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, madcap Mario Balotelli offers to organise the Manchester City Christmas party, Uli Hoeness puts Bayern's success down to marker pens and a flip chart, Olympiakos defender Francois Modesto pulls down the shorts of his opponent and Carlos Tevez gets trashed in Manchester.
Tevez unites city
Carlos Tevez, the troublesome fellow that once divided Manchester, is now bringing City and United fans together as they have been invited to "trash" their Tevez shirts in a skip ahead of the derby this weekend.
Want-away Tevez, who quit United for rivals City in 2009, will miss Sunday's top-of-the-table clash following his alleged refusal to come off the bench against Bayern Munich and is public enemy No.1 with both sets of supporters.
The unhappy fans, of which over 75,000 are expected to descend on Old Trafford for the derby, will be encouraged to ditch their unwanted Tevez jerseys which will then be sent to charities in his native Argentina, where he is not yet a figure of hate, by bookmakers Betfair.
"Time and time again Tevez has let the fans down," said Betfair spokesman Alex Bake. "What better way for fed up supporters to show they want rid of him for good than by dumping their shirts. These two sets of supporters don't often see eye to eye, but I'm sure they'll all be pleased if he leaves Manchester in the January transfer window."
Hoeness: Flip chart better than Klinsmann
Bayern Munich club president Uli Hoeness has put his club's excellent start to the season down to €12.50, a flip chart and kicking free-spending manager Jurgen Klinsmann out the door.
Under new coach Jupp Heynckes, Bayern have a five point lead at the top of the Bundesliga and Hoeness is delighted to have returned to a traditional way of running the club after the expensive hocus-pocus under Klinsmann.
"With Klinsmann, we had Powerpoint presentations and we spent thousands of euros on computers so that he could show the players in epic proportions how we wanted to play, with the emphasis on the word 'wanted'," Hoeness said in an interview with Donaukurier.
"Heynckes has a flip chart with five marker pens which cost €2.50 each. He draws the opponent's formation on the chart and says a few things about it. We are winning games with Heynckes for €12.50 whereas we spent lots of money with Klinsmann for little success. A coach is not young or old, he is just good or bad."
Modesto gets shorty
Olympiakos defender Francois Modesto didn't take kindly to being the meat in an AEK Athens sandwich this week and, in a fit of pique, reacted by pulling down the shorts of his baffled opponent .
AEK Athens centre-back Cala followed up his tackle on Modesto with a verbal volley but ended up looking flummoxed with his shorts around his ankles and his pants on show to the world.
The top of the table Greek Super League clash, in which former Chelsea and Barcelona forward Eidur Gudjohnsen went off injured with a broken foot, eventually ended in a 1-1 draw.
But it proved to be a very eventful day for Modesto, who got his knickers in a twist and was sent-off for a non-short related incident with AEK midfielder Grigoris Makos, who was also shown a red card.
Super Mario goes Christmas crackers
Madcap Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is always being told he must begin to realise his responsibilities at the club, but putting himself forward as party planner for the Christmas party is not exactly what the Eastlands hierarchy had in mind.
Mischief-magnet Balotelli, who was described as "a little strange" by Ryan Giggs this week, has a penchant for ill though-out pranks, including throwing darts at a youth team player and driving his car into a women's prison, so it's no wonder his team-mates are little worried about what the Italian has in mind.
"Mario isn't one for drinking and falling out of clubs, he just thinks he can take a party to the next level," a City source told the Daily Star. "But some of the lads aren't so sure. They are half-expecting imported snow with tigers and dwarves."
"Skipper Vincent Kompany and manager Roberto Mancini will have a lot to say about what goes on but Mario has this cheeky glint in his eye and it is making people extremely nervous."
If there is only one party Off the Ball manages to gate-crash this festive season, please let it be this one.
Video of the week
After a controversial goal in the Asian Champions League semi-final between Al Sadd and Suwon Bluewings a mass brawl, complete with kung-fu kicks and rabbit punches, breaks out on the pitch. The trouble starts after a goal is scored directly from the re-start after an injury. Click here to see the mass brawl .
More than words...
The conventional methods for trying to stop Lionel Messi don't work so Viktoria Plzen's David Limbersky tries a new one.
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