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It gets Messi in Argentina, sexy in Brazil

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, Czech police are called into breathalyse a drunken referee who can't stand up, Lionel Messi's mother chases his ex-girlfriend with frying pan, Ronaldo advises against pre-match masturbation and Iker Casillas' photographic evidence isn't enough to avoid a fine.

Messi's mother chases ex-girlfriend with frying pan

Mamma Messi is understandably protective of her little Lionel but chasing ex-girlfriends with a frying pan, as the Barcelona star's old flame Macarena Lemos claimed this week, is probably taking her matriarchal tendencies a rather large step too far.

In an interview with Telenoche, Lemos, a 20-year-old lingerie model from Rosario who briefly dated Messi in 2006, explained that the bizarre incident occurred when she was out shopping with her mother and her aunt at the weekend.

"She was following me and taking photos until I turned around and asked her what was going on," Lemos is quoted as saying on "That's when she started insulting me. What was she doing there in the electronics section, with a frying pan in her hand? She was following me with a telephone and a frying pan."

Lemos claims she has never spoken publicily about the details of her teenage relationship with Messi and can't understand why his mother has been driven to chasing her with the family cooking pot.

"I have never came out and said whether I had slept with her son. I was 14 and he was 18 - and I didn't reveal anything about our relationship," Lemos said. "She seems to think I said something to a magazine, but I never did. They are confused."

However, the model did claim she would still like to spend a night with the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner in the future. "That's unfinished business for me," she concluded.

Drunk Czech referee sends three off for no reason

The unfathomable decisions that match officials make are frequently put down to bias, being "f****ing blind" or their assumed illegitimacy by frustrated fans, but rarely is their performance so inept that the local police are called in to breathalyse a hapless referee on the suspicion that he's completely sozzled.

But that's exactly what happened over in the Czech league this week when Tomas Fidra turned up after his birthday celebrations smelling "like a brewery" and sent off three Jestrabi players during their game against Tynec-nad-Labem for no apparent reason. That's on the infrequent occasions he managed to stay stood on his feet of course.

"There's no rule which bans a drunk referee from taking charge of a match. If we had refused to continue to play, we could have been sanctioned," Karel Dusek, an official from the Jestrabi Lhota club, told the Lidove Noviny newspaper. But with the game turning into a farce and having to face a team with just eight players, the home side agreed not to attack with the score at 1-1. "Even their supporters applauded this gesture," Dusek explained.

According to AFP the referee had a worryingly high 1.94% alcohol level in his blood when he was tested by police, although that would mean he'd consumed the equivalent of over 30 shots of vodka and 35 pints of Stella over a five hour period.

Ronaldo: 'Sex before matches is fine'

Retired Brazil legend Ronaldo has defended the pre-match partying lifestyle that co-existed with his illustrious career, claiming that it would have been much more detrimental had he been left alone to... er... entertain himself.

The former Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan and AC Milan star told Mundo Deportivo that he believes a little bit of nookie before a big game has no impact on a player's performance (on the pitch) but a private handshake with the one-eyed milkman could lead to fatigue.

"Nobody can prove that sex affects performance on the field," the 35-year-old opined. "However, masturbation is more tiring."

Ronaldo, who was embroiled in a bizarre scandal involving three transvestites, a police inquiry and allegations of extortion back in 2008, went on to describe an incident at the 1997 Copa America, which Brazil won, when he and Romario sneaked out of the team camp for a bit of extracurricular activity.

"Romario convinced me to escape with him from the hotel. I had to jump over a wall, have a ladder prepared and a taxi booked to take us away. It was all handled very intricately, but I cannot give any more details," smirked the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

Traffic jam earns Casillas Real Madrid fine

Finding himself stuck in a traffic jam on the way to training this week, quick-thinking Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas decided to take a snapshot and uploaded the evidence to his Facebook page in the hope he could avoid a statutory fine for being late.

It didn't work. Neither the World Cup winner's photo of the backed-up cars, nor the views of his 3.286 million Facebook followers could dissuade manager Jose Mourinho from meting out punishment.

Alongside the photo, Casillas wrote: "The week starts badly. People from Madrid, and those who aren't, have run into traffic jams, and me in particular, has a fine imposed on me by Mourinho for arriving late at training. I add evidence!!"

However, the Spain international did end his post on high - "PS: At least we brought home the three points from Malaga!" - and kept a clean-sheet in the 3-0 win over Villarreal on Wednesday night to keep the pressure on Liga-leaders Levante.

Video of the week

It's been an eventful week for Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, what with setting fire to his bathroom with a firework, unveiling his "Why always me?" t-shirt in the 6-1 Manchester derby victory and then fronting a fireworks safety campaign. Perfect subject matter for Taiwanese animators to tackle. And they have. Click here to see Balotelli get the treatment .

More than words...

AC Milan manimal Gennaro Gattuso has said he won't let the trifling matter of being blind in his left eye end his career. ©Getty Images

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