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    How David Beckham’s Inter Miami enticed Lionel Messi with celebrity Florida lifestyle and £830,000-a-week salary

    DAVID BECKHAM’s Inter Miami project has been a slow burner – but you can expect lift off now.The club’s first three seasons have seen them miss out on the playoffs, with manager Phil Neville recently getting the bullet. Credit: Alamy Live News
    Lionel Messi is set to join Inter MiamiCredit: AFP
    But Beckham is still hoping to attract a hoard of superstars to his Inter Miami side.
    The marquee signings of Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuain showed the club’s ambition, although the French ace’s signing broke MLS rules and Higuain retired.
    However, as marquee signings go, none are bigger than this. The club have reportedly agreed to sign seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
    Spanish journalist Guillem Balogue has claimed the Argentina World Cup winner will leave PSG when his contract expires in June and head to the MLS.
    The lure of an £830,000-per-week salary was too good to turn down, and blew any offer Barcelona could tempt Messi with for a Camp Nou return out of the water.
    The move fulfils a promise Beckham made when he announced the club to the world. At a press conference announcing the club’s formation, the ex-England captain made noises that he was regularly speaking to the world’s best talent to lure them to his project.

    So what can Messi and any other prospective transfer targets expect from a life at Inter Miami?
    While you may have to be wary of the odd tropical storm here and there, Miami weather is mostly perfect. January averages around 20 degrees Celsius, while winter highs range between 23-27 degrees Celsius.
    The wet season starts in May and ends mid-October, but the temperatures are between 27-35 degrees Celsius and it’s insanely humid.
    Unfortunately for the players, the MLS football season runs from February to November, making it hell playing in the worst of the conditions.
    Blue skies and sunshine decorate the high skyscrapers of MiamiCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Miami Beach is the best place for a footballer to top up their tanCredit: Alamy
    They say life’s a beach… Miami has several from Key Biscayne to North Beach, where prime athletes can bronze themselves on a daily basis.
    There’s the 21st to 45th street beach, which runs alongside the Miami Beach boardwalk and South Pointe Park. Some of the world’s best hotels and restaurants are nearby, so it’s the perfect spot.
    Anyone feeling active could head to Lummus Beach where volleyball courts are available to rent or there’s thatched huts to lounge under.
    Haulover Beach boasts white sands and a choppy sea, ideal for surfers.
    On Tuesday nights there’s a food truck festival with live music and local foods for the whole family.
    South Pointe Park is perfect for a stroll or jog for a Beckham transfer targetCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Miami Beach is the perfect location for any footballerCredit: Getty – Contributor
    David Beckham won’t have trouble selling the white sands of Miami BeachCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Miami’s cuisine is fit for a king and is influenced by the ocean with plenty of seafood on offer.
    Latin American foods are key here, so most restaurants boast many Cuban-influenced dishes – most meat-based.
    The most exclusive restaurants in town are Terrazza in the Shore Club Hotel, Zuma in the heart of downtown Miami and Jaya at the Setai Hotel.
    Jaya is a favourite of the likes of Jay Z and Bono whenever they’re in town, with menu highlights including a whole branzino for a reasonable £27
    Terrazza’s Italian by-the-pool fare will attract many footballers wanting to load up on carbs.
    While Zuma’s light Japanese meals will have weight-conscious footballers frothing at the mouth.
    Eating by the pool at the Shore Club Hotel is what most sports stars do in Miami
    Jay Z and Bono are fans of the Jaya at The Setai hotelCredit: Jaya at The Setai,
    Footballers will love the Asian cuisine on offer at the JayaCredit: Jaya at The Setai,
    Footballers could rest poolside at The Setai hotel during preseasonCredit: Jaya at The Setai,
    Central to Beckham’s Miami franchise is a super stadium fit for the best players in the world.
    The 18,000 all-seater arena is in the Overtown neighbourhood, near the Miami River, and was originally met with some controversy from the locals who didn’t think a stadium should be built on the site.
    A world-class training centre sits next door to the stadium and boasts first-class facilities.
    However, be sure that it will be a state-of-the-art venue, not only fit for football, but ready to house concerts featuring the world’s leading pop stars.
    Interestingly, it isn’t be the biggest stadium in the country, but it’ll surely be a sellout week in, week out with Messi playing.
