Monday, September 21, 2009

Oktoberfest visit costs Lehmann first team spot

Stuttgart's former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has been dropped from the first-team squad for paying a visit to Oktoberfest.

The 39-year-old was spotted at Munich's beer festival only hours after his side had been beaten 2-0 by Cologne in the Bundesliga, although he had not been given permission to attend.

Stuttgart confirmed Lehmann would not be part of the squad which travels to face Lubeck in the second round of the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday.

The keeper had gifted Cologne their second goal when he raced out of his area only to lose possession and allow Wilfried Sanou to shoot into an empty net from 45 yards out.

Lehmann apologised for breaking club rules, accepted the suspension, but claimed his motives were good.

''The visit to [Oktoberfest] was part of a charity event and it had been planned for a long time,'' he said. ''However, it was not agreed with the club. Of course I accept the measures taken by the sporting management.''

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Police seize Maradona's earrings

Italian police have seized earrings from Argentina's football coach Diego Maradona in an effort to recover unpaid taxes from his playing days at Napoli.

Maradona handed over the earrings, worth some 4,000 euros (£3,600), at a health clinic in northern Italy.

Italian news agency Ansa said Maradona faced a bill of 37m euros from his time at Napoli, where he played a starring role between 1984 and 1991.

His trip to the health clinic follows a string of defeats for Argentina.

The results, for which Maradona has taken much of the blame, have left the team in danger of not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

The Argentina coach, a regular visitor to the health clinic, was reportedly being treated for weight problems and stress.

Three years ago, police took two Rolex watches worth an estimated 10,000 euros from Maradona during a visit to Naples.

At the time, the tax police said it was acting on a judicial order authorising the seizure of anything of value "within plain sight".

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Players chosen based on computer games

The 1988 Soviet Union European Championship team was selected on the basis of players' results in a number of computer games or tests created by the Kiev scientist Anatoly Zelentsov.

"There were 40 candidates [for the squad]," said Zelentsov, "and with these tests we selected the first 20."

The games, also used to deduce prospective signings' suitability for the Dynamo Kiev side of the time, tested a range of attributes from nerve and endurance to reaction times and memory.

"There are lots of ways of testing," said Zelentsov. "But I prefer the computer."

With some justification - the Soviet side reached the Euro 88 final before losing to the Dutch.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Footballer loses leg after lightning strike

A Danish footballer has been forced to have his leg amputated six weeks after being struck by lightning during a friendly.

Jonathan Richter, 24, was playing for his club FC Nordsjaelland at second-tier Hvidovre on July 20 when he was struck.

Medics restarted his heart, but he was placed in an induced coma and doctors decided that the damage to his leg was so severe they needed to amputate the lower portion of it.

A message on the club's website read: "Jonathan's progress means a lot to the Richter family, friends and all involved with FC Nordsjaelland, but the family now request that all continue to respect the peace that Jonathan needs in the future as he faces tough rehabilitation."

He was reportedly recovering well from the operation and was expected to be moved out of intensive care shortly.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Croatian FA president hints at conspiracy

The president of the Croatian federation says the injury suffered by his country's star playmaker Luka Modric has left him wondering whether Croatia's top stars are being deliberately targeted for rough treatment in the Premier League.

Vlatko Markovic spoke out after Modric suffered a broken leg playing for Tottenham against Birmingham at the weekend which will sideline him for around two months, with Croatia set to face England in a crucial World Cup qualifier at Wembley on September 9.

It follows on from an even more severe injury suffered by Arsenal striker Eduardo - also against Birmingham - in February 2008 which meant he was unavailable when the sides met in the reverse fixture in Zagreb last September.

Markovic said: "First Eduardo, now Luka Modric. This is horrible. I can only ask myself if it was really an accident.

"I'm close to thinking it was done to us deliberately before the England match. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what happened to Luka. He is irreplaceable."

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