MONDAY’S BIG STORIES
Ronaldo or bust
Apart from all the futile sighing about Brexit’s rubber-stamping, it’s all anyone was talking about: Cristiano Ronaldo, marking the renaming of his hometown Madeira airport to Cristiano Ronaldo Airport, and the incredible bronze bust of his head that was unveiled for the occasion.
Bad football statues have long threatened to become part of the Light-Hearted Football Content furniture, particularly since Southampton commissioned this perfectly proportioned tribute to a former manager:
The sculptor of that particular abomination eventually gave a rather heart-rending interview with a local paper. “I’ve literally worked on it for seven days a week for the last 18 months,” he said. “Even when I wasn’t working on it I was thinking about it – was Ted, Ted, Ted all the way through. Sometimes I’d wake up at 3am and go and do some more work. It’s been mentally shattering but I wanted to do it so much.”
We await the written reasons from the Portuguese sculptor for why Ronaldo was made to look like [checks Twitter] David Coulthard, Raoul Moat and/or Niall Quinn.
Still, it made the day slightly more bearable. For a bit.
Lamela’s season over as he finally goes under the knife
The most surprising thing about Erik Lamela’s mysterious injury layoff is that he’d played 14 times for Spurs this season. Having been sidelined since October with a hip injury – despite travelling to Rome to have treatment with his former club’s medical department at the start of the year – Tottenham’s club-record signing will finally undergo surgery in a bid to solve the curious problem.
Lamela’s recuperation was interrupted further by his brother being seriously injured in an accident in Argentina, for which the £30m forward was granted leave to return home in December. Suggestions that Spurs are open to selling Lamela, who had found some form in the early stages of this season, are unlikely to improve his mood as he battles to revive a stalling career. And very good luck to him, too.
Sanchez breaks silence on Arsenal future…sort of
With speculation mounting (speculation always mounts, it knows no other way) that Alexis Sanchez is headed for one of the Emirates’ many clearly-signposted exit doors, it was perhaps time for the man himself to offer some answers.
And where better to clarify your Premier League future than at a promotional event in Santiago for a new mobile phone?
I’m happy in London and I want to finish my contract. That’s what I want. I like to stay in one place, one city, where the team fights for titles.
That’s all the gathered media could coax out of the 28-year-old, who has barely a year to run on his Gunners contract. Note Sanchez’s careful use of the word “London”, which surely boosts the hopes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Leyton Orient in the race to sign the nuclear-powered, goalscoring bad loser.
IN OTHER NEWS
Look, it’s with a heavy heart that we poke fun at Americans for not quite grasping the finer (or broader) details of association football – Bob Bradley was a nice bloke, with a lovely voice, and who cares if he called penalties “PKs” anyway – but this cannot go without comment.
Here’s Bastian Schweinsteiger’s official unveiling as a Chicago Fire player – where one journalist had a rather awkward question to ask about the German’s late-career ambitions…
Actually, you’re tempted to give the poor bloke the benefit of the doubt here – does he mean that Chicago could host the World Cup finals at some point in the futu….no, he’s rephrasing the question…oh god….oh no.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: The Warm-Up: Ronaldo’s bust, Lamela’s still bust and Barca's blind trust in Messi