    However, there are now plans to create a $1BILLON stadium, which will be ready for 2025 and hold 25,000 fans.
    Plans are almost in place for a new 25,000-seater stadium costing $1BILLION
    David Beckham’s Miami stadium is fit for any top footballerCredit: Splash News
    After all, this lot can’t be wrong. The most famous faces in the world choose Miami as a holiday destination, pouring in on their private jets regularly during the summer.
    Some celebrities even call Miami home, so any footballer who wants to embrace celebrity culture should look no further. Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz, Sean Combs, Matt Damon and Jennifer Lopez all have lavish homes in Miami.
    Most opt for Star Island, so expect footballers to be checking out homes in that area.
    With footballers making the crossover into movies and TV, major productions in the city are on the rise.
    A Miami-based footballer could be mates with Anna Kournikova and Enrique IglesiasCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Sean Combs loves living the Miami lifestyleCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    You could bump into Jennifer Lopez living in MiamiCredit: Fame Flynet
    Matt Damon is an active celebrity in Miami circlesCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Anyone moving to Miami will have to be very aware of the sports culture that runs through the city’s veins.
    Although the Miami Dolphins haven’t tasted Super Bowl success since 1974, they’re steeped in NFL history thanks to legendary quarterback Dan Marino.
    The NBA team Miami Heat was the one-time home of LeBron James when they picked up consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013.
    They’re also represented in the MLB by the Marlins, who are co-owned by NY Yankee great Derek Jeter and have won two World Championships.
    The Miami Heat are the most successful sports franchise currently in the cityCredit: USA TODAY Sports
    David Beckham’s football team could have cheerleaders like the Miami HeatCredit: Getty – Contributor
    David Beckham’s Miami franchise will rival the Miami Dolphins for fansCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Any single footballer may be interested in dating a Miami Dolphin cheerleaderCredit: Corbis
    The Miami Marlins are favourites of the Hispanic communityCredit: Getty – Contributor
    For shopping and dining, incoming footballers will look no further than taking a stroll along Bayside Marketplace.
    Wrapping along the bay walls of the bank, it boasts designer shops, posh restaurants and a great vibe that encompasses all that’s great about Miami.
    Incidentally, Miami Vice often filmed episodes here, so if it’s good enough for Don Johnson…
    Bayside Marketplace offers fine dining and shoppingCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Bayside Marketplace was where Miami Vice was mostly filmedCredit: Getty – Contributor
    No doubt any big-name Beckham signing will be driving a fresh motor.
    With that in mind, they’ll definitely want to cruise down Ocean Drive with its surrounding Art Deco hotels and bars.
    The Clevelander Hotel, with its bar and massive swimming pool provide a great spot to grab a refresher in the hot heat.
    You’ll be mad not to be impressed by the architecture. It’s an amazing experience for any tourist and any future Beckham signing. So, where do we sign up?
    Ocean Drive boasts some of Miami’s best hotels and barsCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Ocean Drive is a haven for Art Deco buildings and is perfect for footballers to cruise downCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Ocean Drive comes alive at nighttime with its bustling nightlifeCredit: Getty – Contributor
    On the list of must-do things in Miami – and Becks doesn’t even need to sell the tourist haven – is the Everglades.
    Unlike anything in the world, it’s your best chance of seeing a crocodile swimming in its natural habitat.
    Over 1.5 acres long, the wetlands begin in Orlando at the Kissimmee River and end at Lake Okeechobee.
    The Everglades is one of Miami’s most famous tourist attractionsCredit: Getty – Contributor
    You could see crocodiles on a tour of the EvergladesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Messi, himself, is already set up in Miami – so moving should not be difficult.
    Back in 2021, he reportedly bought a stunning £7.2million apartment in Porsche Design Center, which boasts incredible views of the coastline.
    According to Madrid-based radio station Cadena Ser, he bought the property with a view to make his MLS move a reality.
    One of the home’s most impressive features is a lift for residents’ cars. The king, sitting on top of his penthouse, has most definitely arrived.
    The 35-year-old ace, who inspired Argentina to a World Cup win over Mexico last night, is currently playing for French club Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona.

