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Dec 3, 2011

Gladbach turn to rock, paper, scissors

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, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis tells Ezequiel Lavezzi's mugged WAG she shouldn't wear a Rolex during a recession; Borussia Monchengladbach play rock, paper, scissors during game; Neymar gets a one kilometre long letter from a trio of fans; Marseille's Andre-Pierre Gignac 'does a Carlos Tevez'; and a wildly celebrating Marek Hamsik is left red-faced.

Gladbach duo play schnick-schnack-schnuck during game

With Borussia Monchengladbach sitting joint top of the Bundesliga and cruising with a 3-0 lead in Cologne, Die Fohlen duo Marco Reus and Mike Hanke decided to entertain themselves with a game of rock, paper, scissors during the match .

The bizarre situation arose when Monchengladbach were awarded a free-kick in the second half at the RheinEnergieStadion and forward Reus, 22, and striker Hanke, 28, decided schnick-schnack-schnuck was the best way to settle a disagreement over who would take it.

Hanke's greater experience proved to be the difference as he beat his young rival Rues, who said the pair meant no disrespect to Cologne. "We didn't want to make fun of anyone," Rues explained to Bild. "Mike was supposed to be the shooter, but he already had a brace. And I also wanted to score. That's why I suggested that we figure it out."

There's no truth to reports that next week Reus and Hanke will play slaps over throw-ins, have a thumb-war to decide who takes free-kicks and arm-wrestle for the honour of taking a penalty.

Laurentiis chides mugged WAG for wearing Rolex

Outspoken Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis had little sympathy for the girlfriend of star striker Ezequiel Lavezzi when she was robbed at gun point this week, instead blaming the bling-toting WAG for flashing her tempting wares.

Yanina Screpante revealed her ordeal, in which two assailants stole her Rolex watch, on Twitter, writing: "When they say that in Argentina there is insecurity... the city of Naples is **** I have had my watch stolen at gunpoint."

Laurentiis reacted to the slur against the city of Naples by gently chiding "emotional" Argentine beauty Screpante and basically claimed she was acting like a baby. The Napoli chief said: "I would like to tell Yanina that during a recession she shouldn't go round with a Rolex on her wrist."

He added: "Maybe she's not yet 'Neapolitan' enough to deal with this sort of thing. Perhaps the girl thought she was untouchable, being Lavezzia's girlfriend, but that is not the case. In any case, Naples is a marvellous city and the people are generous."

Gignac says sorry after 'doing a Tevez'

Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac discovered this week that 'doing a Carlos Tevez' and insulting the manager in a row about a Champions League match isn't all about sunning yourself on the golf course and unsanctioned trips to Argentina.

Gignac was furious at being relegated to the role of substitute against Olympiakos recently and after allegedly telling Dider Deschamps he was the son of a something or other in a verbal spat, and refusing to apologise to his coach for what OM would only describe as "hurling two big insults", was dumped out the first team and banished to train with the reserves.

But after watching his team-mates lavished with praise after walloping big-spending fancy-dans Paris Saint Germain 3-0 in Ligue 1's Clasico and overcoming a few petty "respect issues" (Deschamps saying: "First, don't say 'tu' to me, say 'vous'". And Gignac, according to The Guardian, responding with: "Why should I say 'vous' to you if you say 'tu' to me?") the France international had a change of heart.

"Following meetings, it has been agreed that the player will return to the first-team squad after apologising to the whole of the squad," Marseille announced prior to this weekend's clash with Caen.

Neymar's one kilometre fan letter

Despite a year-long rendition of The Clash's 'Should I Stay or Should I Go' as he teased Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona into transfer talks, the fans of Brazilian club Santos still love Neymar and proved it this week by delivering a 1km-long letter of worship.

Neymar, Brazil's most promising young star in years, committed his immediate future to the club last month, signing a deal to keep him at the Vila Belmiro until the 2014 World Cup, and since that day three supporters with far too much time on their hands have been scrawling their appreciation on a rag-tag paper bale.

According to various reports, a remarkably unperturbed Neymar tweeted: "Olha a carta que recebi de 3 lindas fãs .. A carta tem 1km .. Obrigado pelo carinho e um beijo no s2" or "Look at the letter I received from three beautiful fans. The letter is 1km. Thank you for caring."

The fauxhawked 19-year-old presumably then headed down to the local law court to secure a restraining order.


Video of the week

Napoli star Marek Hamsik is left red-faced after indulging in a bizarre staircase-plus-hair-grooming goal celebration combination before he realises his spot kick has been ruled out for encroachment and won't stand. Possibly more embarrassing is the fact he misses the retaken penalty, blazing over the bar during Napoli's 3-3 draw with Juventus. To see Marek Hamsik's double fail, click here .


More than words...


Stamford Bridge pays tribute to Gary Speed (1969-2011) ahead of Chelsea's Carling Cup quarter-final with Liverpool. ©Getty Images


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