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Nigeria meet Benin in WAFU Cup semi final


Miccoli: I spent thousands on Maradona's earring

This was the week in which Jose Mourinho blamed Inter's continued struggles on another conspiracy, Fabrizio Miccoli revealed he spent thousands of pounds to buy Maradona's earring and called his son Diego, the Arsenal chairman admitted Cesc Fabregas is not good enough to play for Barcelona and John Barnes decided to re-enact his World In Motion rap.

Miccoli buys Maradona merchandise

Palermo forward Fabrizio Miccoli seems to be worryingly infatuated with Diego Maradona. Not only has the Italian named his son after the Argentina legend but this week he revealed that he was the mystery buyer that paid well over the odds for a diamond earring seized from Maradona by the taxman.

Police swooped on Maradona whilst he was trying to lose a few pounds at an Henri Chenot fat camp in September 2009. The cops confiscated the star's £3,600 jewellery as part payment towards a £33 million tax debt run up during his days at Napoli from 1984-1991.

The diamond earrings were snapped up by an unidentified woman for €25,000 (£22,000) - five times the asking price - during an auction in the Italian city of Bolzano in January, but she was just an agent, working for Maradona-adoring Miccoli.

Asked if he would be returning the earring Miccoli said: "He knows that I have it. It'll be difficult to meet him now, but we'll see each other soon ... I called my son Diego in his honour."

Arsenal chief: Cesc not good enough for Barca

With all the focus on Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood's claim that Barcelona have agreed not to pester Cesc Fabregas over the summer, his assertion that the Gunners skipper isn't actually good enough to play for the European Champions has gone largely unnoticed. But not here!

"If you want my opinion, I'm not sure he would even get in their team," Hill-wood told Soccernet. "Do they need him? I'm not sure that they do."

Maybe the reason that Fabregas hasn't yet shipped off back to Barca, the club where he developed as youngster, is because he doesn't think he is good enough either.

Barca's midfield duo of Xavi and Iniesta are the same pair that kept Fabregas on the bench during Spain's European Championship triumph. Fabregas started just two games during the Euro 2008 tournament, one of which was dead-rubber against Greece.

Linesman celebrates after Inter drop points

Once upon a time, Inter Milan sat atop Serie A on an unassailable pile of points, looking down on their rivals with contempt. But after stumbling and stuttering for more than two months the kings of calcio look set to be dethroned by AS Roma, and it's all everybody else's fault.

Following the 2-2 draw with Fiorentina that caused Inter to slip to second place, manager Jose Mourinho turned his ire towards the linesman Nicola Ayroldi, who he spotted celebrating at the end of the match, and assumed it was at the result.

Mourinho confronted the linesman to ask what he was celebrating and afterwards Inter director Marco Branca also commented on the incident.

"If he was celebrating, then we need to find out if he supports Fiorentina or Roma, or if he was just happy with his own performance," Branca said. "Otherwise it would be pretty serious."

Back in February, Mourinho was banned for three matches after his infamous "handcuff" gesture against Sampdoria was interpreted as a way of suggesting his side have been victimised by referees. Earlier this month the Portuguese slated Italian football saying: "I don't like it and it doesn't like me."

Luckless Pirin offer up sacrifice

Drastic times call for drastic measures and the situation at Pirin Blagoevgrad is so dire that the Bulgarian club have resorted to ritual sacrifice.

Following an unbeaten run in nine matches, the team recently returned to their newly renovated stadium only to lose 3-1 to Chernomorets Burgas and 2-0 to Lokomotiv Plovdiv, prompting a lamb to be slaughtered to break a perceived curse.

The animal was killed in the centre of the pitch and the goals then painted with the animal's blood. "We just can't afford losing again at our stadium," coach Stefan Grozdanov told 7 dni sport daily.

The sacrifice partially worked as Pirin drew 2-2 at home to Beroe Stara Zagora in their next game, maybe killing something larger, say a unicorn, might bring that elusive victory.

Glass house dwelling Bellamy throws stones

Many a mouthful of cornflake were spluttered incredulously over the back pages of the News of the World on Sunday as football's moral compass, Craig Bellamy, claimed the behaviour of some of his fellow footballers made him "ashamed" to be a pro.

In a moment of jaw-dropping hypocrisy, Bellamy, who allegedly attacked former Liverpool team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club in 2007, said: "I don't feel close to footballers. Sometimes when I see certain things I'm ashamed to be a footballer."

The Manchester City forward, who was cautioned for common assault after an incident outside a Newcastle nightclub in 2000 and cleared of assaulting two people in a Cardiff nightclub in 2006, added: "I don't go to nightclubs, I don't go to lounge bars... That doesn't interest me."

Bellamy was once described by the late Sir Bobby Robson as "a man who could start a fight in an empty room", but the 30-year-old is also capable of moments of genius, as when he summed up the whole John Terry Bridge-gate saga with one cutting remark.

"I know what JT is like and nothing surprises me about it, so I'm not going to comment on that," Bellamy said. "I think everybody in football knows what the guy is like."

VT of the week:

It's great when a showoff falls on his arse. And that is exactly what happened to Sevilla keeper Andres Palop when he decided to swing on his crossbar after watching a shot from Malaga's Fernando sail over his goal.

Poor Palop got a little over excited in his swing, got his boot caught in the net, lost his grip on the bar and came unceremoniously crashing back down to earth by falling flat on his face. Thanks to our friends at 101greatgoals you can watch Palop's comedy fall here.

Best of the rest:

• John Barnes to re-enact World In Motion rap

• Stoichkov: Only machine gun can stop Messi

• Top 10 firework men: A warning to Spurs wunderkind Danny Rose

• Marlon King story converts into thin air


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