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 By Chris Wright

Mexican paper fools Queretaro fans with hoax Ronaldinho story

Queretaro shocked the masses by signing Brazilian star Ronaldinho midway through the season.
Ronaldinho would surely have loved to have lived in a house like that.

What with Dec. 28 being the Spanish equivalent of April Fools' Day, one Mexican newspaper decided to get in on the act by running with a phoney story about Liga MX's biggest star attraction, Ronaldinho.

Ronaldinho has reportedly gone AWOL from his club, Queretaro, over the Christmas period, with rumours circulating that the famously hedonistic Brazilian forward had returned to his homeland in order to ring in the New Year in style.

With that tittle-tattle in mind, Mexican paper Record ran with a...

 By Chris Wright

Brazil star Neymar stars in strange Japanese TV advertisement

Neymar is a valuable asset around the world, including his appearance in a new Japanese TV ad.

Slightly less unfathomable than Cristiano Ronaldo's bizarre "facial fitness" commercial, which aired on Japanese television last year, Neymar has followed suit by starring in a weird and wonderful advertisement for an "oily skin shampoo" brand.

The advertisement features Neymar, scalp suitably oiled, preening and pouting at the camera while two Gerard Pique look-alikes in suspenders prance and writhe behind him in a fairly unsettling manner.

Indeed, Neymar isn't the only Barcelona star to have...

 By Ian Darke

An eyewitness account: Brazil's humiliation, Germany's World Cup

It's still mind-blowing that Brazil collapsed in the manner they did vs. Germany.
Brazil entered their World Cup semifinal as underdogs, but nobody expected what followed.

2014 will be remembered for many things in the football world, but there can be few more abiding memories than a truly remarkable World Cup semifinal between Germany and Brazil on July 8 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Ian Darke, who commentated the game for ESPN, looks back on what he considers to have been "one of the most surreal experiences" he has ever had during his career.

"Brazil 1, Germany 7. Do not adjust your television set. That score line is right."

Those were the words with which this...

 By Lee Roden

Sacrifice at the heart of Cristiano Ronaldo's brilliant 2014

The ESPN FC team give their unanimous pick for who 2014 belongs to in world football; Cristiano Ronaldo.

This year has not been a straightforward one for Cristiano Ronaldo. It may be easy to forget now that Copa del Rey, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup wins are under his belt, but the first half of 2014 was marked by the most significant injury issues the Portuguese forward has experienced since 2008.

His current performances have also aided the amnesia: for a player to not only become more complete, but also more lethal as he touches 30 is rare and worth celebrating. Yet remarkably,...

Heroes and Villains: Arsenal show some grit, Roberto Martinez in trouble

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno explains Arsenal supporters should be asking for their club to win the league, and Shaka Hislop agrees that Arsenal need to address their defensive midfield issues in order to press for a title.

Arsenal were the only member of the current top six to win this weekend, but is it a conspiracy against Chelsea? Jose Mourinho thinks so. Welcome to the latest edition of Iain Macintosh's Heroes and Villains...

HEROES

Writing Burnley off is proving to be a hazardous pastime. Manager Sean Dyche, quite at odds with his contemporaries, chose not to moan about the fixture pile-up, picked exactly the same XI that performed so well in the narrow 1-0 defeat against Liverpool two days ago and subsequently...

Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul

Fernando Torres was a gamble that never paid off for AC Milan

Atletico Madrid have confirmed they will sign former striker Fernando Torres on loan from Milan.

Fernando Torres has proven to be an expensive gamble that has failed to pay off for AC Milan, with the out-of-sorts striker moving back "home" to Atletico Madrid in January.

In turn, this has paved the way for Atleti to allow Alessio Cerci a move back to his homeland, as well, with the Rossoneri set to land him in an exchange deal that suits everyone.

Cerci moved to Madrid last summer after impressing for Torino, but he has found his opportunities limited in the Spanish capital while Torres scored...