Zlatan v Onyewu, Club America fire sale
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, Mexican side Club America put their entire squad up for sale, Zlatan Ibrahimovic breaks his ribs in a "life and death" brawl with Oguchi Onyewu, Atletico Choloma president Javier Hernandez claims it was "necessary" to punch the referee, an amazing rabona in Serie D and Fulham's basket of secret mistress-only mobiles
Onyewu broke Zlatan's rib in "life and death" fight
Former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a break from blasting "bald headed enemy" Pep Guardiola for having "no balls" this week to reveal that he and 6'4" defender Oguchi Onyewu "almost killed each other" in a training-ground brawl at AC Milan.
Ibrahimovic, a black belt in Taekwondo with a strange penchant for kicking his team-mates, came to blows with muscle-bound USA international Onyewu in November last year after the Swede made a dangerous tackle. It took ten team-mates and coaches to separate the two from throwing punches.
"I'm not talking about a small row," Ibrahimovic wrote in his newly-released autobiography, I Am Zlatan. "It was like life and death. Onyewu and I almost killed each other."
Once things cooled down the players shook hands and it was only later that Ibrahimovic, who claims that when he was a youngster in Malmo he was "a savage, a lunatic", discovered that he had suffered a broken rib.
Club America puts entire squad on transfer list
When Primera Division de Mexico giants Club America finished second bottom in this season's Clausura championship Emilio Azcarraga Jean did what many a dummy-spitting owner has threatened to do in the past and put his entire good-for-nothing squad up for sale.
America are considered to be one of Mexico's biggest clubs, along with Chivas Guadalajara, but their 3-1 defeat to Cruz Azul on the final day of the regular season left the once proud club with a record of just three wins in 17 matches and meant they missed the cut for the title playoffs.
It was too much to take for Las Aguilas' owners who, presumably already teetering on the brink of madness after trying to fathom just how the winter Apertura and summer Clausura three-group championship that make up the Primera Division de Mexico actually work, threw their toys out of the pram.
"Club America announces that its club management have met and decided, after studying the results of the Apertura championship, to place all the players on the transfer list," the club said in a statement. "The team did not meet expectations... "
A herd of highly-paid directors of football have already stampeded Europe's airport terminals with Ecuadorian striker Cristian Benitez and highly-rated youngster Diego Reyes top of their wanted lists.
Atletico chief claims ref punch was "necessary"
Atletico Choloma president Javier Hernandez, whose team are rooted to the foot of the Primera Division de Honduras, insists his decision to run onto the pitch and punch the referee following his side's 1-1 draw with Victoria was "a necessary gesture" in the fight against corruption.
Hernandez flipped after Choloma midfielder Juan Raudales was shown a red card early in the second-half at the Estadio Ruben Deras and Victoria's Oscar Bonilla scored a last-gasp equaliser in the time added on for the sending off by the referee to deny his struggling side a vital home victory. According to the The Guardian, Hernandez blamed the "football mafia" for bribing the officials and upsetting him.
Despite being banned and fined by the Honduras FA, or the Federacion Nacional Autonoma de Futbol de Honduras to give them their full title, the Choloma conspiracy theorist showed no remorse and said: "They crush the weak. I'm fighting back."
Fulham's basket of secret mistress-only mobiles
Former Danish tennis star Frederik Fetterlein makes an unlikely entry in football-obsessed Off the Ball this week after making an amazing claim that Fulham furnished their players with mobile phones to secretly contact their mistresses.
"One day I visited one of my good friends at Fulham FC," The Sun report Fetterlein writes in his book Seduced By Life. "Shortly after the training session ended an assistant took a basket filled with mobile phones and passed them on to various players.
"Some used these phones for about an hour or so until they left the football complex to drive home. It was their girlfriend-mobile - the phone they could use to speak freely to their mistresses."
Fetterlein, 41, who now plies his trade as model, also claims he had a threesome with a Chelsea player and was chatted up by Ashley Cole's ex-wife Cheryl Cole.
Video of the week
We head to the Italian Serie D for a remarkable, if somewhat indulgent, piece of skill from Teramo's Gerardo Masini. The Argentinian striker goes past for players with a Messi-esque dribble and then scores the opening goal with a perfect rabona in a 2-0 win against San Nicolo. To watch Masini's amazing rabona, click here .
More than words...
Italy's Mario Balotelli may be the prince of pranks but when it comes to flicking unsuspecting team-mates in the love spuds, Thiago Motta is king.
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