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Jul 1, 2011

Ronaldinho party hotline

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, Yeovil complete the world's first 'twansfer', Flamengo set up a Ronaldinho party hotline to keep tabs on the wayward star, Fiorentina boss Sinisa Mihajlovic is reunited with his stolen sunglasses and Andre Villas-Boas hasn't been sacked by Chelsea ... yet.

Flamengo set-up Ronaldinho party hotline

When Ronaldinho arrived at Flamengo in January the club hailed it as a union of "the world's best with the greatest" but just six months on and the Rio side have taken the unusual step of creating a telephone hotline for disgruntled fans to report sightings of the wayward star partying.

Ronaldinho's recent performances have been met with boos from the stands - most noticeably in Sunday's goalless derby against Botafogo - so the club have urged the supporters to call the 'Disque-Dentuço' (Dial-Toothy) number if they see the former Brazil international out on the town.

The Samba-loving star was recently spotted at a nightclub at 5am, and photos of him playing footvolley on the beach were published after the disappointing draw against Botafogo. Club president Patricia Amorim said: "We always have concerns. We do not interfere in his personal life, but we have to worry, because we pay him a lot."

Hotline promoter Jose Carlos Peruano said on Tuesday that it would be kept open until Ronaldinho's performance on the pitch improved. By Thursday, Ronaldinho had scored two goals in Flamengo's 3-2 win over America-MG at the Arena do Jacare. It seems to be working.

The case of Sinisa's stolen sunglasses

Fiorentina boss Sinisa Mihajlovic enjoyed a emotional reunion with his favourite sunglasses this week following a heart-felt plea for the return of the stolen shades.

Sinisa's designer specs went missing following a press conference last week and prompted La Viola to issue a statement threatening to finger the thief unless the glasses were returned, as they had video footage of the whole incident.

"It is an object to which our coach gives a special sentimental value," a club statement read. "We therefore call for those responsible, before the verification of existing films, to deliver, even anonymously, the stolen goods at our headquarters."

It may have just been a bold bluff from Fiorentina but the ruse worked a treat. The sunglasses were returned to the reception desk in a plain envelope and true to their word, the club did not release the name of the light-fingered perpetrator.

Yeovil complete world's first 'twansfer'

Last week, Off The Ball brought you the news that Yeovil Town boss Terry Skiverton had hatched a cunning plan to use Twitter's extensive reach to scout new players for his cash-strapped League One club.

Well this week, the innovative Yeovil boss only went and signed former Everton striker Kieran Agard, 21, on a one-year deal to complete what is being dubbed the world's first 'twansfer'.

"The help from the supporters has been magnificent," Skiverton told BBC Somerset. "I'll be retweeting the ones that came up with the name Kieran Agard. There's a couple of people who had mentioned him, so they'll be taking the credit.

"What I didn't realise was other supporters from other clubs had jumped on the bandwagon. I've had supporters from Liverpool, Man Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Championship clubs like Cardiff, all telling me about their best youngsters and players that are available on loan."

Has Villas-Boas been sacked yet?

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas may have only been in the job for just over a week but the countdown to his doom has already begun with a new website that chalks of the days unitl he is sacked by trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich.

Villas-Boas quit Porto to become the Blues' seventh manager in seven years - the previous six being Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Phil Scolari, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti - and opposition fans have been quick to remind the 33-year-old of the high turnover of coaches at Stamford Bridge.

Hasvillasboasbeensackedyet may have been created as a joke but the man himself is more than aware of the demands from the boardroom and has already said he expects to be sacked if he does not start well.

"What you expect from this club is to be successful straight away. I expect to be successful - to win straight away, on a weekly basis," Villas-boas said. "I'd be surprised to be kept on if I don't win. It's something that is expected from me. I have to be successful."

Things we wish were real...

A great spoof, which certainly had us going, from Dirty Tackle, that postulated that even the inconvenience of death would not prevent Lionel Messi from heaping misery upon arch-rivals Real Madrid.

The Barcelona star was recently linked with a big money move to Madrid but when asked about the rumours Messi dismissed them with a new found panache...

"Even when I eventually pass on, I will only play ghost football at Barcelona," Messi never told reporters at Argentina's Copa America training camp. "I am happy there. No amount of spirit money will tempt me."

"Real can offer whatever they want, but I will not go. My ghost will play for Barcelona forever. Maybe it will fly around in the clouds for fun sometimes, but it will never scare people and it will never play for another club."

Messi interviews would be far more interesting if he really spoke in metaphysical metaphors.


Video of the week

Tottenham and England striker Peter Crouch is caught on CCTV running through his new 'Robot Mk II' goal celebration in what we hope is a new viral advert. To see Crouch's Robot Mk II celebration click here .


More than words...


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson does 'a Balotelli' as he struggles to remove his robe after being awarded an honorary doctorate at Stirling University. ©PA


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