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Sunday, January 29, 2012
20m Downing dupe, Boateng sexed out

Dominic Raynor

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, AC Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng is sidelined by too much sex, a Brazilian goalkeeper turns up "too drunk to move" at his new club, the video fake that fooled Liverpool's top brass before Stewart Downing's 20 million move, Bayern Munich's "spectacular" own goal and full-contact 'bubble football'.

Reds paid 20m after seeing fake Downing video

When Off the Ball heard this week that Liverpool decided to fork out 20 million for Stewart Downing after being duped by fake YouTube footage of the winger showing off his skills, it was instantly dismissed as a huge steaming pile of codswallop. 'Nobody can be that stupid,' we thought. But after trawling through numerous reports we stumbled across the following quotes from Liverpool chairman Tom Werner and Off the Ball's jaw dropped so far and so fast that we've had to have it wired back together by a hugely expensive orthognathic surgeon and can only drink soup through a straw for the next two months. "There was some footage of Stewart where he was, from 30 yards away, kicking a football into five different trash cans and it was brilliant," Werner is quoted as saying in the Liverpool Echo. "[Liverpool owner] John [Henry] and I said: 'Oh my God, this player is brilliant, we've got to figure out a way to make a deal with him'." Read that again. Off the Ball has the telephone number of a good surgeon if you need it. It was only later that Werner and Henry realised the footage had been digitally enhanced as part of a campaign to boost season ticket sales at Downing's then club Aston Villa. Since moving to Anfield in the summer, Downing has scored no goals and provided zero assists in 22 Premier League games.

"Too drunk to move" keeper shown door

When goalkeeper Anderson Moraes da Silva dropped down a division to play for Brazilian Serie A3 side XV de Jau he probably expected to make a big impression on his teammates during training, but he might not have expected his first impression would lead to him be booted out the club after just three days. After signing on loan from Serie A2 side Sao Bernardo in midweek, Anderson was out the door before the weekend after he turned up for training "too drunk to move". Anderson, who was allowed to resign by Jau, only returned to training at the end of 2011 after being involved in a serious car accident and did not receive a particularly warm welcome upon his return to his parent club. "I've totally had it," Sao Bernardo director of football Edgard Montemor is quoted as saying in The Guardian. "We sent him to Jau and asked him not to cause trouble. It took him two days."

The joke's on red-faced Bayern

Given that the transfer window has been starved of any decent moves this January it probably wasn't wise of Bayern Munich to punk their own fans with false claims that they would unveil a "spectacular" new forward this week. Bayern encouraged their salivating fans to watch the live unveiling via Facebook, but instead of a star signing, all that appeared was a profile picture of the disappointed user viewing the stream, their name on the back of a No.8 shirt and the claim that "every single FCB fan is the 'spectacular new signing,' our 12th man!". Previously optimistic comments from excitable supporters, such as "holy cow, I wonder who!" and "I doubt it's Tevez, most likely Berbatov", were quickly replaced by posts from furious fans, such as "stupid [Bayern general manager Christian] Nerlinger, he is worst sport director ever" and "now we'll be a laughing stock for all the other teams". The latter comment proved to be particularly prescient as the very social media channels Bayern's blundering PR department wanted to exploit became clogged with digs at the German club and comments that the "joke striker" was actually Andy Carroll/Fernando Torres/Emile Heskey etc...

Kevin-Prince Boateng sidelined by too much sex

With AC Milan man-of-glass Kevin-Prince Boateng sidelined once again, the crocked midfielder's sultry WAG Melissa Satta has delivered her own diagnoses of why her fella always appears to be conked out on the treatment table. "The reason why he is always injured is because we have sex seven to ten times a week," Sports Illustrated model Satta probably shouldn't have told Vanity Fair. "I hate foreplay, I want to get straight to the point. My favourite position is on top so I can take control." Boateng, who has only started 11 games in the Serie A this season after a succession of injury setbacks, is currently sidelined for around four weeks after picking up what the Rossoneri described as "a muscular lesion in his left thigh" during the derby della Madonnina defeat to Inter. If what Satta suggests is true, Off The Ball doesn't even want to begin to contemplate how Ghana midfielder Boateng picked up the chronic knee-knack that forced him to call time on his international career and ruled him out of the African Nations Cup.
Video of the week The brainiacs at Norwegian TV show Golden Goal who brought us the brilliantly entertaining electric shock football (scroll down) last month have been at it again. This time they have addressed the issue of football slowly becoming a non-contact sport and fixed it. Their solution is to make the players wear inflatable protective bubbles and encourage them to maim each other. To watch Sarpsborg 08 take on local rivals Fredrikstad in bubble football click here .

More than words...

Cristiano Ronaldo takes out Dani Alves as Real are second best to Barca once again. ©AP Images

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