Advert of the Day: Coatgate Comes To An End.

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Shame on you, Nike*. And massive, MASSIVE props to you, Puma.

*Just in case you need reminding of the struggle Wenger has had against his old Nike jacket…

ARSENE-WENGER-JACKET

qzV6U

 

Now that the zipper has been conquered, Arsene Wenger can now focus (almost all of) his brain power on conquering The Special One…

P.S. Who knew Wenger had a sense of humour? Although I bet he’s not laughing anymore after recently losing a 3-0 lead and ending up with a 3-3 draw vs Anderlecht in the Champions League (sorry, couldn’t resist)…

Timewarp Thursday: Tales Of Footballmania, Part 1.

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I’ve decided it’s high time for me to share some of the hilarious/embarrassing/interesting things I have done out of sheer love for Football and make a series of posts about them.

Also, since World Cup 2014 is rapidly approaching, I shall start off with a story I shall call…

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Proof That Brazilians Hurt.

 It was 2002, the second World Cup of my (football-supporting) life. I was a student of architecture in a state university north of the capital. The good news? Football was starting to come into the country’s basketball-crazy consciousness (although the true Football Boom wouldn’t really occur until 8 years later). The bad news? Live television coverage of the World Cup was snatched from the country’s government-run channel and bought by a relatively-new cable TV provider, which happens to be a competitor of the cable TV company we have at home. In short, no live matches for me. Oh, the horror!

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I made do with the delayed telecast of the matches, and sat in front of my PC during the matches, staring into the FIFA website’s live text commentary and obsessively pressing F5 on the keyboard. After which I’d go on a post-match posting binge on football forums I frequent. All using a measly dial-up internet connection, mind. Anyway, all was going well, as the Three Lions, managed by Sven Goran-Eriksson, captained by David Beckham and vice-captained by Michael Owen, sailed through to the Quarterfinals. Never mind that critics were calling their brand of football ‘boring’ and there weren’t as many goals being scored as expected. They were due to face the Brazilian squad next and that was all that matters.

I have to watch THAT match. I don’t care how, I just have to!

That’s the thought that kept playing in a loop in my head days prior to the match. This is going to be something special, I can feel it in my bones. There is no way in hell I can miss this. My friend PB and I did a little research and found that a certain pub will host a viewing party the day of the match. The only problem was that, as the World Cup was then hosted in Japan and Korea, the match would start in mid-afternoon, which cruelly coincides with the first day of our architectural design class that semester.

Now, all my life I’ve been a good and conscientious student. I’ve never cut classes during grade school and high school and have only missed classes in university due to illnesses. Also, missing the first day of an architectural design class in our university is just something that good students do not do, add to that the fact that we have no idea who our professor is—he/she could be an absolute pussycat or be the personification of a Kraken. PB and I decided to play it by ear and hold off on making the final decision on the day itself.

Meanwhile, I was then a member of a local internet football forum, and one time while I was bemoaning my dilemma on it, another member mentioned that he’ll be on that pub the day of the viewing party, and he gave me his mobile number in private and offered to send me live SMS updates if I wanted it. I took the offer gratefully—after all, I needed a Plan B.

June 21: I could barely remember what happened during the first half of that day—I attended classes in the morning, had lunch with friends, hung out with them for a bit. I do very clearly remember what I wore, though: Grey and black t-shirt, dark jeans, and my grey and maroon Pumas. I was struggling to not think about the match but at the same time, it was all I could ever think about.

Everything changed when the clock struck T-1 hour to the match. My friends and I were loitering outside our classroom, just making some idle chat, when I turned to PB and declared with the determination of a thousand Alexander the Greats, “I’m leaving NOW. To watch the match. If you decide to come with me, great, but if you decide to stay and attend the class, no hard feelings.” My friends gasped in surprise, and I saw PB’s face visibly pale. But she quickly recovered and said she was coming with me, so while running towards the stairs we shouted at our friends to cover for us in class. We were on our way! Wait for us, Engerland!

