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Apr 14, 2012

Puyol staples his head back together

Off the Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Carles Puyol has his head stapled to win Off The Ball's recognition, Fulham make an eggs-cellent investment to beat the credit crunch, bitter Marseille fans urge their team to lose to screw over PSG, a ball boy refuses to accept Sulley Muntari's sweaty AC Milan shirt and Atletico Nacional's Dorlan Pablo scores a 40-yard screamer.

Puyol has head stapled during Barca match

Barcelona skipper Carles Puyol is obviously an avid reader of Off The Ball. After being omitted from last week's Man of Steel Issue the death metal-loving defender immediately set about earning his place our 'big kahunas hall of fame' by having his bloodied head stapled back together at the side of the pitch.

There's no other explanation for such an action right?

With Barca trailing to Real Zaragoza, Puyol scored an equaliser to send the defending La Liga champions on their way to a 4-1 triumph and then sustained a cut above his eye that the referee deemed needed medical treatment.

Without hesitation, the skipper dashed across to the touchline, parked his ass on the grass and rushed the medics to staple the wound shut ( 55 secs) before he leaped back to his feet and franticly waved at the officials to let him rejoin the match.

The 33-year-old then tweeted a picture of the non-too-small staple after the match on his @Carles5Puyol account.

Marseille fans want to lose, team oblige

Olympique Marseille fans don't like Paris Saint Germain very much - and that was even before the capital side were bought by a gazillionaire who started splurging huge amounts of Euros on some of the best players in Europe - and they're willing to do almost anything to stop their bitter-rivals from winning the title.

And so, with Marseille already out of the running in Ligue 1, Les Phoceens' biggest fans group urged their heroes to lose against league-leaders Montpellier this week, thus handing La Paillade three points and a position of strength above PSG.

"Let's give Montpellier the best chance possible and stop PSG becoming champions this year," the South Winners 87 group said on their website. "Let's let Montpellier win, let's not forget the lessons of history!"

'The history' the fans refer to is the 1999 title race, when PSG's 3-2 defeat to Bordeaux in the last round of matches denied Marseille the Championship.

Anyway, the Marseille players duly obliged and lost 3-1 in front of their presumably euphoric supporters at the Stade Velodrome, although there is little point in UEFA or the gambling Commission investigating the result as it was OM's 11th defeat in the last 12 matches and hardly out of character.

Fulham buy their own chickens to cut costs

In other news, Fulham hatched a cunning plan to cut costs at the Premier League club this week and shelled out for 12 hens to provide a steady supply of eggs for the players.

Apparently, the squad go through 90 eggs each week and the investment will help re-coop around £5,000 a year from the catering budget - which is no poultry amount.

According to the Daily Mail, the fresh, organic eggs are particularly popular on fry-day when The Whites toast their cluck for Saturday's big match.

The hens will live at Fulham's Motspur Park training ground and will help the club steer clear of any fowl-ups as they attempt to scramble up the league table.

Okay, that's enough of the yokes, we're really over egging it now.

Ball boy refuses to accept Muntari's Milan shirt

When Sulley Muntari trudged off the pitch after scoring the winner for AC Milan this week he probably expected the ball boy to whom he handed his sweaty shirt to grab it with glee and run off to impress his mates.

However, this particular Chievo Verona youngster was none too happy that his team had fallen victim to Muntari's eighth minute strike at a rain-swept Stadio Bentegodi and when the Ghanaian dumped the shirt in his hand the little whippersnapper did his best to give it him back .

Holding the Rossoneri jersey at arm's length he briefly followed Muntari down the tunnel and proffered the No. 14 shirt to its rightful owner. At first Muntari seemed unsure what to do and looked like he was about to take the shirt back, before he scampered off into the dressing room.


Video of the week

Atletico Nacional's Colombian midfielder Dorlan Pablo decided he wasn't going to just lump the ball into the box from a 40-yard free-kick as tradition dictates. Hell no! Instead he decided to have shot against Penarol in the Copa Libertadores and it was well worth it. To see Dorlan Pablo score an amazing 40-yard free-kick, click here .


More than words...


Neven Subotic goads Arjen Robben after the Dutchman fails to score a penalty for Bayern Munich for the very first time - handing Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win and probably the Bundesliga title too. ©Getty Images


Around the web

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• Eight year-old child cheers up Roberto Mancini with a packet of sweets

• Motherwell team bus gets stuck under a bridge after Hibs match

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