15
Apr

Levante’s revolutionary “twin free-kick” routine fails miserably

Just like they drew it up!

Levante found themselves down 1-0 to Villareal in the final minutes of stoppage time this past Saturday when the perfect chance for a late equalizer presented itself - a free kick roughly 20 yards out from goal. But rather than attempting a straightforward, direct free kick with a point on the line, Levante’s Victor Casadesus and Ruben Garcia decided this was the perfect opportunity to try out a cunning, new playground routine.

Both players ran up to the ball simultaneously looking to deceive the wall and goalkeeper, which sounds like a good idea. But apparently they failed to tell each other who was supposed to actually kick the ball, and so they both did, resulting in this miserable fail (not to mention zero points for Levante.)

Communication is key, lads.

H/T Pies

9
Apr

Ex-Valencia president arrested in plot to kidnap successor

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Trouble with the law: Former Valencia president Juan Soler (R) was arrested on Wednesday.

Former Valencia president Juan Soler has been arrested in connection with an attempt to kidnap his successor at the club, Vicente Soriano.

According to multiple reports from Spain, Soler spent the night in prison after facing magistrates over his alleged involvement in the plot, but was released on bail.

Under the terms of his bail, Soler, 58, cannot leave Spain while the investigation continues and must go to court every two weeks. He has also been issued a restraining order forbidding him from coming with 15 meters of Soriano.

Soler and Soriano’s contentious relationship escalated in 2009, when Soriano purchased Soler’s shares with the Spanish Primera Division side. Claiming he was still owed money in the transaction, Soler then took Soriano to court.

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In happier times: Vicente Soriano (L) purchased Juan Soler’s club shares in 2009.

Investigators believe the kidnapping plot, which Soler is suspected of hiring hit men to carry out, was an attempt to recover the funds in question. Police foiled the plot, however, and instructed Soriano to remain in his home.

Although both men are no longer associated with the Club — Amadeo Salvo is Valencia’s current president — it’s certainly a bizarre turn of events that we’ll be sure to monitor.

Images provided by Getty.

8
Apr

Brazil manager forbids ‘acrobatic’ sex during World Cup

Every World Cup, it becomes the talking point amongst players and media members. No, not starting lineups or formations, weather or field conditions. Sex.

Yes, the idea of players bringing their girlfriends or wives along to the world’s biggest tournament has been ‘hotly’ debated for decades. Could they be a distraction to the players, perhaps even “tire” them out ahead of the games? Or would a little “stress relief” actually be beneficial? You know, clear the mind among other things. These are excellent questions that every national team manager has had to address.

As the host nation, Brazil is facing the most pressure to perform this summer, so sex was naturally one of the topics manager Luiz Felipe Scolari had to answer recently. And he gave a fantastic answer:

“The players can have normal sex during the World Cup. Usually normal sex is done in balanced way, but there are certain forms, certain ways and others who do acrobatics. And that, no,” Scolari replied at a press conference in Lisbon on Monday.

"We will put limits and survey the players.”

So close the Kama Sutra, Thiago Silva. No diving in the bedroom, Neymar. Rules are rules.

H/T Pies

21
Mar

PSV’s Memphis Depay’s protective mask is nightmare fuel

image(Image: Getty)

That, right there, is quite the busted-up eye. PSV Eindhoven’s Memphis Depay picked up the shiner over the weekend against Vitesse Arnhem, courtesy of an errant elbow.

Reportedly, Depay is medically cleared to play this weekend against Roda, so long as he wears a protective mask. So, how do you make a scary young talent even more frightening?

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(Image: 101GG)

Like that. You add a flesh-colored demon mask, that’s how. Depay looks like the unfortunate hell-spawn of Hannibal Lecter and Michael Myers.

Here’s to hoping it’s only temporary, because we can’t imagine anyone wanting to mark the 20-year-old when he’s sporting that.

(h/t 101GG)

13
Mar

The great Dane, Nicklas Bendtner, is at it again

In case you haven’t heard, Nicklas Bentner, Arsenal’s flighty striker, has had another run-in with the law after an alleged drunken incident with a cab driver in Copenhagen.

Now that Bendtner has gone from leading an attacking line to a walking punchline, it’s appropriate we take a look at the Dane’s more illustrious exploits, courtesy of the Daily Mail:

May 2009: He stumbled out a London nightclub with his jeans around his ankles just hours after Arsenal were denied a place in the 2009 Champions League final by Manchester United.

August 2009: Changed his shirt No from 26 to 52 – reportedly to reflect a new £52,000-a-week deal signed at the Emirates. A rumor Bendtner has since denied.

September 2009: Stripped down to his underwear after a high-speed crash in which he was fortunate to escape with his life. His £160,000 Aston Martin was a write-off.

February 2011: Split with his Danish royal fiancée Caroline Luel-Brockdorff, just seven weeks after she gave birth to their son.

