Ping pong ding dong

Son Heung-Min's hotel scrap

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💬 Quote of the day

"I'm so happy they've got Nando’s” - Riyad Mahrez’s wife Taylor Ward on life in Saudi.


🏓 Ping pong ding dong

It’s easy to forget South Korea is still a deeply conservative society where dutiful children doff their caps to elders and a red card is a matter of national disgrace.

So there were a few grandmas choking on their kimchi when Jurgen Klinsmann was appointed to the national team, and swanned in from California with a pre-rolled spliff behind his ear and a copy of Jack Kerouac tucked into his kaftan.

Inspired by Jurgen’s carefree philosophy, PSG forward Lee Kang In thought nothing of sneaking off for a cheeky game of table tennis during dinner before their Asian Cup semi final.

According to Korean press, captain Heung-Min Son was furious at this disrespect for the traditional pre-match meal, and grabbed Lee by the collar to drag him back to the table.

Even Klinsmann broke off from strumming his kalimba to see his hippy free-for-all descend into carnage as Lee punched Son in the face, and the Spurs captain then dislocated his finger trying to drag apart his brawling teammates.

And in case you’re wondering, they lost 2-0 to Jordan the next day…


😵‍💫 Littler less conversation

“It was good to chat. I didn't get much out of him, because of his accent, but he did say keep going and stick to it,” explained Luke Littler after navigating the gravelly Glaswegian tones of Sir Alex Ferguson.

But if Luke does manage to decode Fergie’s advice, he’ll get more than some anecdotes about Cristiano Ronaldo’s miserable fitness regime and a tip for the 2.45 at Lingfield.

A few years back, England U21 manager Stuart Pearce took part in a Fantasy Football league with teachers and kids at his 8-year-old son’s school.

On the final game week, Stu found himself neck and neck with the headmaster at the top of the table, and decided to call up Sir Alex for some inside tips on his team selection.

“Who are you gonna be playing, Jones or Smalling at the back, because I'm thinking of coming to the game to watch?” Stu enquired.

"He told me which one he was going to play. I transferred that player into our fantasy, and we won. We won by a point because we got a clean sheet.”

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🥸 Bull-seye

Alex Ferguson isn’t the only football legend cheering on Luke Littler - the doppelganger of Wigan legend Jimmy Bullard was spotted in the crowd the other day.

For reference:


✍️ Diall Am for murder

As the Saudis hoover up everything from the World Cup to wiff waff, their overworked talent scouts are throwing sacks of Riyals at anyone with 50k Instagram followers and a pair of Adidas Predators.

Unfortunately, this haste sometimes comes at the expense of background checks.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr have signed former PSG Women’s star Aminata Diallo, who is currently awaiting trial in France, accused of paying hitmen to attack a teammate with metal bars.

French police claim Diallo was googling “how to break a kneecap” in the days before attack, and also that she had an alternative personality, which was “a man named Bilel”.

Maybe Al-Nassr thought it was a two for one deal…


🎥 The Constant Gardner

When referee Angus Gardner invited the documentary cameras to join him behind the scenes, they were expecting a few shuttle runs and an hour of blocking trolls on Instagram.

Instead, the Aussie treated them to a one man show, as he glided around bollocking imaginary captains and pretending a disused bench had committed a knock on.

“Guys really good work on the last scrum,” he tells an invisible forward pack in a routine he calls “shadow reffing”.

💉 Quick hits

🧑‍🎓 Gianlugi Buffon bribed an examiner to get his high school diploma.

🧑‍⚖️ A Dutch court has given Spartak Moscow striker Quincy Promes a six year jail sentence for cocaine trafficking. Luckily for him, Russia doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the Netherlands…

🥊 Wayne Rooney is in talks for a boxing match against some YouTube moron.

On The Upshot podcast this week:


🤦‍♂️ Third Wijk

That's it for today. Thanks to Logan.

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