    Lionel Messi reportedly bought an apartment at the Porsche Design Tower – which boasts stunning views of the Miami coastlineCredit: GETTY

    The tower contains a lift for residents’ carsCredit: GETTY

    A showhome from Porsche Design Tower’s grand opening reveals the luxury withinCredit: GETTY More

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    After Savage Jr plays for Man Utd: Ronaldo, Neville, Zidane, van der Sar sons aiming to fill dad’s big shoes

    AN EMOTIONAL Robbie Savage had the rare honour of commentating over his son’s debut as Charlie Savage made his Manchester United debut.Savage Jr, then 18, came off the bench for the final five minutes in the Champions League back in December to become the latest boy wonder to follow in the footsteps of their famous father.

    Charlie Savage is impressing for Manchester United’s development teamCredit: Getty Savage Sr was on co-commentary duty and ‘started to tear up’ as he announced his son’s arrival.
    Charlie, now 20, has taken a further step forward in his career after spending the back end of this campaign at League 1 strugglers Forest Green.
    Wayne Rooney’s son Kai also signed terms with United in 2020. Proud dad Wazza announced the news his then-11-year-old had penned a deal with his old club as he shared a snap of him and Coleen alongside the boy wonder.
    But he won’t be the first son looking to fulfil the great expectations they were born with.
    Offspring of legends like Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Kluivert are also looking to make their own way in the footballing world while dealing with the pressure of their iconic surnames. And Maxim Gullit, son of Ruud and great nephew of Johan Cruyff, is in the same boat and came off the bench for Jong AZ Alkmaar for his first taste of senior action.

