All in the Game: Atomic Lustig and no respite for Wenger

Mary Hannigan’s weekly round-up of the weird and wonderful world of football

A ‘Wenger Out’ sign in Harare.

A ‘Wenger Out’ sign in Harare.

 

Quote of the week

“I know. I haven’t been sleeping for four days.”

Italian Football Federation chief Carlo Tavecchio on being reminded that it was he who chose Giampiero Ventura for, well, the Italian job.

By the numbers: 777

That’s how many million euros Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev has collected since the summer by selling the likes of Mbappe, Bakayoko, Mendy and Silva (an estimated €394m in all) and, last week, his Leonardo Da Vinci painting (€383m). That’s his Christmas shopping sorted.

Wenger out?

Spare a thought for Arsene Wenger. After another uppy-downy season he was possibly quite looking forward to browsing the Sunday papers for once after Saturday’s derby triumph over Spurs. But when he flicked over to the international news sections in some papers he’d have spotted a photo of a demonstration in Harare against the President of Zimbabwe. Yes, that’s a ‘Wenger Out’ sign in the middle of it all.

As the Sunday Mirror so unkindly put it, “one is an aging leader who has been criticised for clinging on to power for too long, and the other is Robert Mugabe.”

Word of mouth (I)

“It’s over. Apocalypse. Tragedy. Catastrophe.”

Corriere dello Sport remaining admirably calm after Italy’s non-World-Cup-qualification.

“I was surprised, Ireland gave a lot of space in the centre of midfield for Eriksen. Thank you very much for giving him space.”

A very grateful Danish coach Age Hareide. He might even send us a ‘From Russia With Love’ postcard next summer.

“If it works, great. If it doesn’t, then I’ll see the East End of London for seven months, then I’ll go elsewhere.”

New West Ham gaffer David Moyes with a less than stirring rallying cry.

“I want seven children and the same number of Ballons d’Or. That means that I do not intend to stop there.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, intent on carrying on fathering and net-busting.

Borrusia Monchen-mouthful

You know the old gag, who is the least popular Borussia Monchengladbach fan? The one who shouts, “give us a B!” Mind you, if said fan insisted on the club’s full name being spelt out, it could take as long as your average game of football. And while a large number of Tweeters have been complaining about the recent increase from 140 to 280 characters, the German club is very grateful indeed.

From their English language Twitter account: “Dear @Twitter. Thank you for giving us all #280Characters. Our club name can finally be expressed in its full glory.

Yours sincerely,

Borussia Verein fur Leibesubungen 1900 Monchengladbach e.V.”

Mouthful.

Lustig you’re the one

Just when Mikael Lustig might have thought his footballing life couldn’t get much sweeter, him being one of the Swedes who qualified for the World Cup by ousting Italy last week, he’s now at the centre of a heated debate among Celtic fans over which is the superior tribute tune to the fella.

The choices:

(a) In honour of last season’s treble, to the tune of ABBA’s ‘Thank you for the music’:

“So I say thank you Mikael Lustig, this song we’re singing, thanks for all, the joy you’re bringing.

“Who could live without you, I ask in all honesty, what would life be, without a goal and a dance from our Swede?

“So I say... thank you Mikael Lustig, for winning us all three.”

(b) To the tune of, eh, Atomic Kitten’s ‘Whole Again’:

“Looking back on when we first met, I cannot escape and I cannot forget,

Lustig, you’re the one, you still turn me on, you can make me whole again.”

They’re both outstanding, so it’s impossible to choose - but anyone who claims they forecast Celtic fans one day belting out an Atomic Kitten tune is lying.

Celtic’s Mikael Lustig celebrates after Sweden qualified for the World Cup. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP
Celtic’s Mikael Lustig celebrates after Sweden qualified for the World Cup. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Word of mouth (II)

“Did it annoy me? A little, yes. But the advantage I have is that I’m second to an extra-terrestrial.”

Gabriel Batistuta on otherworldly Lionel breaking his goalscoring record for Argentina last year.

“We must grab a pair of stilts or cranes if a Danish national team player is ever able to match Shane Duffy in the air. That man is just a monster with his head.”

Danish paper Tipsbladet with a comforting word for the big Derry lad.

“What are the lyrics about? It’s about toxic love. I must say I’m quite a sensitive guy. I think it went well.”

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny on the song he’s written for his wife Marina Luczenko’s new album. When it’s about toxic love, you’d worry about their future.

“There’s a big difference between the preferences of Danes and Italians, but clearly we could end up in a situation where we have to take what we can get.”

Claus Bretton-Meyer, head of the Danish Federation, on the likelihood that the Danes will use the Russian hotel that was booked for next summer by, yes, Italy.

Wolf nine Carroll

A line in the Newcastle Chronicle last week that required repeated reading: “Former Toon star Andy Carroll has welcomed his second child with partner Billi Mucklow…. they have named their new son Wolf Nine Carroll.”

While nine is Carroll’s current shirt number, he wore a different one on his England debut. So, if they have a daughter next we’ll most likely be welcoming She-Wolf Eighteen Carroll in to the world.

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