Witches, curses, sex bans, another incarnation of Lionel Messi and Jens Lehmann's Paralympic desire... The Circus has it all.
Denial of the week
Richard Kingson is having quite the week. First, as reported in The Circus, the former Wigan goalkeeper revealed he turned down a $300,000 bribe to throw Ghana's 2006 World Cup game against Czech Republic.
Now Kingson has been forced to go into bat for his wife of two years, Adelaide Tawiah.
Kingson has been without a club since leaving Blackpool 16 months ago. Tawiah claimed on TV that her own spiritual powers were responsible for her husband's loss of form, both on and off the football pitch.
"I messed up Richard's life ever since we got married," she said. "I used my evil powers to trouble his career.
"I've been working on him spiritually, to the point he could not perform in bed," she added, before claiming to have been under a spell when she made the comments.
"My wife is not a witch," Kingson posted on Facebook, in almost certainly not the first instance of that phrase appearing on social media, but in perhaps the first instance of it being meant literally.
Contractions and inflammations
Denial of a quite different sort has been key to Napoli's recent success.
Manager Walter Mazzarri took the club to within a whisker of knocking out Chelsea in last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, costing Andre Villas-Boas his job in the process.
Napoli also finished fifth in Serie A, thanks in part to a favourable injury record that saw Napoli players miss only 50 games for the season. By contrast, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Roma's squads each missed at least 100 matches.
Club doctor Alfonso De Nicola told Corriere del Mezzogiorno the squad's impressive resilience was the result of a strict program that, among other things, required players to observe a sex ban before matches.
"Avoiding sexual activity for two days before a game is fundamental to prevent muscular strains, contractions or inflammations," he said.
"It is the rule for our squad. There is also a specific work done by my staff and the fitness coaches which is aimed more at prevention than cure.
"The players must be praised for the professional approach they take in their private lives too. They must always continue certain exercises at home that are taught in the training camp."
Abstinence of any kind is not something you normally associate with the name Maradona, so it will be interesting to see how Diego's younger brother Hugo goes with his desire to manage Napoli.
Hugo, who is eight years Diego's junior, played 13 games in Serie A for Ascoli, failing to score a goal but once playing against Napoli, where Diego made his name.
His most recent managerial experience has been helping his wife to run their Florida bakery. However, now that the couple has moved to Italy he plans to pursue a career in the top flight.
"Could I one day boss Napoli? Anything can happen," he said.
The new Messi, part 17
Barcelona reportedly offered 50,000 euros for Brahim Abdelkader Diaz, the latest product out of the Malaga youth system. Malaga is holding out for 100,000 euros, or roughly 7692 euros for every candle on the young whippersnapper's most recent birthday cake.
The spoken word
"This is very interesting, as long as I am fit to go there." – Jens Lehmann reveals his plan to play in the 2016 Paralympics as part of Germany's blind football team. Although Paralympic rules state that all four outfield players in the five-a-side competition must wear blindfolds, goalkeepers may be fully sighted (see the sample clip below from the London Games). Lehmann, who will be 46 by the time the Brazil Games roll around, has won enthusiastic support from Germany's Disabled Sports Association. "If Jens Lehmann joined, that would be sensational," coach Ulrich Pfisterer said.
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