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, the German U20 women pose for Playboy ahead of the World Cup, Lionel Messi escapes a 'sex and alcohol' party in Argentina, 'partying' Ruud Gullit given the boot in Russia, Chile strip team-mate Roberto Cereceda naked in front of the watching media and Ronaldinho shows he's still got it with an amazing bit of skill.
Germany U20 women pose for Playboy
Seven years after FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggested in all seriousness that "pretty" women footballers should "have tighter shorts" to "create a more female aesthetic" members of the German national squad have made the old man's dream come true by posing for Playboy ahead of the Women's World Cup.
Five young footballers - Annika Doppler (Bayern Munich), Kristina Gessat (FSV Gutersloh), Ivana Rudelic (Bayern), Julia Simic (Bayern) and Selina Wagner (Wolfsburg) - all donned hotpants and a tight white tops in sexy mockery of the German strip and posed in various states of undress for a cover shoot .
The adult magazine goes on sale on top shelves all over Germany this week and in the accompanying interview the frauleins claim they did the shoot to debunk the "erroneous image of the unattractive football player". With Gutersloh's Gessat adding: "The message is, look, we are normal - and lovely - girls."
The Deutscher Fussball-Bund didn't know anything about the shoot beforehand but the stunt has succeeded in promoting the Women's World Cup, because now we can tell you that Germany begin their defence of the tournament in Berlin on June 26, when they play Canada. England kick off their campaign with a match against Mexico the next day.
Messi escapes "sex and alcohol" party unscathed
Barcelona star Lionel Messi is back in Argentina preparing for the Copa America and it seems his countrymen are eager to give his nice-guy image a touch of the Charlie Sheens, with daily newspaper Libre claiming the World Player of the Year attended a "sex and alcohol" party in Buenos Aires.
Now Off The Ball can count on no hands the amount of soirees it has been to where at least one person hasn't drunk a beer or slipped away on a promise, but it's usually just called a party, with no need for the sex and alcohol pre-fix, but let's run with it.
Libre report that Messi's bash was hosted by reality TV beauty Xoana Gonzalez and a bevy of other South American sex symbols, including Playboy model Claudia Ciardone, lingerie model Andrea Rincon and former WAG Sabrina Ravelli, with the little maestro turning up in the company of the Milito brothers, Gabriel and Diego, and cape-wearing Boca Juniors legend Martin Palermo.
However, Messi still managed to emerge with his clean-cut image intact after telling the newspaper: "We just danced and then we played some PlayStation."
'Partying' Gullit given the boot by Chechen leader
Meanwhile, over in Russia, 'partying' Dutch legend Ruud Gullit wasn't so lucky and has been told do svidaniya by Terek Grozny president, and controversial Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov for spending more time "thinking about bars and discotheques" than football.
Gullit, who surprised many when he decided to join Terek in January, was sacked just minutes after losing 1-0 to Russian Premier League rivals FK Amkar Perm following a bizarre rant from Kadyrov that criticised the coach's work ethic, slammed the "drugs and indecent nightlife" apparently rife in the Netherlands and defended the lifestyle in the Chechen Republic.
Terek, who have won just one of their last six games and hover just above the relegation zone, had to win to keep the former Chelsea manager in his job and only lost due to a last minute own goal from defender Sergey Omelyanchuk at the Zvezda Stadium.
Gullit, who was obviously flabbergasted by the president's pre-match outburst, said moments after the game ended that he expected to get the sack even if he had won the encounter at Perm. "I don't think it would have mattered if I had won or lost," he said.
Chile strip team-mate, ban media
New Chile coach Claudio Borghi may have expected to make friends and influence people when he introduced an access all areas media policy ahead of the Copa America but he was left to rue the decision when a press-pack that survived on dregs for so long under iron-fisted predecessor Marcelo Bielsa got drunk on freedom and pooped on his doorstep.
Chile's media took advantage of their short-lived liberty to run images of the squad stripping midfielder Roberto Cereceda on the training ground under a series of headlines that called into question how seriously the team were taking the forthcoming tournament in Argentina.
This obviously angered the players and staff of La Roja and the team responded with a media blackout, leaving the press with even less access to the players than they had before.
Just before Chile cut all ties, striker Jean Beausejour told Globoepsorte: "If you ask me, the press should not be in Juan Pinto Duran [Chile's training complex]. There are places for privacy and what happened to Cereceda has happened a thousand times."
Dynamo dock wages of losers
As Ruud Gullit recently discovered, there are some strange practices in Russian football (remember Nikola Nikezic, who claims he was forced to leave his club by two henchmen with guns?) but amid all the lunacy there are some brilliant ideas, such as Dynamo Kiev's policy of fining players when the team lose.
"It's really difficult in Dynamo," Nigeria international Yusuf Atanda Ayila explained. "If you're there you always want to win, because if you lose they take it out of your salary. At first, I protested but other players told me that everyone pays for losing here. So you see the players fighting on the pitch for two major reasons: to win and keep our money in our pockets.
"You don't get paid for a difficult home or away draw, so at the club it's all about winning and nothing else. Generally people understand that in sport you win, lose or draw but at this club winning is the only language they understand."
Is that the sound of a gaggle of over-paid Premier League players shifting uncomfortably in their seats Off the Ball can hear?
Video of the week
This is a great piece of skill from Ronaldinho that is well worth 18 second's of your time. The Brazilian tempts a team-mate with a keep ups before belting the ball up in the air, killing it dead with an amazing touch and then humiliating his Flamengo colleague with an outrageous nutmeg. To see Ronaldinho skilfully humiliate his team-mate click here .
More than words...
Boca Juniors legend Martin Palermo retires in style, wearing a cape made by the club's young fans.
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