With a handful of tournaments winding their way towards their finals, we look at some of the more light-hearted football stories that are occurring during the summer.
The “Special One” is Looking for a Special Team: Since he was terminated by Manchester United in December 2018 after their worst start in team history, Jose Mourinho continues to be linked to a multitude of managerial vacancies. While generally refusing to comment on his interest of the openings, he took the time this week to shoot down any interest in the newly vacated spot left by Rafael Benitez at Newcastle United. Rather than simply remaining silent, he said that he couldn’t join a club that lacked his own lofty ambitions. Translation-if a team doesn’t have the star-power to get to the Champions League when I arrive, I’m not interested.
Luis Suarez’ On Field Antics: Suarez has been known to sink his teeth into some opponents during his career, but during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Chile at the Copa America, his gamesmanship took a strange turn. First, he appealed for a handball call in the penalty area, which is certainly not out of the ordinary. But since the request was directed at Chilean goalkeeper Gabriel Arias, he received what could be considered a derisive look from referee. The second half saw a pitch invader wearing a chicken mask run onto the field, eventually being tackled by Chile’s Gonzalo Jara. As the “masked invader” was escorted off the pitch by security guards, Suarez beseeched the referee to issue Jara a red card. No idea which Law of the Game he might have been referencing as justification. Perhaps it’s worth noting that the match took place exactly five years since he bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, earning himself a four-month ban.
Superstars Value Their Privacy: While constantly under a microscope, Cristiano Ronaldo and his family managed to escape for a week-long vacation at Costa Navarino in Greece. Valuing his family and down time, the staff at the resort worked extra-hard to afford CR7 the privacy he and his family desired. So much so, in fact, that upon leaving the resort, he showed his appreciation by tipping the staff a whopping $22,000 for keeping the paparazzi at bay. No wonder he returned to the five-star Westin resort for the second-straight year.
The Messi Doppelganger: Iranian Reza Parastesh is a clone of superstar Lionel Messi, so much so that the picture on his Instagram page refers to himself as the Iranian Messi. Often seen wearing the kit of the Barcelona star, Parastesh has parlayed his Messi-like appearance into 700,000 Instagram followers. But on social media and in some publications, it is now alleged that 23 women followed him a little too closely. That’s the number of women who have come forward and claimed he conned them into sleeping with him, thinking it was Lionel Messi. For his part, Parastesh has denied the allegations, referring to the stories as “false news”. Like we haven’t heard that term before.