    Wayne Rooney’s son Kai signed for Manchester United in December 2020Credit: Instagram
    Justin Kluivert, son of Patrick, is one of a group of young footballers aiming to follow in their fathers’ legendary footstepsCredit: Instagram @patrickkluivert9
    Here, SunSport takes a look at the other youngsters aiming to follow in their fathers’ giant footsteps…
    Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, 12
    Cristiano Jr is on the books at Man Utd with dad Ronaldo
    Cristiano Jr has a heavy legacy to live up to if he attempts to emulate his five-time Ballon d’Or-winning father Ronaldo. The youngster was part of Juventus’ academy and impressed in a number of youth tournaments.
    But he moved the United with his dad. And Ronaldo, 37, admitted in the past he would ‘like’ to see Junior follow in his footsteps.
    But the Portugal captain has insisted he will not ‘pressure’ his eldest son into a footballing career.
    Joe van der Sar, 24
    Joe van Der Sar is son of Man Utd legend Edwin
    Joe van der Sar is the son of legendary father Edwin. Joe began his career at Man Utd, where his dad starred for six years, and then moved on to Noordwijk before signing for Ajax in 2013 where Edwin is CEO.
    These are giant gloves to fill and the expectations are high. He was back at Noordwijk aiming to work his way to the top but is now with the Pittsburgh Panthers in the USA.
    Maxim Gullit, 21
    Maxim Gullit, left, is son of Chelsea icon Ruud, right, and great-nephew of Johann Cruyff
    Son of Ruud and great-nephew of Johan Cruyff, Maxim Gullit could hardly hope for better footballing genes. Maxim, a defender and son of Estelle Cruyff, predominantly played for AZ’s Under-19 side in 2018-19 – but was handed an Easter treat – being called up a level.
    The talented teen came on for the final 19 minutes of the AZ second team’s clash with champions Twente in the Netherlands’ second tier and helped his side keep a clean sheet. He went on to become a regular for their Under-21 side, while he made his debut for the first team in the 4-1 Europa League win over HNK Rijeka in the Europa League in October 2020.
    He now plays for Eredivisie side Cambuur and has a few appearances for the Dutch international underage groups under his belt. 
    Zidane (Luca, Enzo & Theo)
    Zinedine Zidane has three footballer sons but Luca, left, was handed a Real Madrid debut by his dad in March last year
    All three of Zinedine Zidane’s sons are aiming to follow in his giant footsteps. Midfielder Enzo, 27, is currently at Spanish side Fuenlabrada, and 20-year-old Theo is looking to develop in Real Madrid’s academy.
    Goalkeeper Luca, 24, made two appearances for Los Blancos, but he left in search of game time. He is now at Segunda Division outfit Eibar after two years with Rayo Vallecano.
    Gudjohnsen (Andri Lucas, Sveinn Aron & Daniel Tristan)
    Eidur Gudjohnsen has three sons aiming to make it in football including Andri Lucas, left, at Real Madrid
    Former Chelsea, Tottenham and Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen had one son at Real Madrid, one son at Barca and another in Italy at one stage.
    Sveinn, 24, and the spitting image of his father, plays for Swedish side Elfsborg while younger brother Andri Lucas was in the big time at the Bernabeu but has now joined Norrkoping in Sweden.
    The London-born 20-year-old, who is starring for Iceland, joined Real’s La Fabrica academy in Valdebas in 2018 while 16-year-old Daniel Tristan is at Malmo having previously played for Barcelona and Real Madrid’s youth teams.
    Eidur famously came on for his father, Arnor, while playing for Iceland, in 1996.
    Tyrese Campbell, 23
    Stoke’s Tyrese Campbell, left, is son of former Arsenal, Everton and West Brom striker Kevin
    Stoke’s young star Tyrese Campbell made a huge breakthrough in 2019-20 – appearing 33 times in the Championship for the Potters.
    The forward, who joined Stoke from Man City’s academy in 2016, is son of former Arsenal, Everton and West Brom striker Kevin Campbell.
    Tyrese scored his first goals for Stoke in the FA Cup in 2018-19 before being loaned out to League One Shrewsbury for the remainder of the campaign. In his most recent at Stoke, he has scored nine and assisted five from 41 games. 
    Harvey Neville, 20
    Harvey Neville, left, has good family genes with father Phil, right, and uncle Gary both ex-Man Utd players
    With TWO Manchester United Treble winners as father (Phil) and uncle (Gary), plus England’s netball head coach for an aunt (Tracey), there was little chance of Harvey going into auditing.
    Harvey, who started in midfield or on the wing but now plays at full-back, began his career at United before moving to rivals City where he won the Premier League International Tournament as an Under-13.
    He moved to Valencia when his father and uncle took charge of the first-team before returning to Old Trafford in 2018.
    And earlier this year he followed dad Phil to the USA – joining Fort Lauderdale CF just up the road from his old man’s digs in Miami. Then in October, Phil brought his son Harvey off the bench to make his MLS debut for Inter Miami.
    Maurizio Pochettino, 22
    Watford’s Maurizio Pochettino, left, was (almost) named after his father Spurs boss Mauricio
    Maurizio is the offspring of former Spurs boss and incoming Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino.
    And the Argentine youngster, described as a wide player with an eye for goal, continued to play for the Lilywhites in 2019-20 despite his dad getting the sack in November that season.
    He even signed a new contract with the club, but quit to join Watford on a free in January 2021. The Barcelona-born star was released after making just one appearance and now is contracted to third-tier side Gimnastic de Tarragona in Catalonia.
    Justin Kluivert, 24
    Justin Kluivert, left, is already showing the talents of his father Patrick who was a Barcelona striker
    The name may have got him noticed but it is Justin Kluivert’s talent that has seen him thrive at such a young age. Son of Patrick, left winger Justin was nurtured by the Ajax academy and starred in Serie A for Italian side Roma after signing in 2018 for £14.9million.
    Manchester United were also believed to be after the youngster – who bagged five goals and two assists in 2019-20.
    He spent the last two seasons enjoying loan spells with RB Leipzig, where he has enjoyed a return to top form, and Nice before a third temporary switch, this time to Valencia.
    Daniel Maldini, 21
    Daniel Maldini, left, is following in the footsteps of father Paolo, right, and grandfather Cesare at AC Milan
    The Maldini dynasty continues, with Daniel following in father Paolo and grandfather Cesare’s footsteps in Milan. Daniel operates at the opposite end of the pitch to his father and has displayed his talents as a second striker.
    The talented youngster made his first-team debut against Hellas Verona in Serie A in 2019-20 – becoming the third generation of Maldinis to play for AC Milan. He has since played 24 matches for the San Siro side but joined Spezia on loan in the summer.
    Giovanni Simeone, 27
    Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone’s son Giovanni, left, is a winger on loan at Hellas Verona from Italian side Fiorentina
    Son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego, Giovanni is one of the few in this group to have already established themselves. Usually deployed as a second striker, Giovanni has broken into the Argentina team where he has been capped on five occasions – scoring once.
    He joined Cagliari in the summer of 2020 after a successful loan spell where he has scored five goals in six Serie A matches. But he is now on loan at high-flying Napoli from Hellas Verona.
    Erling Haaland, 22
    Former Man City man Alf-Inge Haaland, right, has a son Erling, left, who is starring at Dortmund
    Erling Haaland, son of Man City’s Alf-Inge whose career was ended after a horror tackle from United legend Roy Keane, is one of the best players in world football right now.
    The 22-year-old was mentored by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Molde, before smashing in the goals for RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund.
    Manchester City came calling in the summer to land the hulking centre-forward amid interest from United and Real Madrid.
    And what a signing it has proven to be already with Haaland breaking the Premier League scoring record with a handful of games to spare in his debut season. 
    Sydney van Hooijdonk, 23
    Sydney van Hooijdonk, left, could be on the move to a British side in January
    Son of former Nottingham Forest striker Pierre, the 22-year-old had been in fine form for NAC Breda in the Dutch second tier in recent seasons.
    The towering centre-forward has chipped in with 23 goals in 70 games since his 2019-20 debut.
    His hot form has seen him linked with Forest, Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday in England. But he instead moved to Serie A side Bologna and is now on loan at Heerenveen, smashing in 12 goals in 25 Eredivisie games. More

