All in the Game: Rafael Nadal’s Real Madrid allegiances

Hodgson quite literally explains why he’s at Watford; Coleman chalks up another gaffer

Rafael Nadal’s Real allegiances

Rafa Nadal has spent a fair chunk of his time on earth having to explain why he’s a Real Madrid fan when his uncle Miguel Angel Nadal, aka ‘The Beast’, was a Barcelona legend.

He addressed the matter in his autobiography 10 years ago, and the explanation was straightforward enough. “Despite adoring my uncle, I have always been and always will be a Real Madrid fan. Why? Simple. Because my father is.”

He also wrote about how his family never stopped teasing him about the day, when he was 10, he was photographed in a Barca shirt when he visited his uncle at the Nou Camp, his face in that photo suggesting that it was quite an excruciating experience.

One person who will evidently never forgive him for being a Madrid fan is the vice-president of the Barcelona Foundation, Alfons Godall. What did he tweet after Rafa won the Australian Open?


“[HE] has made me uncomfortable from day one. I have him in the same group as La Roja [the Spanish national team], Real Madrid, [FERNANDO]Alonso and everything that represents the enemy state.”

Soon after: “I don’t want to give up my freedom of expression. Consequently, I resign from the position. Thank you!!” Head-de-ball.

Quote of the week

"It was quite literally the siren call from the mermaid as the sailor passes by on his ship." Roy Hodgson quite literally explaining why he found the offer to manage Watford irresistible.

Number of the week

10 - That's how many managers Seamus Coleman has now had at Everton, caretakers and permanent gaffers, in his 13 years at the club. Dizzying.

Word of mouth

"He doesn't impress me much. He scores a lot, but he doesn't produce a lot of stuff in the game. He's a good player, but not at the level of some like Mbappé." Cameroon's Vincent Aboubakar on Mo Salah. Vincent needs to go to SpecSavers.

"He plays every game with a small garlic clove tucked in to his socks for good luck. When I first saw him do it I asked 'are you planning to cook up some basil and pasta half way through the game?'." Kidderminster Harriers' Mark Carrington on his team-mate Geraldo Bajramis rather quirky and, presumably, highly pongy superstition.

Victory of the Week

That would be the one enjoyed by the owners of Pizza Wolke near Frankfurt after they were threatened with legal action by Uefa for selling a pizza by the name of ‘The Champignons League’ - ie ‘The Mushroom League.’

You would, of course, have assumed that Uefa had better things to be doing, but Pizza Wolke received a letter from the governing body’s legal people pointing that ‘Champignons League’ is a little close for comfort to ‘Champions League’.

Did Pizza Wolke tremble in their boots? Not really. “We won’t stop until we’re in every stomach and baked in every oven! Let’s see how far Uefa goes! BUY THE WORLD’S HOTTEST MUSHROOM PIZZA, everyone!”

Soon after, a statement from Uefa: “We obviously takes the protection of our intellectual property seriously but this instance seems to be a case of an over-zealous local trademark agent acting too hastily.”

Champignons League 1, Uefa 0.

More word of mouth

"I didn't like the way he walked out on the pitch with what he was wearing. I thought he'd just got dragged off the street, to be honest." Glenn 'old school' Hoddle a touch unimpressed by Dele Alli's attire when he took to the Goodison park pitch on Saturday to be introduced to the crowd after signing from Spurs.

"I've scored three goals in the Prem now, both away." Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey, losing count.

"I said in the summer I thought Declan Rice was £100m. That was the sales. That was cheap. That was your chance to get Declan Rice cheap. You will need humongous money to get close now." At this rate, David Moyes won't accept less than a billion.

"I didn't dare look at him to be honest, but when I did I was like 'he looks fake', you know what I mean? But he's so beautiful in real life. I was like 'wow'." Middlesbrough's Dael Fry's assessment of Cristiano Ronaldo after coming up against him in Friday's FA Cup tie, no doubt loving the fella even more when he missed that penalty.

"If the referee made the right decision, if that is a foul, then this is no longer football, we have to call it something else. We need a different name." A decidedly peeved Jose Mourinho after Roma had a late 'winner' ruled out against Genoa. Var-ball?