On a good day, that pub would have been an easy 20-minute cab ride away. However, it was a Friday and the traffic congestion was horrible. I can only stare at my watch in dismay as I saw the minutes pass by. We’ve completely missed kickoff. 20 minutes into the match and we’re still not moving. I was trying my absolute best to keep myself calm when my phone beeped (Nokia 3310, if you must know). I received a message from football forum guy, let’s just call him ‘winner’, that read, “England is 1-0 up. Your boy Michael Owen scored the goal.”  I let out a scream that nearly made both PB and the cab driver jump out of their skins.

PB: “What happened?!”

Me: “I am going to CRY!”

(NB: When I say I am going to cry, that’s just for dramatic purposes. I rarely cry and when I do, I give no warning of it.)

PB: “Why?!”

Me: “England is up, 1-0! OWEN SCORED!!”

*cue a fresh round of screams*

–Beckham and Mills celebrate with goalscorer Owen.

I proceeded to sing the praises of my favourite English footballer, saying how difficult it is to score against Brazil and that he was nursing an injury, so that made this goal even more special. I might as well have been speaking Swahili to the driver, because he just rolled his eyes and went back to staring at the Monster Friday City Traffic Jam ahead of us. Miraculously, we managed to arrive at the pub soon after, and I raced ahead of PB, already thinking of what beer I’ll order, opened the door and saw…it was jam-packed. Absolutely jam-packed.

Bloody hell. Who knew there were that many football fans in my country? They were all packed in that pub in the middle of the afternoon. During a workday. I stopped a flustered waiter and asked him if we can squeeze in somewhere. He apologetically told me that every square inch of the pub has been occupied. However, he must have taken pity upon seeing my crushed expression because he suddenly backtracked and said there’s an outdoor space in the back where they’ve set up another TV, and if we go quickly enough, we might still find a space there. So off my friend and I went to the back and saw that yes, there was another TV there (a huge one, actually), but the sound and reception were horrendous. The lack of a roof and the mid-afternoon glare of the sun weren’t helping, either. I could barely recognize the players and we couldn’t even hear the commentary properly. Argh!

Just when we thought we had to make do with lemons, we spotted the pub’s back door. We opened it and huzzah—we found ourselves inside the pub with a clear view of at least two suspended TV screens! We could barely close the door behind us and we were squished against countless random strangers, but I didn’t care—I could hear the commentary and I could finally see the match. Hallelujah!

It wasn’t long before more people ‘discovered’ the pub’s back door, and since it was my friend and I who were leaning on it, we became worried that new influx of people would propel us further into the crush of the crowd, something we didn’t want. A tall, bespectacled guy next to me saw the rattling door and told me to go ahead and lock it, and that he’ll help us lean on it for good measure. I smiled at him gratefully and did what was told. The funny thing was, the people outside got so insistent that they started to aggressively rattle the doorknob, and in a few minutes, the knob fell off the door and crashed to the floor! PB and I couldn’t even giggle at that incident, we were that nervous.

On to the football: The first half finished all square–Brazil’s Rivaldo scored an equalizer but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the England fans. I estimated that a sizeable part of the pub crowd were England fans—mostly expats. Scoring the first goal was an important psychological boost—as in the song Vindaloo, “We’re Engerland, we’re gonna score one more than you!” This is make or break. This is THE World Cup. This is War.

The second half began and tensions started to rise. It wasn’t until THAT freak of a freekick by Ronaldinho entered the goal when I felt my stomach drop. Brazil led England 2-1 and the minutes were flying by. Rivaldo’s antics were the straw that broke the camel’s back, and even to my surprise, I let out a series of expletives and an almighty football rant that perhaps Joey Barton would have approved of. I even got a few claps and whistles from nearby expat fans. When I finished, I saw that the table next to me was filled with real Brazilian tourists. With flags and shirts on. And they were all staring at me as if I’ve gone mad. They looked a bit scared of me, too. One of them (a very respectable-looking guy in a suit), tried to make light of the situation by jokingly saying that he never expected to hear those things from someone who looks so ‘angelic’, and with a face as red as a tomato, I sheepishly replied that it’s nothing personal. This is Football, baby. You’ve got to have nerves (and ears) of steel.

