no paternity dispute, that the legend has accepted that he’s the Da.
“He is going to recognise the child, there won’t be a problem,” said Jorge Auriccio. “The baby is beautiful – my impression is that from his nose upwards he looks like Maradona.”
Eh? What about from the nose down?
If Neil Lennon was unhappy with the behaviour of Juventus players during last week's Champions League tussle in Glasgow, it was in the ha'penny place next to Celtic's experience against the same opposition - whose midfield featured none other than Liam Brady - in 1981.
"They did everything to upset us," old boy Frank McGarvey told the Daily Record.
"Pulling your jersey was the least of it. I was spat on, elbowed. The worst, though, was when [ Claudio] Gentile (inset, left) knocked me out.
"He just came up behind me and punched me in the head. I was unconscious. Our physio brought me round with smelling salts - and they were disgusting."
Fond memories, then, although being knocked out by Gentile surely paled next to another of McGarvey's traumas: "Their defenders were even pulling the hairs out of my legs."
Quotes of the week
"The leaders of the FCF want to attack my life, they want to kill me. I live with a group of gendarmes and one sleeping in front of my door. I do this not out of snobbery, but for my own safety."
- Let's just say, there's no improvement in relations between Samuel Eto'o and the Cameroon Federation.
"I should have recognised that voice - like poison creeping all over my body . . . oh hello, David!"
- Alex Ferguson says a warm howaya to the Daily Mirror's David McDonnell at his pre- Real Madrid press conference.
"You can live without water for so many days, but you can't live a second without hope."
- Barack Obama. No, no: Brendan Rodgers, insisting Liverpool can still finish in the top four.
"Sometimes you've got to swallow the bullet."
- Mighty metaphor-mangling from manager-turned-pundit Brian Little.
Welcome of the week
That’d be the one given to Wayne Rooney by Spanish sports paper Marca ahead of the Champions League game against Real Madrid.
“El Coco Y 5000 Amigos” (“The Bogeyman and his 5,000 friends”) read the headline, the piece inside declaring:
“Rooney is a football player and hooligan all rolled into one . . . to look at him, you’d think he was one of the 5,000 British fans on the terraces yelling and drinking beer and jumping the queue to get in through Gate D.”
They also described the fella as “a barrel packed with gunpowder” and, most offensively, “a freckled demon”.
And what’s wrong with freckles?
It calls to mind a question that appeared on CabinCrew.com, a site many of you will be familiar with, a few years ago: “I need to know if I am wasting my time hoping I can become an air stewardess. I have read that having freckles is a no no, is this true – if so I am done right here.”
Reply: “Having freckles is not a problem at all – many cabin crew working within the industry have freckles and nobody has the slightest problem with it at all.”
Except Marca, evidently.
Fine payment of the week
When Rudy Valencia went AWOL from the El Salvador national squad a while ago he took to Twitter, as footballers tend to do these days, and defended himself by saying he was being “ignored” by the coach, so there was really no point in hanging around much longer.
The El Salvador football association was less than impressed by his excuse, and announced they were fining the Alianza midfielder $1,200 and suspending him from the national team.
Well, the 22-year-old is now a YouTube star after being filmed turning up at the association’s offices to pay his fine – in coins. Gazillions of them.
We could be talking ‘attitude problem’ here.
Bad boys of month
Hoffenheim’s Tim Wiese and Tobias Weis. According to ESPN, they were thrown out of a carnival party by security after “an incident in the mens bathroom”.
“Their behaviour was rude. Presumably consumption of alcohol was to blame,” guessed police spokesman Harald Schumacher, who might not be the same Harald Schumacher, the former German goalkeeper, who sent France’s Patrick Battiston in to the middle of next week in the 1982 World Cup semi-final.
“As the ladies bathrooms were packed, I took my girlfriend Derya to the gents,” said Weis, “as a result security got involved. That’s when the trouble started.”
Hoffenheim, though, were having none of his excuses and fined both him and Wiese. “They have ignored their function as role models,” they said, “they have definitely gone too far.”
It should be added, they went to the party dressed as a prisoner and a caveman – you know, like you do.
Number of the week
Lionel Messi’s ratio of goals-per-matches for Barcelona – he scored his 300th and 301st against Granada in his 365th appearance for the club at the weekend. Must do better, then.