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Any football on today?

If you’re not exhausted from this week in football, please do enjoy Augsburg vs ‘Gladbach at 2:30 PM, and Real Vallodid against Malaga at 3:00 PM. But unless you’re a fan of any of these clubs, give it a rest.

What’s the big story?

It appears a few newspapers got to talk to Arsenal’s American majority owner Stan Kroenke yesterday. It might be a public relations campaign to signal long term faith in manager and historical transfer window deadbeat Arsene Wenger, perhaps striking while the Ozil-sized iron is hot. The Independent’s summary is pretty good.

Any other interesting news?

Messi is in court along with his father on tax fraud charges today. The extent and specificity of the charges is what’s particularly interesting. From the Daily Mail:

According to the prosecutor’s office for tax crimes in Catalonia, income from the sale of Messi’s image rights was hidden using a complex web of shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and United Kingdom to avoid paying tax in Spain.

The income was connected to contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.

This is an old tack whereby the world’s extremely wealthy people set up empty companies in nations with low taxes and little tax oversight. Both Messi and his dad claim their taxes were taken care of by their “tax consultants,” and they will explain everything.

Andre Villas-Boas “broke up” with Jose Mourinho with four years ago and they haven’t spoken since. It all pertains to AVB trying to get ahead back at Porto, and Mou would have none of it. Dearie me, children. Grow up. It’s a profession.

And It appears Jose Mourinho the AVB hater didn’t take news that he was overlooked for the Man United job very well, according to Spanish journalist Diego Torres:

“Mourinho … thought that Ferguson was, besides his ally, also his friend and godfather. He was convinced that they were tied by a relationship of genuine trust. He thought that his fabulous collection of titles constituted an ‘endorsement’ unreachable to any other contenders. When he knew that Ferguson had elected Moyes, the Everton coach, he was struck by a terrible disbelief. Moyes hadn’t won absolutely anything!”

Torres said that Mourinho was on the phone constantly to his sports agency Gestifute. “Mourinho wouldn’t stop calling them. His ‘interlocutors’ had heard him sob loudly and they were spreading the word. The most feared man in the company was crushed.”

I don’t know Mourinho (and neither do you), but this doesn’t exactly ring plausible to me. And yet, there it is…

…oh, and Ireland look set to win the 2018 World Cup.

Any fun stuff?

This might be the best football video you will watch ever.

And lookin’ ‘Sharp’, Man United!

Any good reads?

If you haven’t yet, please do get acquainted with Brian Phillips’ latest on Paolo Di Canio:

“When you think about Di Canio, your ingrained responses to sports stimuli start blending into one another in a way that’s hard to analyze. His firing has been a huge story in the world of the Premier League, burning up far more news-cycle oxygen than the sacking of a Sunderland manager would normally merit — and while some of that can be ascribed to Di Canio’s status as a onetime star player, a lot of it clearly has to do with the sheer difficulty of reconciling his persona’s contradictory aspects. He fascinates us because, beyond the broad outlines of a controversial, unbalanced figure, we don’t have a clue what to make of him.”

Woof.