Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov heatmap
On-off debacle highlights challenges of football's return in Brazil

Can you imagine a more inevitable thing than Dimitar Berbatov scoring against Arsenal? And, can you imagine a funnier thing, for most people apart from Arsenal fans, than Dimitar Berbatov scoring against Arsenal? "Arsenal are a good team, but we wanted the win more than them," Berbatov said after the game. "We were fighting all over the pitch, winning our challenges and scoring the goals... A team like Arsenal cannot allow themselves to underestimate a team like us, but if they did it, then it's bad for them. You can see on the pitch that we won it."

Berbatov's performance was basically a cartoon version of himself, loafing around the pitch and making everyone who demands DESIRE and PASSION and WORKRATE very angry indeed, seemingly ignoring that there are many different types of footballer, and that a languid genius with the first touch of an angel like Berbatov is enormously entertaining to watch. The way he took his goal was extremely 'Berbatov' as well, waiting until the very, very last moment as three defenders bore down on him, before calmly slotting the thing away and celebrating with the air of a man wondering why everyone was getting so worked up. After leaving the Premier League, it's just good to know that we can always get a little fix of Berba every now and then.

And hey, we probably shouldn't be quite so surprised – or at least David Ospina shouldn't, because this is what happened when Berbatov faced him last season...

Barry Bannan

50 shades of grey on my own in bolton that's how bored I am today 🙈 wat am I thinking 😂😂😂— barry bannan (@bazzabannan25)

Of course, you might think that a professional athlete going to see tame (apparently) spanky-spanky rum film '50 Shades Of Grey' would qualify Barry Bannan, on loan at Bolton from Crystal Palace, for the 'Bad Week' section of this column. However, GW/BW says good on him – he's taking in some poorly-written erotica, and he's happy to shout it loud and proud. There shouldn't be such a thing as a guilty pleasure, and if he likes watching Jamie Dornan strut around with no top on then who are we to judge? He's a handsome man who clearly takes care of himself. If Bannan wants to feel any better, GW/BW once went to see Toy Story 3 on its own in the middle of the day, forgetting that it was during the school holidays. Now that was not a good look.

Marwin Hitz

Fair to say Augsburg's goalkeeper enjoyed this last-minute equaliser.

A Wigan fan

Sure, this is another one you could put in the 'Bad Week section, but when you're a Wigan fan watching your team lose another game, this time to Cardiff City, you have to seek alternative forms of entertainment, in this case watching the Champions League on his phone. "As bad as performances have been under Mackay this season it was a surprise to see the lengths this lad went to avoid watching,” Neil Burrows, a nearby fan, told Eurosport. "Though by the end of the 90 minutes a small crowd had amassed behind to join him." Sir, we salute your ingenuity.


One imagines stuff like this just makes Manchester United fans even more frustrated.

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Footballers taking criticism

Obviously, footballers have to deal with a good amount of abuse, and much of it very unfair, but there are ways to deal with this sort of thing. A couple of players this week chose to confront their critics in fairly robust fashion, the most high-profile of course being Neymar, who took exception to a spot of taunting from a Manchester City fan after their Champions League clash on Tuesday. Student Aziz Hammad made a diving gesture towards the Brazilian forward after Leo Messi missed that late penalty, something Neymar apparently wasn't too impressed with, although he appears to be under the impression that some bad words in Portuguese were directed at him.

“What he told me? I cannot repeat it,” said Neymar, although Hammad's version of events is rather different. “He stared at me for a few seconds and looked to see if his manager was watching,” said Hammad. “Then he gestured for me to come over but straight away the whistle went. Then he came over and put his face right in my face. I didn’t know whether he was going to push me or what he was going to do. He was saying something to me in either Portuguese or Spanish but I couldn’t understand him. I kept doing the diving gesture to annoy him. Then the stewards pulled me away and he went down the tunnel.”

A little further down the league ladder, Kingstonian goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey wasn't best pleased with some abuse from supporters after their game against Bognor Regis, so did the only sensible thing – he waded into the crowd to sort things out the old-fashioned way. As players from both teams intervened, a brawl ensued, leading to the police being asked to take a look. "Police were called to a fight at Kingstonian FC around 9:45pm and we are currently investigating," they said in a statement. Why can't we all just get along, eh?

Dani Osvaldo

It didn't take Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo long to get on with being Dani Osvaldo in his latest loan stint, this time at Boca Juniors in Argentina. The forward, following an abortive spell with Inter, could already be on his way out of Buenos Aires after being fingered as the ring leader behind a small gathering of some 'new friends' in the team hotel, before a game against Temperley. Osvaldo apparently smuggled a number of young ladies back to the hotel, where team-mates Juan Manuel Martinez, Agustín Orión, Leandro Marín and Jonathan Calleri all had what sounds like an absolutely smashing time. Until they were quite literally caught in the act by manager Rodolfo Arruabarrena, of course, putting Osvaldo's future at the club in jeopardy, only a few weeks after joining them. Boca actually won the game 2-0, and last night Osvaldo scored on his debut in the Copa Libertadores, so perhaps there's a lesson there.

Dunkin' Donuts

I wonder if

As Vincent Tan and Assam Allam have discovered to their cost, football fans do not often take kindly to things they regard as sacrosanct being toyed with, and now you can add Dunkin' Donuts to that list. Liverpool's 'official tea, coffee and bakery provider' fired up Photoshop this week and made their own version of the club crest, replacing the Shankly Gates with coffee and doughnuts, while 'You'll Never Walk Alone' became the rather less stirring 'America Runs On Dunkin'. Cue some unhappy fans and the inevitable apology. "We apologise for any insensitivity regarding our tweet supporting an LFC-themed promotion featuring the LFC crest," a statement read. "As a proud partner of LFC, we did not intend any offence, particularly to the club's supporters. We have removed the tweet and halted the campaign immediately."

A New York City FC supporters group

Membership requirements for a new NYCFC supporters group - Bet they'll have a blast.

This lot sound like a blast.

Paul McGrath

Why don't the top Football people . Give back the monies they were given. And have another ballet as to where to hold the World Cup !— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5)

Now, it's mean to make fun of someone for a typo on Twitter, but this was a hugely enjoyable one from defensive genius Paul McGrath, not least because the thought of Sepp Blatter doing a plié or Luis Figo in a tutu is quite, quite excellent. Not the other way around, though. Good lord, no.

Nick Miller - external@NickMiller79https://twitter.com/NickMiller79None

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