Good news if you’re a Napoli fan! Arkadiusz Milik is back from his serious injury lay-off. To be serious for a moment, that’s great news for an already dangerous Napoli team ahead of what is sure to be an all-out assault on Juventus and the Serie A title.
But that’s not why we’re here, because, after all, this is Tales From The Top Flight and when has there ever been anything remotely serious on here? There’s more to this story because, like a horny teenager, big Arcade has decided that he wants some love from the Napoli fans and, also like a horny teenager, he’s decided that the best way to do this is through Tinder.
Well, maybe not Arcadium exactly, but you are reading that correctly. He announced (on Twitter, obviously) that Napoli fans can swipe right on him and send him a message of support. The video is prime footballer-reading-autocue bollocks and reeks of, well, desperate teenager. Then winners get to meet Archaic on the pitch too which I’m sure will end well. I think the Pole is going to have to master the Italian for “you look nothing like your photos” and “sir, you’re definitely not 18-year-old Valentina”.
Elsewhere in Italy, it seems the Italian FA has finally seen some form of sense and dropped Sulley Muntari’s ban for walking off the pitch while being racially abused. What other walk of life would you receive a ban for being abused? I can guarantee that my line manager wouldn’t book me if I made a complaint about abuse. Though if they did I’d have to question why they carried a yellow card around all day on the off chance that particular incident may occur.
Those wacky Italians just don’t stop though. Lazio may have won the local derby against Roma last weekend but some of the big news coming post-match was surrounding the Lazio fans and their actions at the game including, but not limited to, hanging effigies of Roma players in the stands and threatening attacks on them in their sleep. Naturally, the club distanced itself from such actions. Well, maybe not, as a club spokesman decided that those actions were defensible by employing the Keys Method (patent pending).
Hung effigies? “It was just banter”. Sexism? “It was just banter”. Threatening violence on rival players? “It was just banter”. The Keys Method is a sure fire way to garner universal hatred from anyone who hears you speak, but will leave your conscience clear knowing that you are the lord of banter; an Archbishop of Banterbury even.
Can you name the side with the best defence in Serie B? Nope? Well, it’s Pisa, who are managed by the least scary midfield destroyer of all time, Gennaro Gattuso. They’ve conceded a remarkable 29 goals in their 39 games so far including only ten at home all season. That’s quite impressive. The kicker? They’re second bottom at the time of writing!
It’s like wee Gennaro forgot to remind his players that they need to score goals. I wouldn’t be surprised if their strikers actually fell asleep during games because they were so bored. The real fun stat is their home goals scored which stands at an incredible NINE! Nine goals all season. I can’t imagine that even the obligatory old man’s dog would show up to a Pisa home game.
In Spain, poor Cristiano is having a really tough time. Despite all those goals and that hat-trick in midweek against Atletico, he’s still getting whistled at by the Real Madrid fans. Poor Cris has even resorted to asking nicely in the media for the fans to stop, he’s that desperate. “Please stop fans, my ego can’t take this”. Reportedly, the Bernabeu faithful want to replace the real Ronaldo with that airport statue of him because that doesn’t talk back when they get bored and whistle at him to do a trick.
In France, Monaco were under the world’s microscope this past week thanks to the Champions League semi-finals and the goal scoring foetus they have up front. Curiously though, CNN decided that they would do some digging into the diet behind the success. Their final conclusion? Beet juice may be about to win the Champions League. Not, you know, the footballers, but the juice of a vegetable that does nothing more than stain your hands and ruin your meal.
Other things we learned are that every Monaco player is the person that takes photos of every single meal they ever have or make, something I lose friends over because, apparently, it’s not OK for their timelines to be full of my pictures of my mid-afternoon Freddo (other confectionery is available). The team meals read like a Waitrose shopper’s wet dream. Kale, quinoa, salmon, avocado. I can hear the Santana as they drop artistically into shot. These aren’t just any team meals, these are Monaco team meals.
And finally, Nigel Reo-Coker has decided that not even Tony Adams can convince him to jump on board Tita…Granada. He’s instead forgone the trip to the Bernabeu for a lovely time in Norway with IK Start. He’d much rather start a season in Norway than finish a season at the already relegated regional television station.