I prayed to all benevolent entities and higher beings that would listen for England to score an equalizer, and possibly a winner, but my pleas all fell on deaf ears. The final whistle was like a bullet to my already bleeding heart. People streamed out of the pub in a flash and PB and I were left at the back with only empty beer bottles, plates, tables and chairs surrounding us. Wordlessly, I picked up the doorknob from the floor, put it back in the hole and exited the pub, still disbelieving of the nightmare result. My phone beeped and it was a message from ‘winner’ again, asking me if I’m still in the pub, and that he’ll treat me to a consolation beer if I wanted it. I thanked him but declined the offer, as I sure wasn’t in the mood to meet someone new. I’ve already spooked enough strangers that day, and I might just burst into tears if I had to discuss the just-concluded match with anyone. Outside, the local Brazil fans were in full celebratory mode, chanting, “Brazil! Braziiillll!!!” , “Ole! Ole! Ole!” and “We’re gonna be Champions!” at the top of their lungs. I wanted to stick my fingers up at them but decided against it. After all, I’d be doing the very same had England won.

PB and I sat at the sidewalk outside for a good half hour, just letting everything sink in. We were pulverized. No words needed to be exchanged. Our friend from uni, ATM, somehow managed to find us, said that our architectural design class was dismissed early and did we want to go catch a movie at the nearby mall?

The rest of the day went by in a blur—we had early dinner and watched a movie (The Sum of All Fears–I fell asleep during the first half and dreamt that England had won) and then went our separate ways home. I got off the cab a few blocks away from my house and walked the rest of the distance—I was that depressed.

The result may not have favoured the team I was rooting for, but I knew then in my heart that one measly setback would not deter the so-called Golden Generation in their quest to bring football back home. I believed in them, and that was everything I needed.

And my architectural design class? Our professor turned out to be a nice fellow, and I actually got a pretty good grade in that subject.

There would be many more football-related shenanigans to come, but this one stands out and remains as one of my favourites because amid the hurt, there were several silver linings that still shone through.

And that is why Football will always be The Beautiful Game.

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 –Brazil’s Ronaldo commiserates with Beckham and Owen post-match.

Photo of the Day: He Came In Like A Wrecking (Golden) Ball…

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Photo via Twitter.

Finally, someone NOT named Lionel Messi has somehow managed to win the Ballon d’Or. Colour us surprised but it is the first ever Ballon d’Or of the ever-controversial Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Will this be the first of many more to come, or will Messi reclaim his crown next year? Stay pressed, homies.

But for now, it’s Cristiano’s time to work (twerk?) it.

You Can’t Win The Title In August: My English Premier League 2011-2012 Season Predictions Poem.

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The Lion has returned and it’s ready to Roar.

It’s that time of the year
That I hold so very dear
It’s the Return of the English Premier League.
I’m too lazy to write an essay
So I am choosing to relay
My predictions in the form of a poem.

This I say without a trace of glee
But the champs will still be MUFC
How it’ll hurt to see them win number 20.
Their runners-up will be Chelsea
Lately have been quiet but still deadly
Especially with AVB as the new gaffer.

My Liverpool will take the 3rd spot
And be led by King Kenny, the great Scot
To a triumphant return to Europe.
4th is a bit tough to figure out
Man City may give Arsenal a big clout
Knock them off the Big 4 perch they’ve been hogging.

As for the much-coveted fifth
Tottenham Hotspurs will be swift
And continue their progress under ‘Arry.
The Golden Boot’s also tricky
So many strikers who are quality
But I’ve a feeling young Chicharito will nick it.

Now on to the Relegation Fight,
The test of each club’s collective might
And the desire to slug it out with the Big Fish.
The unlucky clubs which I predict
To have a sad end-of-season verdict
Are QPR, Norwich and Swansea (Sorry, lads!).

Now, these are my thoughts only
Struggling to be expressed ably
Then again, in football, does sense really matter?
So let’s see by the mid-of-May
If I shall wince or laugh away
At how the ball bounced on this crazy old game.

101 Random And (May Not Be) Obscure Football Trivia.

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Let’s face it, the Off-Season is hard. And long. Still, it does not mean that we football fans can allow ourselves to stagnate whilst our favorite players are off lounging and tanning themselves somewhere sunny and expensive.

So whether you’re merely passing time, simply bored or you’re genuinely open to the possibility of learning something new football-wise, have a look at the list below and consider yourself schooled (or maybe not).

