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Singapore's Hariss named in AFF Best XI


Celtic hang on for another draw

South Africa

Adriano laid low, Utd a laughing stock

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, Jan Aage Fjortoft is electrocuted on national TV, Adriano sits out Corinthians' title-winning match with party-induced diarrhoea, Dimitar Berbatov loses the Bulgarian player of the year award to a third division striker and the world laughs at an 'embarrassed' Manchester United.

Adriano laid low by post-party diarrhoea

Party-loving former Brazil striker Adriano probably regrets indulging in an all-night Sao Paulo flat-warming session after he was struck down with "chronic diarrhoea" and had to watch Corinthians' title-winning match against Palmeiras this weekend from an uncomfortable seat on the bench.

'The Emperor' has struggled to get much playing time since signing for Corinthians in March, but did score a last-gasp winner against Atletico MG as a super-sub two weeks ago to keep his club's title hopes alive. However, after the troubled forward missed training due to his party-induced looseness of the bowels, he got no playing time on the final day of the Campeonato Brasileiro.

The increasingly rotund striker claimed last month he had finally chosen football over parties and despite convincing club doctor Bruno Mazziotti his untimely bout of the squits was due to something he had eaten, former girlfriend Luana Kisner spilled the beans about the shindig. "Many models were there! He likes to party," Kisner is quoted as saying in The Guardian.

It's not the first time Adriano has been laid low with the trots. He attempted the same "something I ate" stunt at Flamengo, but was reportedly spotted by an O Globo journalist at a hot dog vendor in Barra da Tijuca at 6 o'clock in the morning, just hours before training.

Third division striker beats Berbatov to Bulgarian POTY

If you have ever wondered why Dimitar Berbatov seems all too happy to ride the pine at Manchester United, it may well be because his stock has slumped so low in his homeland he has been beaten to Bulgaria's Footballer of the Year award by part-time third division striker Boyko Borisov.

Okay, so Borisov also happens to run the country as Prime Minister when he's not turning out for Vitosha Bistritsa, but still, Berbatov wins Bulgaria's Footballer of the Year award as routinely as Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d'Or. The 2011 gong would have been Berbatov's eighth, and his fifth on the bounce.

But Borisov, who seemingly likes to refer to himself in the third person, wants the result of the poll annulled. "It's a protest vote," he said. "This vote is not a signal that Borisov is the best player but that the Bulgarian football needs reforms and a new policy. I suggest the organisers should annul the vote or they should hand the award to the best young player."

Bulgarian football is in a poor state with the national team finishing bottom of their Euro 2012 qualifying group and the nation's domestic sides have fared little better with none reaching the Champions League or Europa League group stages. Vasil Lukaev, from amateur team Shipka Dragor, came third in the player of the year poll.

All things bright and bootiful

With boffins far outnumbering the amount of important things to study in this crazy world, the surplus eggheads have to keep themselves busy conducting increasingly bizarre investigations, such as the Curvy Hips Intelligent Study, the Do Herring Communicate by Passing Gas Study and this week the Who Scored What With Which Coloured Boot Study.

The official title of survey might differ slightly from the one above, but that's essentially what a group of football experts, who have analysed every game in the current Premier League season, have done to rank player performance according to the colour of their boots.

The study, conducted to mark the launch of the 2011 Football Boot awards, concluded that eight different coloured boots have been responsible for all the Premier League goals this season - black, blue, green, grey, purple, red, white and yellow - and white boots have proven to be the footwear of choice for high-scoring strikers.

Of the ten hat-tricks scored in the Premier League so far this year, five have come off the toe of those wearing white, more than any other colour, accounting for 178 strikes. The traditional black boot is less prolific. Of the 46 players that have scored in black boots just 70 goals have been netted.

Chelsea's £50 million flop Fernando Torres has already lodged an order for two boxes of virgin-white boots.

Europe laughs at "embarrassed" United

Whilst their many rivals dripped tears of laughter into their Heineken-sponsored Champions League pints, it's safe to say that Manchester United were not amused at dropping into the Europa League after being smashed by Baselona at St Jokab-Park on Thursday night, with full-back Patrice Evra even claiming he was 'embarrassed' to have to play in Europe's second tier competition.

The derogatory chants of 'Thursday night on Channel 5' that will no doubt accompany United for the rest of the season (is that the Wolves travelling fans Off the Ball can already hear warming up?) were presumably already echoing around Evra's head when he said: "It's embarrassing to be in the Europa League. I'm not ready for it and the way I feel now it's Champions League or nothing ... I feel I'll wake up and we will have qualified. But it's not a dream, it's the reality and we should have woken up earlier."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson didn't take the 2-1 defeat in Switzerland any better and rounded on former United captain Roy Keane after he dared to suggest on TV that the result was a "reality check" for the club's younger players, who had better "buck up their ideas". Fergie retorted by ridiculing Keane's own managerial career, telling the media: "I don't know why you bring up a TV critic. Roy had an opportunity to prove himself as a manager too. It's not an easy job."

Meanwhile, UK terrestrial TV station Channel 5, who have first pick of which Europa League match to broadcast, reacted to United's plight on Twitter: "A warm welcome to Manchester United to the C5 team ... #europaleague". A portion of dejected United fans didn't share their delight and bombarded the station with abuse. They'd be much better crossing their fingers and hoping the Red Devil's don't get Braga, Brugge or Besiktas in the Europa draw on December 16 as the last five times United have lost in Europe, it has been to teams beginning with B. Now that would be embarrassing.

Video of the week

Possibly inspired by Off the Ball's featured video a fortnight ago, when Darren Bent took on Kasabian in a real-life football video game, Norwegian TV show Golden Goal have concocted their own, much improved version in which former Norway international's Jan Aage Fjortoft, Claus Lundekvam, Lars Bohinen and Thomas Myhre are electrocuted by the show's presenters. Two teams are fitted with training collars designed for dogs and shocked for our amusement. To watch the ex-Norway internationals play electric shock football, click here .

More than words...

Football legend Socrates, who sadly died at the age of 57 this week, charges forward in iconic style for Brazil at the 1982 World Cup. ©Getty Images

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