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FC Utrecht
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Senegal through but lose pair to suspension


The fattest wallets in football

This was the week in which Fluminense striker Fred took the paradinha penalty phenomenon to the extreme, ET flew in to watch the FA Cup, the top 50 earners in world football were revealed and a Dutch referee stormed off in a strop.

The world's costliest XI

Everybody knows that football's top stars have more money than sense, how else do you explain the plague of Luis Vutton manbags, excruciatingly tight swimwear and Cristal fuelled misdemeanours? And thanks to Futebol Finance we can all balk at the exact size of their swollen wallets.

The Portuguese marketing agency has drawn up a list of the fifty players on the biggest salaries, not including outside earnings, for the year. No surprises for guessing who is number one on the list, Cristiano Ronaldo, but it must be somewhat disheartening for Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba to see that Manchester City flop Robinho earns more than them.

However, none of those three would get anywhere near the costliest XI in world football, which would require about £7.5 million-a-week in wages and look something like this:

Formation 3-4-3: Iker Casillas (22nd highest paid); Daniel Alves (15th), John Terry (9th), Rio Ferdinand (18th); Lionel Messi (3rd), Kaka (5th) Frank Lampard (10th), Ronaldo (1st); Emmanuel Adebayor (6th), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2nd), Samuel Eto'o (4th)

Aliens watch the FA Cup

It seems that the appeal of the FA Cup stretches much further than anybody thought possible. According to top secret MoD papers that were released this week, and the spin accorded to them by The Sun, aliens also love to watch the world's oldest cup competition.

The government documents reveal that back in 1999 a Chelsea policeman reported seeing a UFO hovering over Stamford Bridge at 8.05pm on March 10, during Chelsea's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final replay defeat to Manchester United.

Apparently, the travelling fans arrived in a UFO that "moved across the sky fairly quickly, changing shape slowly". The secret files don't make it clear whether ET supports the Blues or the Red Devils, but it opens up a new marketing avenue for one of the clubs.

Abused ref storms off in Holland

Referee Tom van Sichem stole the limelight in an otherwise forgettable goalless draw between FC Utrecht and Feyenoord at the weekend when he decided to stop the match because of the abuse reigning down from the stands - at him!

The home fans were upset that Van Sichem had turned down a penalty a claim and unleashed a sustained volley of abuse at the match officials, who got the hump and stormed off the pitch with ten minutes left on the clock.

Play eventually resumed after Utrecht coach Ton du Chatinier pleaded with the fans over the tannoy to stop.

Van Sichem's tantrum sets a dangerous precedent as he and his colleagues in the Eredivisie will almost certainly receive a barracking every time the home side look like losing and the fans want the match abandonned.

Fred's extreme paradinha

Gone are the days when football players just thwacked a penalty into the back of the net at the highest velocity humanly possible, these days it's all about feints, stutters and showmanship from the spot.

But Fluminense striker Fred took pre-penalty shenanigans to a whole new level this week when he produced a paradinha, or 'little stop' in Portuguese, of such extravagant proportions that both FIFA and Kaka branded his feint as an act of unsporting behaviour.

The paradinha is a piece of skill in which the penalty-taker runs up, stops to allow the keeper to commit himself and calmly rolls the ball into the open side of the net, as expertly demonstrated by Santos' Neymar.

The paradinha was already of dubious legality, so when Fred turned the 'little stop' into a complete stand still and threw in a dummy shot before scoring from the spot against Vasco da Gama the purists were up in arms. Selecao star Kaka blasted: "You would only see the paradinha in Brazil. The paradinha is an advantage for the striker. Where's the advantage for the keeper?"

Pavlyuchenko: 'Arry's 'avin a laugh

Want-away Tottenham Hotspur outcast Roman Pavlyuchenko has accused Harry Redknapp of having a laugh at his considerable expense after the Spurs manager rejected another potentially career saving transfer for the Russian.

Pavlyuchenko pleaded with Lokomotiv Moscow to rescue him from the Tottenham bench and when the Russian club, who can sign players until March, obliged with a £10.5 million bid it was swatted away like a pesky fly.

"Sometimes I have a feeling that Redknapp jeers at me," Pavlyuchenko told Russia's Sport Express. "I think only about my move from Tottenham. Lokomotiv made a really worthy offer.

"I still keep on watching our games from the bench. At the same time I am convinced that the head coach doesn't need my services, he doesn't see me in his playing schemes. But why doesn't he agree to sell me?"

VT of the Week

On Wednesday morning, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "I believe that Lukasz Fabianski is top, top level and has massive potential." By Wednesday night the Polish goalkeeper had made two hilarious errors to make him the laughing stock of Europe and leave Arsenal trailing 2-1 in their Champions League last-16 tie with FC Porto.

Thanks to our friends at 101goals, not only can you re-live the goalkeeper's moments of madness at the Stadio do Drago but also peruse Fabianski's top five Arsenal screw ups.

Best of the rest

• Shakhtar Donetsk players banned from Harrods

• Control naked Gary Lineker as he goes delivering crisps

• Bent quits Twitter to focus on relegation battle

• Real Madrid's knockout curse strikes again


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