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Ground-ed.

* Stamford Bridge, home ground of Chelsea, was originally offered to Fulham, who turned it down.

* In 2004, FC Porto was the only club in the whole world to have 2 operating grounds: Antas and Dragon Stadion (Dragão). Due to problems with the grass on the new ground, the team regularly changed grounds between games.

* Villa Park’s dressing rooms were used as bomb shelters in WW2.

* Before the demise of the Wembley Stadium in 2000, the last time England played a tournament match home fixture away from Wembley was in 1966 for the World Cup Quarter Final against Poland at Goodison Park.

* In 1956, Portsmouth’s homeground Fratton Park staged the first ever floodlit Football League match (against Newcastle United).

* The stand redevelopment of Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park has created the largest cantilever structure in Europe.

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Girl Power.

* The last time the Queen attended the FA Cup Final was in 1976.

* Karren Brady is known as the “First Lady of Football”. Oh, and she has also sold her footballer husband, Paul Peschisolido, twice. Ruthless.

* Milene Domingues, the ex-wife of Ronaldo, is the female world record holder for keepie-uppie: She kept the ball up in 9 hours and 6 minutes in 55,188 touches.

* Patsy Kensit brought up son Lennon as a Manchester United fan to spite his Manchester City-supporting father and her ex-partner, (ex?) Oasis frontman, Liam Gallagher.

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Famous Fanatics.

* Current Agent 007 (James Bond to you and I) Daniel Craig is a Liverpool FC supporter.

* Future England Monarch and England FA Head Prince William is an Aston Villa supporter.

* The spare heir Prince Harry, however, is an Arsenal supporter.

* Mick Hucknall named his band “Simply Red” in honor of his beloved club, Manchester United.

* King of Tweens Justin Bieber recently aligned himself with FC Barcelona.

* Scottish tennis player Andy Murray did not endear himself to the English crowd in Wimbledon when he was seen wearing a Portugal NT shirt during a match warmup, prior to the England v Portugal WC 2006 Quarterfinal match.

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It Figures.

* Only 7 teams have competed in all Premiership seasons: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs.

* 7 Managers who have played football on the same side as David Beckham: Mark Hughes, Gareth Southgate, Steve Bruce, Stuart Pearce, Paul Ince, Roy Keane and David Moyes, who played for Preston North End when Beckham was on loan to them!

* Portsmouth and Huddersfield were the first two teams to wear shirts numbered 1-11 in a club match, in their FA Cup semi-final encounter at Highbury in 1939.

* Shirt numbers were first worn as an experiment in the 1933 FA Cup Final when Everton beat Manchester City 3-0.

* Scientists have measured data that records a 20 percent drop in testosterone levels in supporters following a match defeat, and a converse increase for the winners.

* Oldham suffered the heaviest defeat in League history losing 13-4 on Boxing Day 1935 to Tranmere Rovers.

* Crystal Palace is the English club that sent the most men to service during World War II  (98).

* In 1998, Jose Camacho was sacked from his managerial position at Real Madrid after just 23 days, and without taking charge of a single match. He returned to the position in 2004, lasting 115 days before being fired for the second time.

* It took a triple bypass heart surgery to get Dutch legend Johan Cruyff to finally stop smoking.

* In 1999, a research by New Scientist found that footballers are especially susceptible to a condition called SARA: Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis, which causes inflammation in different parts of the body at different times.

* Leicester City have appeared in the most FA Cup Finals without winning the trophy (4).

* The Azteca Stadium in Mexico City stands at 7000 feet above sea level.

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The Cup Of Life.

* The unenvied record of most games without a win belongs to Bulgaria, who went on a streak of 17 winless matches in tournaments from 1962-1974, 1986 and 1994.

* Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is the only captain to lose 2 World Cup Finals: 1982 and 1986.

* No Team Captain has held the World Cup trophy aloft more than once.

* The first player to be sent off in a World Cup match was Peruvian Mario de Las Casas against Romania in 1930.

* Alfredo di Stefano was capped 6 times for Argentina but then went on and moved to the National Team of Spain, where he was capped 31 times.

* The World Cup mascot was introduced during the 1966 World Cup in England. It was a happy, football-playing lion named World Cup Willie.

