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Robinho living out his fantasies

This was the week in which David Beckham's beard overshadowed England, Jimmy Bullard revealed he was rebuilt with bits of a dead man, Maradona told his critics to suck it and Robinho revealed he lives out his fantasies on the PlayStation.

Ronaldinho rediscovers secret of success - Friday, October 9

Having not hit the back of the net since April 2009, AC Milan forward Ronaldinho rediscovered his scoring touch against Atalanta last weekend and on Friday the secret to his success was revealed: late night, pre-match partying.

During his glory years at Barcelona the Brazilian had a reputation for partying hard and it seemed to work a treat for his form in La Liga, where he twice won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2004 and 2005, and reliving his wild days could be just the thing to reignite his career at Milan.

Ronaldinho was filmed celebrating in a Parisian bar during a Samba percussion concert just hours before the Serie A clash with Atalanta and French daily L'Equipe reported that the former Paris Saint German star had "some difficulty" leaving the bar in the small hours of the morning.

However, Ronaldinho flew back to Milan the same day and promptly scored an 86th-minute equaliser for the Rossoneri. Given Milan's well-documented struggles under new coach Leonardo maybe the Italian club should jet Ronaldinho out to Paris before every match.

England's hairy moment in Ukraine - Saturday, October 10

Luckily for England their 1-0 loss in Ukraine on Saturday had to share column inches with David Beckham's new beard so the defeat did not receive the critical analysis it may have warranted. And it's not going to here either. The beard is the star.

The national press were so taken with Beckham's 'new look' that he was compared to 1980's TV botanist David Bellamy, someone from Planet Of The Apes, a member of the Taliban and prompted a number of 'best and worst beards in football' features such as this one.

But the best piece of beard-related fun came from a satirical football website that speculated, with tongue firmly in cheek, that Beckham had grown his beard to promote the sales of a 'Becks - Shaving Fun' doll in the run up to Christmas. It's almost believable.

However, the real reason behind Beckham's bristle is that he fancies himself as a bit of a Bruce Parry character. The England international said: "I'm going to keep it for a while. I went camping with the kids in America and got a bit carried away. But no, it will stay for a while."

Mystery of the missing mascot's head - Sunday, October 11

Just when you thought society's standards couldn't sink any lower, some heartless vagabond goes and swipes the head of Fergus the Fox, Falkirk's three-year-old mascot.

Fergus' furry bonce - valued at £1,000 - was stolen from Falkirk's Westfield Stadium and heaps yet more misery on the Scottish Premier League's rock-bottom club. Oh, the humanity!

"Fergus has been with us for over three years. Everyone's concerned as to where he's disappeared to," Bairns spokesman Keith Hogg said through a flood of tears. "He's an important part of the club."

According to early reports in the Scottish Sun the poor creature's head may have been found stuck on top of a pole, in a sickening homage to the grizzly scenes of yore at Traitor's Gate... I need to go and lie down.

Bullard rebuilt with bits of a dead man - Monday, October 12

It seems that famed knee surgeon Dr Richard Steadman can also turn his hand to a spot of light necromancy after he implanted bits of a dead man into Jimmy Bullard's left knee to help the crocked Hull City star get back to fitness.

With Bullard pencilled in to make a return against his former side Fulham on Monday night (Live on ESPN) Dr Steadman revealed he used the ligament of a deceased male to rebuild Bullard's injured knee, which had troubled the 30-year-old for nearly three years after dislocating his knee cap at Newcastle United.

Dr Steadman said: "The first time he came to me his knee had gone 90 degrees in the wrong direction. The question was if he could come back from such a bad injury and he proved he could. This time we made a new ligament and it was very successful. We took a donated ligament from a dead male."

Bullard remained unfazed by the whole thing and simply said: "I came round and the dead man's ligament is in there."

Czechs offer cash to San Marino - Tuesday, October 13

Money can't buy everything; but that doesn't stop desperate people people trying. And on Tuesday Czech newspaper Blesk took the morally dubious step of offering European minnows San Marino one million crowns (£36,100) to beat Slovenia in a World Cup qualifier to help the Czech Republic book a place at the finals.

At the time of the offer, the Czechs were in third place in Group Three and needed to beat Northern Ireland in their final qualifier and for Slovenia to lose in San Marino's Stadio Olimpico Serravalle to clinch a play-off place.

Unfortunately for the Czech Republic, and fortunately for the newspaper's head of finance, San Marino victories in competitive matches are as rare as hen's teeth - they don't exist. The European microstate, with a population of a mere 30,000, have only ever won one game in their entire history, beating Liechtenstein, a principality with a population of 35,000, 1-0 in a friendly in 2004.

San Marino lost as expected against the Slovenians, but it would have been interesting if La Serenissima had triumphed to see if Blesk would pay up; especially given that the Czech Republic failed to get the win they needed to qualify, drawing 0-0 at home against Northern Ireland.

Maradona: Suck it - Wednesday, October 14

Upon returning to Argentina following defeat in the 1990 World Cup final the Albicelestes players were given a hero's welcome, prompting a mystified Diego Maradona to declare: "You don't celebrate second place". But how quickly standards slip in the face of adversity.

Now manager of a struggling national team, Maradona was more than happy to celebrate finishing in fourth place, not even second, in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group with an exuberant belly slide in the Buenos Aries rain on Saturday and a lengthy pitch invasion in Uruguay on Wednesday.

A last-gasp win over Peru and an attritional 1-0 win in Montevideo was enough to save Maradona's madcap Argentina from the ignominy of a play-off, or even worse, failure to qualify for South Africa 2010 altogether. However, Maradona's flirtation with disaster has proved to be far from humbling for the 48-year-old, who was quick to attack his critics.

"Those of you who didn't believe in me can suck my d**k and keep on sucking," Maradona fumed.

Robinho fantasises about Barca move - Thursday, October 15

Injured and upstaged by Craig Bellamy at Manchester City, poor old Robinho has taken to living out his fantasies on the computer. The Brazilian international has long been linked with a move to the Camp Nou and told Thursday's edition of Spanish daily El Mundo Deportivo: "Of course I would like to play for Barca...but right now I can only do it on the PlayStation."

The former Real Madrid forward went into great detail about how it would be "a great pleasure" to play alongside Barca's stars, how it "filled his heart with pride" to be wanted by coach Pep Guardiola and how he wanted to sit down with the Spanish club with a "serious and concrete proposal".

Of course none of that means he wants to sign for the La Liga champions. Hell no! Robinho is a professional! And after remembering that he'd already used the bog-standard 'lost in translation' excuse early on in his Manchester City career the Brazilian was quick to emphasis just how loyal he is to his current employers.

"Now would not be the right time to say things that could be badly interpreted here or there," Robinho added after remembering himself. "I have a contract with City and, being the professional that I am, I am dedicated to them."


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