December 2011: During his loan spell at Sunderland he was arrested for allegedly going on a £4,000 car-wrecking spree with Lee Cattermole. The charges were later dropped.

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(Image: Getty)

June 2012: Fined £80,000 and banned for one match after pulling down his shorts to reveal Paddy Power-branded underwear in a stupid publicity stunt while playing for Denmark at the European Championships in 2012.

March 2013: Banned from driving for three years and fined £100,000 for being over the legal drink-drive limit after he was spotted by police in Copenhagen driving against the traffic. Hit with a six-month playing ban by Denmark.

November 2013: Arrested on suspicion of criminal damage at his luxury apartment block.

Quite the rap sheet for someone purporting to be an adult. And yet, his most egregious offense, aside from the drunk driving, goes undocumented. Who in the world should be allowed to post selfies like this?:

We’ll just leave it at that.

11
Mar

Trabzonspor fans get Fenerbahce match abandoned

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It’s well established that Turkish sides Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor don’t like each other very much, but hostilities reached a new high on Monday night. The home Trabzonspor fans caused their fixture against the Süper Lig leaders to be abandoned after throwing missiles onto the pitch without end.

The referee had already stopped the match twice — once in the 28th minute to allow police to deal with crowd violence and a pitch invader, then again shortly after play restarted — before he was ultimately forced to call the game off before halftime. The unruliness in the stands was simply too much to bear:

According to The Guardian, fans continued to clash with police in the aftermath of the match. The intense rivalry between the two sides started in the fallout of the 2010/11 title race, when Fenerbahce overturned a significant points deficit to steal the championship away from Trabzonspor on goal difference. Fener then became the subject of a high-profile match-fixing investigation that eventually saw club president Aziz Yildirim sent to prison.

Fan violence in the stands is nothing new in Turkish football, but perhaps  Trabzonspor officials should take a page out of their rival’s book and deal their fans an unconventional punishment: only let women and children attend the next home match.

8
Mar

Australian women’s pro team joins Under-15 boys league

imagePhoto: Getty Images

Forget ‘men versus boys.’

In Australia, it’s now: women versus boys. Literally.

A week after losing the W-League’s grand final to the Melbourne Victory, the Brisbane Roar have made the unusual choice to compete in Queensland’s Under-15s boys league. The reason? With a regular season that lasts only three months, the Roar would like to develop their players by providing them with more consistent playing time.

From The Guardian:

“We wanted to put them in a competition where physically they are able to compete and also able to play football and develop as players,” says head coach, Belinda Wilson.

What the boys have in strength, especially as they develop over the season, the women have in smarts, she says. “That’s the major difference. They are probably a lot stronger than us in the physicality, so we have to adapt our game so we can be competitive in that environment. In terms of footballing sense, the girls are a little bit more game aware and have more ability from a tactical point of view, because of the level they’ve been playing.”

She’d like to be competing with the under-16s boys, but with so many of her players away on national duties for long stretches of this season, the decision was made to go down an age group. But, she says, “we’d never, ever, ever play against the under 18s, because physically we can not compete against an under-18 boy. Or man.”

Wilson believes the regular off-season schedule will help the team be “bigger and better” next season. We’ll see.

H/T The Guardian 

4
Mar

Convicted felon signs contract with Brazilian team

imageBruno captained Flamengo to the 2009 Brazilian League title.

Fair warning: this story might make you sick to your stomach.

Brazilian goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes has been given a second chance to play professional soccer while in prison. That’s not a joke: he has apparently signed a five-year contract with Montes Claros of the Campeonato Mineiro.

You may remember Bruno. Two years ago, the former Flamengo captain was put on trial, accused of ordering the kidnapping and murder of his ex-girlfriend Eliza Samudio — whose body was allegedly fed to dogs — and holding their son hostage. Last March, Bruno confessed and was sentenced to 22 years and three months in prison. Investigators said he had ordered Samudio’s killing to avoid paying child support.

imagePhotos: Getty Images

According to Brazilian law, a felon may be allowed some freedom after three or four years, depending on his behavior in prison. (Bruno has, in fact, been in jail since July 2010, when he was convicted of ordering another, earlier abduction of Samudio.) Brazil has a maximum prison sentence of 30 years under statutory law.

The terms of Bruno’s release from jail in order to attend Montes Claros training sessions and matches will be determined by a Brazilian judge. The controversial move was confirmed by the club’s president, Ville Mocellin. 

From OTempo.com.br (translated by Google):

"We want to give an opportunity to the man Bruno," he said, adding that the possible arrival of athletes is an opportunity for both parties. "For him, it is a chance to return to play. To the club, he is an athlete who can strengthen the team and a way to invest in the social side."

Mocellin’s nod to the “social side” is reference to Brazil’s controversial “resocialization” program, where prisoners are allowed out of jail during daylight hours in an attempt to pave the way for their return to society after they serve their sentences. The club added that Bruno would play and train under police escort.