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Mertesacker: I've never played in back 3


Cafu coaches Miss Universe

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, Lille chase Arsenal signing Park Chu-Young to airport, Cafu coaches two teams of Miss Universe contestants, Mezut Ozil goes up in smoke and disappears, and a Real Zaragoza fan dons his 'Anti-Mourinho glasses'.

Cafu coaches Miss Universe contestants

Off the Ball imagines that the organisers of this year's Miss Universe pageant didn't have to twist the arm of Brazilian World Cup winner Cafu too much when they called to ask if he wanted to coach not one but two teams of the world's most beautiful women.

In fact, the former AC Milan right-back probably made one of the indefatigable runs that were the trademark of his playing career as he raced all the way to Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo to help the lovely ladies limber up for the match.

With the Miss Universe contest taking place in Brazil, some kind of football related activity just had to be shoe-horned into the contest's promotional events, but once the 'friendly' kicked off some of the girls really got stuck in and there might be a few bruised legs on show during the infamous swimsuit round.

At the final whistle, Cafu threw his lot in with Miss Brazil, Priscila Machado, who he backed to win the Miss Universe title and gave a signed Brazil shirt.

Ozil goes up in smoke

It's hardly as shocking as the infamous dentist's chair drinking-game scandal that enveloped England at Euro 1996, but Mezut Ozil has landed himself in trouble ahead of Germany's Euro 2012 qualifier against Austria after being photographed puffing on a cigarette and generally cavorting on a yacht in Ibiza.

German newspaper Bild snapped the Real Madrid star chilling out with a number of pals during the summer and published the pictures this week. But when confronted with the incriminating evidence midfielder Ozil claimed he'd only lit up for a bet.

"I was on a yacht on vacation and so I didn't notice I was being photographed," Ozil said between mouthfuls of Polo mints. "It was because I lost a bet and therefore only a one-time thing. I assure you: I do not smoke."

Germany manager Joachim Low may or may not be planning to teach Ozil a lesson by locking him in the changing rooms and refusing to let him out until he has smoked a pack of 200 cigarettes.

Lille chase Park to airport

Arsenal's new signing Park Chu-Young could prove extremely difficult for Premier League opponents to keep tabs this season as the South Korea forward managed to give suitors Lille the slip and race to the airport in order to seal his move to the Gunners.

The Ligue 1 champions thought they had a deal for Park all sewn up after agreeing a £2.7 million transfer fee with Monaco and a £40,000-a-week contract with Park. But halfway through his medical, Park heard of Arsenal's interest and hot-footed it to London.

When Lille officials went to collect Park from the hotel to put the final touches to the transfer, they found the room empty. A search party was reportedly dispatched to the airport to try to track down their man but Park managed to evade his pursuers.

"We haven't had a telephone call, nothing," Lille chairman Michel Seydoux said. "From what we understand, he could be at Arsenal. We are stunned by this unacceptable behaviour in terms of human qualities."

Hoffenheim heroes

If one were to cobble together a trio of heroes to ensure public safety, it's unlikely that two binmen and Hoffenheim's general manager Ernst Tanner would be top of the list.

But the improbable threesome leapt into action this week to save a neighbour trapped under the rear wheels of her car.

"I couldn't believe my eyes," Tanner said, having been out jogging on Wednesday morning when he heard his neighbour screaming and found her trapped under the Mercedes. He enlisted the help of two binmen to "lift the car and pull out the poor woman".

"I only did what everyone would have done," he modestly added. "It's hardly worth mentioning." Police said the automatic car rolled over the woman as she closed her garage door.

Video of the week

This week's footage comes from Real Madrid's 6-0 away victory over Real Zaragoza. A match that was such a stroll in the park that Mesut Ozil decides he is no longer needed and vanishes into thin air. To see Ozil disappear without even a puff of smoke, click here ESPN Video.

More than words...

'Anti-Mou glasses' - This Real Zaragoza fan doesn't fancy a poke in the eye from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.©AP

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