A COACH for Italian club Genoa was caught spying in on rivals Sampdoria ahead of their next match dressed “like Rambo”.
Youth team coach Luca De Pra has been suspended after he was spotted lurking in a wooded area close to Sampdoria’s training base in full military gear.
Genoa have said that the coach was acting alone and not carrying out an official spying mission.
Sampdoria said in a statement: “That the derby is a question of nerve, tactics and strategy we already knew, but frankly we could never expect that it could turn into an scene of espionage.
“Like Rambo hidden among the branches on the hill, Luca De Pra, Genoa goalkeeping coach and man of noble footballing ancestry, failed to overcome Sampdoria’s intelligence and counter intelligence operations.
“However, no prisoners were taken, and no blood was shed.
“Once tracked down and caught red-handed, the opposing side’s soldier was let free to return to base.
“You should always forgive your enemies, as nothing annoys them more.”
POPE Francis cheered fellow Argentine Lionel Messi and other football stars as he led a rally of sorts at the Vatican for Argentina and Italy’s national teams ahead of a friendly match.
Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, is an avid football fan who roots for the Saints of San Lorenzo back in Buenos Aires – so the spiritual leader arranged to meet stars including Andrea Pirlo and Messi in a a private audience in the Apostolic Palace ahead of Wednesday’s match, which is being played in tribute to the new pope.
One of Italy’s national team members, Mario Balotelli, who is black and has been the target of fans’ racism, was the only player to get private time with the pope. Francis and the striker spoke together in a small room off the sumptuous Clementine Hall where the audience was held.
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Balotelli looked “emotional” after their talk but that the player declined to say what he discussed with Francis.
Francis also dodged the question of whether he’d offer a papal blessing for his home country’s team. “It will really be a bit difficult for me to root, but luckily it’s a friendly match.”
SOMETIMES, really, a headline is all you need.
But in case you want a few more details, former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has splashed out on a new purchase, a pet pig.
And the Italy forward, now plying his trade at AC Milan, has revealed on Twitter that he’s named his new porcine pal Super.
ITALIAN giants Juventus have pulled off quite a signing – they’ve managed to arrange for Miss Italia 2004, Christina Chiabotto, to put pen to paper.
Sadly the Italian beauty queen, a long-standing Juve fan, won’t be lining up alongside the likes of Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo for the Turin Serie A side next season however – she’s been brought in to front the club’s newly-launched JTV channel.
ITALY coach Cesare Prandelli says if his team win the World Cup, he’ll have a mohawk.
The Azzuri boss says that his AC Milan strikeforce of Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy have as much talent as they do style, and if they fire him to the title he’ll gladly go under the clippers.
He said: “It’s an advantage for us that Balotelli can work alongside fellow Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy on a daily basis. They have enormous potential.
“If we win the World Cup in Brazil then I’ll get a mohican like theirs.”
Well Goaltastic knows who he’ll be cheering on in Brazil 2014, then.
THE Special One Jose Mourinho has decided that the title no longer does him justice – and from henceforth would like a new title.
Reflecting on his win in Spain’s La Liga, which adds to his two English, two Italian and two Portuguese titles, he decided The Only One would be more appropriate.
He said: “Like me or not, I am the only one who won the world’s three most important leagues.
“So, maybe instead of the ‘Special One’, people should start calling me the ‘Only One’.”
CLAIMS have been made that Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has already made an agreement to move to Juventus.
The reigning Italian champions are in the bidding for the wantaway Dutchman with Manchester United and Manchester City also interested.
But Milan-based agent Fabio Parisi told Italian TV: “I think Juventus have had a signed contract with Van Persie for some time locked away in a notary’s desk.
“It is just my opinion, but I think there’s an eight out of 10 chance the Dutchman will join the Bianconeri.
“Juventus want to win and he is considered the ideal addition to achieve that.”