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    Worst tattoos on sports stars, from Beckham to Sancho, Bellerin, Dele, Hart and a Tokyo 2020 mistake

    THEY say money can’t buy you taste.And for all the millions today’s top athletes make – whether it be footballers or any other sports star – it appears that mantra has never been more true than when applied to tattoos.
    Goalkeeper Joe Hart shows off his eyesore of a tattooCredit: Refer to Caption
    Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart proved that with the massive block of ink across his right shoulder.
    And not even the unofficial King of Cool David Beckham is immune to an occasional style blunder.
    Here’s a look at some of the worst around.
    Dele Alli
    Dele Alli has a tattoo of Bamm Bamm from the Flinstones on his forearm
    Look past the gold bling and you will see former Spurs star Alli’s permanent tribute to Bamm Bamm from the Flinstones.
    A somewhat unconventional choice, Alli – whose first name is Bamidele – is thought to have got it because his nickname is Bam Bam.David Beckham
    England legend Becks has an intricate grouping of planets inked on his headCredit: Rex Features
    A fashion icon the world over and hugely admired midfielder, we’ll let Becks off for this one given he’s barely put a foot wrong in the past, apart from that sarong, those cornrows and that all-leather get-up…
    Beckham has more than 40 tattoos but this one is probably the strangest, not least because of where it is.
    Derlis Ayala
    The Olympic runner got Tokyo 2020 tattooed on his calf – before the Games was postponed by a year due to coronavirus.
    Ayala qualified for Tokyo after finishing fifth overall in the Buenos Aires Marathon in September 2019.
    He previously represented Paraguay in the 2016 Olympics in Rio in the marathon where he finished in 136th place – got the Olympics rings plus the date and location inked on.