* The mascot for France ’98, a smiling cockerel, was named Footix.

* The yellow Brazil shirt worn by Pele in the 1970 World Cup Final was sold at a Christie’s auction for 157,750 pounds, a record for a football shirt at an auction.

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Monickers.

* The first “Red Devils” were Salford Rugby League Club.

* The Bournemouth FC from England are nicknamed “The Cherries”.

* Dundee United from Scotland are known as “The Arabs”.

* A little-known nickname of Chelsea FC is “The Pensioners”.

* “The Robins” is used by 5 British clubs: Bristol City, Cheltenham, Charlton, Swindon, and Wrexham.

* Ten Players with only 4-Letter Names: Pele, Deco, Xavi, Dani, Cafu, Didi, Kaka, Alex, Zico, Mido.

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Quote Them On That.

* When Wimbledon stunned Liverpool to win the 1988 FA Cup final, commentator John Motson described it as “A victory for the Crazy Gang over the Culture Club”.

* Football demigod Pele was once quoted as saying that “A penalty is a cowardly way to score.”

* Jose Mourinho calling Arsene Wenger a “voyeur” in an interview sparked a big row between the two back in October 2005.

Time out for bickering toddlers…er, managers Arsene and Jose.

* Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola on ex-teammate Dennis Wise: “Ninety-five percent of my language problems are the fault of that stupid little midget.”

* In 1997, Sepp Blatter proposed outlawing sliding tackles, saying they are “too dangerous and were not allowing skillful footballers to show their true style.”

* While in April 2004, his new idea was to eradicate dull draws from football, telling a German journalist: “Every game should have a winner. When you play cards or any other game, there’s always a winner and a loser. We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football.”

The strange logic Mr. Sepp Blatter.

* “There are three things in life where you do not need a common language– football, music and sex.” Turkish footballer Rustu Recber turns into a philosopher.

* In 1997, Barcelona Vice-President Joan Gaspart further inflamed tensions between his club and Real Madrid by saying, “The most educated person at Real Madrid is the woman who cleans the toilets.”

* “If brains were chocolate, he wouldn’t have enough to fill a Smartie.” Ex-player Alan Birchenall sums up the infamous Robbie Savage.

* “Maybe because he is blond and pretty, referees are capable of sending him off for that” Uruguayan Pablo Garcia offers an explanation on why Real Madrid teammate David Beckham was sent off (it was actually for ironic applause directed at an official).

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Show-offs.

* Arthur Friedenreich, half-German and half-Brasilian player, is the King of Brasilian football. He scored 1329 goals throughout his 26-year career.

* Which Englishman has played the most games under Sven Goran-Eriksson? Des Walker.

* The one player to have played in the Manchester, Merseyside and Glasgow Derbies? Andrei Kanchelskis.

* Scott Parker starred in a McDonald’s advert, playing keepy-uppy, when he was just 13 years old.

Aw, bless Scotty’s little cotton socks.

* Nicky Byrne of Westlife once tried out as a goalkeeper for Leeds United.

* Rosenborg was the Norwegian League Champions from 1992 to 2004 (Yes, that’s 12 seasons in a row). In 2005, Valerenga finally broke their streak and became new champs.

* Jose Luis Chilavert became the first goalkeeper to score a hat-trick in the history of football, for Velez Sarsfield against Ferro Carril Oeste in 1999.

* The “Great Dane”, goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel scored 13 goals, including an International goal for Denmark, in his long and distinguished career history.

* Birmingham City were the first English club to tour China, back in 1979.

* Milan is the only city to have won the Champions’ League with two different teams– Inter and AC.

* Five clubs have been awarded the Champions’ League trophy permanently: Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool.

* The first winner of the European Football Player of the Year award, or Ballon D’Or, is then-Blackpool player Stanley Matthews (1956).

* Liverpool is the only city – through Everton or Liverpool – to have staged top-flight football in every League season since 1888.

* Fabio Cannavaro was one of the ballboys during the 1990 World Cup held in Italy.

* In 1992, Denmark, a late replacement for the banned Yugoslovia, went on to win the European Championships by beating Germany 2-0.

