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Five Aside: Di Maria a skillful crosser

Five Aside 15 hours ago
Read
Mar 25, 2010

Messi too good for words

This was the week in which Ji-Sung Park revealed he's fuelled by frog juice, Inter's Balotelli was pictured wearing an AC Milan shirt, the press ran out of words to describe Lionel Messi and Juventus goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti broke his hand punching a table.

Messi too good for words

It seems that Lionel Messi's sensational exploits are now so astounding that grizzled hacks struggle to put them into words. La Pulga, the flea, scored his second hat-trick in a week as Barca beat Real Zargoza 4-2 at the Estadio La Romareda and Catalan newspaper Sport gave up trying to describe his match-winning performance and invited readers to send in headlines instead.

Messi headed the opening goal, won the ball in a tackle and finished off a mazy dribble for his second strike, applied a curling finish from outside the area for the third and then bamboozled two defenders to win a penalty for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score the fourth.

Beaten Zaragoza boss Jose Aurelio Gay struggled to put into words what he had just seen and then came up with this beauty: "Tonight, I saw Diego Maradona, but at more revs per minute. There are no words left to describe him - he is interplanetary. We could have beaten Barcelona but we could never have beaten Leo Messi. If we had scored four, he would have scored 12."

Messi's amazing haul of eight goals in three games leaves him neck and neck with Wayne Rooney in the battle for the European Golden Shoe award. The duo could face each other in a winner-takes-all showdown in the Champions League final that really would be too good for words.

Ji-Sung Park fuelled by frog juice

Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park was afforded hero status at Old Trafford this week after scoring the winner in a 2-1 win over arch-rivals Liverpool but the South Korean had to go to extraordinary lengths to achieve his goal.

Park revealed this week that he resorted to drinking stinking boiled frog juice as a boy to make him stronger after being told he was too weak to make it as professional footballer.

His father, who got a job at a butchers so he could get best cuts of meat for his son, went to the frog farms and his mother boiled up the juice.

Park, nicknamed 'Three-lung Park' because of his tireless performances for United, said: "They said it was good for my health to become stronger and I ate anything that would improve my health."

Wet Sham United

"I am writing this on Wednesday morning. I had no sleep last night, having watched the shambolic performance by the team [West Ham] against Wolves."

Those are not the words of a disgruntled fan, nor the ranting of some loon on a message board. Those are the considered musings of West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan in an open letter published on the club's official website.

"Nobody at the club should delude themselves that we are a good team," Sullivan continued. "I apologise to every supporter for the pathetic showing on Tuesday night but I fully expect a dramatic improvement as we have so much individual talent."

With Sullivan delivering such jaw-dropping utterances (which may actually be an unpalatable truth), the Hammers deep in the relegation mire and speculation surrounding the future of manager Gianfranco Zola is it any wonder the team have been dubbed Wet Sham?

Inter's Balotelli dons AC Milan shirt

In Mario Balotelli-land there is never a dull moment. After being omitted from Inter Milan's last four match-day squads following an argument with manager Jose Mourinho the controversial young striker went about winning his place back by wearing the shirt of arch-rivals AC Milan on national TV.

The 19-year-old appeared on Italian comedy show Striscia La Notizia and accepted a gift of a Rossoneri jersey emblazoned with his name and was later pictured wearing the shirt, much to the dismay on the Inter fans who had remained loyal in support of the troublesome striker.

The player's agent, Mino Raiola, quickly initiated damage-limitation proceedings and pointed out that the incident should be taken as a "joke" and that Balotelli is a "boy of 19 who may not understand the consequences of what he does".

That's all true, but back in November Balotelli also outed himself as an AC Milan fan, much to the disappointment of the Interati, when he declared: "I am a Milanista. Didn't you know that?" Given his boyhood affinity and his continued spats with Mourinho it's no surprise that Balotelli's future at Inter is in doubt.

Juve keeper breaks hand punching table

After making an embarrassing mistake most players would prefer to slink away quietly and hope everybody forgets. What they don't want to do is break their hand in an embarrassing related incident that also enables the media (that's us) to dredge up the original embarrassing incident.

Step forward crest-fallen Juventus goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti, who is facing a spell on the sidelines after breaking his hand punching a table in frustration at conceding a humiliating own goal as the Bianconeri lost 1-0 at Sampdoria.

The luckless goalkeeper palmed Antonio Cassano's seemingly innocuous 40-yard strike into his own net to inflict yet another defeat on sixth-placed Juve, who are enduring one of their worst seasons in the Italian top flight.

"I came back into the dressing room first and dealt with my anger by punching a small table," the reserve keeper told Juve's television channel. "Unfortunately I broke my hand."

VT of the Week

Everybody loves a good own goal, except the perpetrator of course, and this week Hadjuk Split's right-back Goran Rubil provided his entry for best/worst own goal of the season.

The Hadjuk defender hit an absolute pearler past his own keeper and thanks to our friends at 101greatgoals Rubil's incredible own goal can be seen here.

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