    Sergio Aguero
    Ex Man City star Sergio Aguero isn’t quite sure what his Lord of the Rings tattoo saysCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Those are not hieroglyphics down the prolific striker’s forearm but the Elvish language from Lord of the Rings.
    Aguero must be a pretty big fan of the film, then, huh?
    Er, no. But he must at least know what it means? Nope – he hasn’t even seen the movie.Nicolas Otamendi
    Most people get tattoos of the things that are most important to them – family members, dates and religious symbols.
    Former Man City ace Otamendi, though, clearly loves watching TV so much and has inked stars from hit shows Breaking Bad, Peaky Blinders and Vikings on his back.
    At the top of his back, the Benfica defender has Walter White, the main character in Breaking Bad, while lower down there is an image of Peaky Blinders protagonist Thomas Shelby.
    Nicolas Otamendi showed off his impressive tattoo collectionCredit: Rex Features
    The main characters from Breaking Bad – Walter White – and Peaky Blinders – Thomas Shelby – feature on the Argentinian’s back
    To the left appears to be Ragnar Lothbrok from Vikings.
    They make up what is an impressive collection including a pocket watch, a lion, a bear and the more regular tattoos such as names of some of his family members.
    Jadon Sancho
    Man Utd star Jadon Sancho sporting his cartoon tattoos at during a Borussia Dortmund training session
    It’s easy to make the link between rapid England winger Sancho and his tattoo of Sonic the Hedgehog.
    After that, things become a bit of a stretch.
    Having the Simpsons daubed on his arm can perhaps be likened to his former team Dortmund side’s famous Yellow Wall – if you were really trying.
    But Spiderman? There’s only so much Cartoon Network one man can need.Hector Bellerin
    Hector Bellerin has the word ‘two’ tattooed on his leg to match his shirt numberCredit: Getty – Contributor
    When he’s not flaunting questionable clobber at fashion shows, Bellerin likes to pose in retro-style photos, get tattoos and play football.
    Here, he dedicates his commitment to his defensive position by getting his shirt number permanently etched on his thigh.
    Erik Lamela
    Lamela has a tattoo of a dog on his thighCredit: Reuters
    Dodgy tattoos have no allegiance and could not care less about who ruled North London.
    But when Erik Lamela was playing for Spurs, he showed off this corker of a tattoo.
    Yes, it’s a picture of a loveable bulldog.Artur Boruc
    Artur Boruc’s hideous monkey tattoo in all its gloryCredit: Willie Vass
    Word cannot do justice to just how bad the former Bournemouth’s keeper monkey tattoo is around his belly button
    Just awful.
    No. Not even doing a ‘monkeying around’ pun for this.Eljero Elia
    Eljero Elia spelled Feyenoord incorrectly and got the date of his Cup final win as May 24 rather than April 24Credit: Instagram
    Spell the name of your club incorrectly? Check. Get the date wrong of the final you played in and won? Check.
    Feyenoord winger Elia had a stinker with this tattoo back in 2016, but got it corrected to display the correct details.Uros Vitas
    Vitos’ inking was a nice thought… but should have remained just a thought
    Fair play to Serbian defender Vitas for showing off the love of his life, Andrijana, in tattoo form.
    Shame it looked so frightening.
    Marcelo Brozovic
    Brozovic’s weird hand tattoo is one of a kindCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Inter midfielder Brozovic got this ‘epic Brozo’ tattoo to match his equally epic celebration whenever he scores.
    Not only is it in a peculiar position on the top of his hand, he also opened a bar in his native Croatia with the name Epic Brozo and, yep, you guessed it, an image of the winking face.Amato Ciciretti
    How will Amato Ciciretti’s social media tattoo have aged by the time he’s 50?Credit: Twitter
    He is the journeyman Italian who now plays for Ascoli in Serie B, but Ciciretti must be social media famous to go to the lengths of having his Twitter handle tattooed on his calf?
    Surprisingly, no. Instead, the 29-year-old removed his account after amassing just over 2,000 followers, and tweeting just 31 times Any regrets, Amato?Nile Ranger
    Nile Ranger is among the footballers with the world’s worst tattoosCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Nile Ranger got his surname tattooed across his headCredit: Jamie McPhilimey – The Sun
    Perhaps it was just in case he forgot. Nile Ranger – or, as the tattoo would suggest, Nile Ranges – went through the unnecessary pain of having his surname printed above his eye.
    To be fair to the former Newcastle striker who has a smiley face tattooed inside his mouth, there wasn’t much space left on the rest of his body.
    Layvin Kurzawa
    The belly-button should have one job, and one job onlyCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Not quite as bad as Boruc, but here’s another footballer who mistook the belly-button’s purpose for postnatal artwork.
    The Paris Saint-Germain left-back, on loan at Fulham, needs to keep his shirt on with the terrifying face on his stomach.Daniele de Rossi
    Retired Italian midfielder sent a message to opponents with his calf tattooCredit: AFP
    At first glance, the retired Italian’s calf looks more like it should be placed outside the gents’ loo.
    Instead, De Rossi’s hazard warning tattoo backs up his hardman image as the tough-tackling midfielder snapping at opponent’s ankles.Marko Arnautovic
    Marko Arnautovic could not quite decide which font to haveCredit: Getty – Contributor
    A message of motivation is blazoned across the former West Ham forward’s stomach.
    The problem is Arnautovic seemed as certain about the font he wanted for the tattoo as he was about which club he’d be playing for the following season.Mauro Junior
    An iconic image with a motivational message?Credit: Getty – Contributor
    There was, perhaps, an oversight when PSV’s young midfielder got a famous image tattooed down his left forearm.
    Some will see King Arthur attempting to pull the legendary sword from a stone. Others? Well, we’ll leave that to you..Ricardo Quaresma
    Chelsea flop Ricardo Quaresma has some questionable facial tattoosCredit: —
    Is there something the former Porto and Chelsea man needs to tell us?
    In most quarters, teardrop tattoos tend to signify the amount of people the wearer had killed in prison.
    Quaresma’s short stay at Stamford Bridge didn’t include much lethal work.Jay Bothroyd
    On first look, the former England striker appears to have a random arsenal pictured down his ribs.
    Tilt you head slightly and the weapons just about spell out the word ‘love’. Awww?
    Do you love it or hate it?Credit: Twitter More