* Daniel Agger is a certified Tattoo Artist.

* Clarence Seedorf is the only player to have won the Champions’ League with 3 different clubs: Ajax (1995), Real Madrid (1998) and AC Milan (2003).

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Swots.

* Arsene Wenger has a degree in Economics.

* Steven Harper was all set to study at Liverpool’s John Moore University, until Newcastle United offered him a contract as a goalkeeper.

* Famous existentialist Albert Camus was a goalkeeper for the University of Algiers.

* Iain Dowie has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

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That Round Thing They Play With.

* The English FA did not stipulate the exact size of the football until 1872.

* In the first World Cup Final of 1930, a different ball was used in each half after a
dispute between Uruguay and Argentina.

* The first World Cup Final played with a synthetic ball was in 1986.

* Footballs were once brown and tanned, or orange in the memorable case of the 1966 World Cup Final.

* Law Two of the FA rules states that the referee must check the ball for weight (410-450 grams), size (68-70 cms circumference), shape (spherical), pressure (0.6-1.1 atmospheres) and material (leather or other approved material).

*  In leagues for the partially sighted, 150 ball bearings are placed inside a standard football to create a ball that you can hear coming.

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We Are Family.

* Harry Redknapp and Frank Lampard Sr. are brothers-in-law (which of course makes Jamie Redknapp and Frank Lampard Jr. cousins).

* Former Liverpool player Richie Partridge married the younger sister of his ex-teammate, Michael Owen.

* The younger brother and only sibling of Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Unai, is a lifelong Barcelona supporter.

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What’s In A Name?

* Italy’s oldest football club, Genoa, founded by Englishmen in 1893, have opted to keep their “English” name and have rejected a change of name to the city’s Italian name, Genova.

* Iker Casillas would have been called Ainhoa if he was born a girl.

* Arsenal is one of two teams to not be named after a place, the other being Port Vale.

* Arsenal were once known as Dial Square FC.

* West Ham United were once known as Thames Iron Works FC.

* Manchester City were once known as Ardwick FC.

* Dennis Bergkamp was named after Scottish football legend Denis Law, but his parents changed the spelling because Denis is a girl’s name in Holland.

* The famous Buenos Aires club River Plate adopted the anglicised name rather than the Spanish Rio de la Plata, after some of the founders spotted the name on a ship’s container down by the docks.

* West Ham United once had a player named “Marco Boogers” in their books, during the 1995 season.

* The 6 Confederations of FIFA are: 1. Asian Football Confederation (AFC); 2. Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF); 2. Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF); 4. Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol (CSF); 5. Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and 6. Union des Associations Europeennes de Football (UEFA).

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W.T.F?

* Michael Owen once jokingly signed a photo commemorating one of the international records Wayne Rooney broke with, “Stop stealing my records, you ugly arse!”

* Francesco Totti once celebrated a goal by assuming the position of a woman giving birth.

Not your most flattering angle, Mr. Totti.

* Norwegian Svein Grondalen had to withdraw from an international match during the 1970s after colliding with a moose while out jogging.

* Kasey Keller knocked out his front teeth in 1998 while pulling his golf clubs out of the boot of his car.

* Brazilians Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, and Robinho once rolled on their backs and wiggled their arms and legs to celebrate a goal against Alaves, interpreted by many as doing “The Cockroach”. The complains from the Alaves Chairman fell on deaf ears.

* Paul Gascoigne (Gazza to the adoring masses) once walked into the Middlebrough canteen and ordered lunch wearing nothing but his training socks.

* Argentinian Carlos Roa refused to discuss a new contract with his then-club Real Mallorca, for he was a member of a religious sect that believed the world will end in the year 2000.

* In 2005, Robert Pires was fined 35,000 pounds by the French FA for giving an interview while wearing a Puma shirt. His national team was sponsored by Adidas.

* Middlebrough supporter Adrian Carr was arrested by the stadium police for falling asleep during a match in 2003.

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There you have it. Hopefully you are now armed with some delightfully-meaningless information which you can either use to impress your friends or to win a couple of quid in a pub quiz somewhere. Sorry, I cannot give you back the minutes you’ve lost while reading this. I never promised you satisfaction, (you fickle-minded football fan) did I?