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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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Nov 26, 2010

Balotelli's hot tub

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, Mario Balotelli is told he can't build a £5,000, neon-lit hot tub, Luis 'The Cannibal of Ajax' Suarez is banned for seven games, Claudio Borghi likens the Boca Juniors job to voyeurism and jilted West Ham coach Zeljko Petrovic claims the Premier league is "crap".

The Cannibal of Ajax

With the worldwide notoriety of his handball goal-line clearance in the World Cup quarter-finals dying down, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is now resorting to biting people to help maintain his infamy.

During a high-profile Eredivise clash against PSV Eindhoven, the Ajax forward decided to chomp down on the delicious shoulder of Otman Bakkal ESPN Video in an unprovoked attack during a scuffle in the drab 0-0 draw.

The Cannibal of Ajax, as the Dutch press dubbed the 23-year-old, was punished by his club and has since been handed a seven-match ban the Dutch FA.

However, the controversial Suarez was non-repentant. "No, I do not regret what happened. Normally I always keep calm but I didn't ... I'm a little tired. This week I had to travel a lot," he said.

Red card for Balotelli's hot-tub

It seems the antics of Mario Balotelli are once again becoming a regular fixture in Off The Ball and this week's story features everything that is wrong with the modern-day footballer: a lack of taste, too much money and a blatant disregard for everybody else.

The Manchester City striker owns a £2 million penthouse in the city and wanted to build a balcony on the side of the 200ft block to house a £5,000, neon-lit hot tub.

Fortunately, Manchester planning officials appear to have more taste than the former Inter Milan player and gave the eye-sore the thumbs down because a one-off balcony would alter the structure of the building.

Maybe the Italian striker has been taking decorating tips from former Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland.

Borghi: Boca job like voyeurism

In an era when far too many media-savvy managers and clubs play out a public parting of ways via the sham of a 'mutual agreement' it's good to know that in some parts of the world the blood still runs hot.

Step forward Claudio Borghi, who upon being relieved of his job at Boca Juniors, following a 1-0 defeat against arch-rivals River Plate in the Superclasico, gave an insight into life at one of Argentina's biggest clubs.

"Being at Boca was like having sex with the window open," Borghi explained. "I did my job but everywhere there were journalists with bad intentions, watching you. If it was up to me I would ban the media and ban telephones. This is a very sad day."

Julio Cesar Falcioni, of Banfield, is the early front runner to become Boca's fourth coach in less than a year.

Axed Hammers coach: Premier League is crap

Sticking with parting shots, jilted West Ham United assistant coach Zeljko Petrovic took a swipe at the entire Premier League, which he labelled "crap", and not just the club that canned him.

Petrovic joined the rock-bottom Hammers following a stint as Martin Jol's assistant at Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga and plodded off down the Job Centre in an obvious huff.

"The Premier League is a crap league, it is nothing. In truth the level is shocking," Montenegran Petrovic told The Sun. "Every team has just three good players.

"If you take those players out of the teams then there are only players left who would not be playing in the bottom team in Holland. The Bundesliga is far better."

Cluj berserker Cartu gets the sack

Over in Romania, CFR Cluj-Napoca dispensed with the services of manager Sorin Cartu after he went berserk and smashed up FC Basel's dugout during a midweek Champions League defeat in Switzerland.

Cartu, who has long history of touchline trouble, lost his cool in the 1-0 loss at St Jakob Park, smashing the perspex side of the dugout with his foot ESPN Video after seeing his side concede the only goal of the game in the 75th minute.

Cluj, who took no action when Cartu attempted a similar trick using his head ESPN Video two years ago, said enough was enough and gave their raging coach the chop.

"The image and the values of the club cannot be associated with the misbehaviour which took place," Cluj said in a statement. "Due to this unwanted gesture committed by Sorin Cartu we have decided to sack him from his current position."


Video of the week

Last week, Off The Ball said that every week there's another contender for "miss of the century" and as if to prove the point Borussia Dortmund's Jakub Blaszczykowski duly delivered another one. Clean through, with the goal at his mercy, Kuba managed to shoot both high and wide against SC Freiburg. Click here to see Blaszczykowski miss an open goal ESPN Video.


More than words...


UEFA are investigating claims Mourinho plotted to get two of his own players sent off. ©Picture from Marca


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