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    Faiq Bolkiah is the richest footballer in world, whose uncle is Sultan of Brunei, and is heir to £13bn fortune

    MEET the world’s richest footballer Faiq Bolkiah, the nephew of the Sultan of Brunei.Faiq Bolkiah now plays for Thai League 1 club Chonburi., following unsuccessful spells with Leicester City and Portuguese side Maritimo.
    Faiq Bolkiah is the richest young footballer in the world and was formerly of Leicester CityCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Faiq Bolkiah is the nephew of the Sultan of BruneiCredit: Instagram @fjbolkiah
    The dynamic winger, 24, is one of the heirs to Hassanal Bolkiah’s £13billion fortune.
    That dwarfs the worth of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – making Bolkiah the wealthiest living footballer.
    His dad is Jefri Bolkiah, a brother of the oil tycoon, so that makes Faiq a member of their royal family.
    But that hasn’t stopped Faiq from shunning his family’s billions to pursue a career in football.
    Let SunSport introduce you to the man who really doesn’t need to work for a living.
    Competition was fierce for him in his youth days…
    After playing youth football for AFC Newbury, Faiq signed a one-year deal with Southampton’s famed youth academy in 2009.
    He didn’t quite turn enough heads to secure a full-time contract and went on trial at Arsenal in 2013, playing for the Gunners in the 2013 Lion City Cup.
    Faiq Bolkiah could have lived in a palace like the Sultan of BruneiCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Faiq Bolkiah was once on Chelsea’s booksCredit: Chelsea FC
    Faiq Bolkiah playing for Leicester City’s reservesCredit: Getty – Contributor
    A Rolls Royce like this could have been a chariot for Faiq BolkiahCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Faiq got himself on the scoresheet in that tournament against a Singapore youth selection.
    Alerted to his availability, Chelsea then swooped and offered him a two-year deal in 2014. But he left Stamford Bridge in December, 2015 to sign for Leicester in a three-year deal.
    He captains his international side…
    Despite not playing a professional game in England yet, Faiq has pulled on the international shirt of Brunei six times, finding the net once.
    Faiq Bolkiah has captain the Brunei international football teamCredit: Getty – Contributor
    He even captained the side in the 2017 Aceh World Solidarity Tsunami Cup.
    Incidentally, he was born in Los Angeles, so he could’ve represented the United States. But he was loyal to his family and stayed close to his roots.
    Faiq Bolkiah was loyal to his family and turned down a chance to play for the USCredit: AFP – Getty
    Faiq’s dad is quite the character…
    He may have an innocent demeanour, but his father Jefri Bolkiah was known as the playboy of the Brunei royal family.
    Jefri reportedly lived quite the life of excess, reportedly blowing around £10billion in 15-years as head of the Brunei Investment agency.
    At one point, he was said to be spending £35m a month on cars, watches, erotic white gold pens and up to a £1m a hit on karaoke parties with a swarm of beautiful women.
    Jefri Bolkiah celebrates his birthday with his sonCredit: Instagram @fjbolkiah
    Jefri Bolkiah was the playboy of the Brunei royal familyCredit: Rex Features
    Faiq Bolkiah might have had an easier life and lived like a prince if he wasn’t a footballerCredit: 1998 Julian Parker
    Faiq Bolkiah’s cousins enjoy a lavish lifestyle in their own countryCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Jefri was also believed to have owned 2,300 cars at the height of his wealth, including a fleet of Bentleys, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces.
    However, his pride and joy is a yacht inappropriately called ‘Tits’ which had tenders called ‘Nipple 1’ and ‘Nipple 2’.
    Faiq Bolkiah stands to inherit a boat called TitsCredit: Big Pictures
    The Tits has tenders called Nipple 1 and Nipple 2Credit: Big Pictures
    Jefri wasn’t afraid to embrace erotica either, once commissioning artist J. Seward Johnson to create a £500,000 sexually-explicit statue of himself and his ex-fiancee.
    Amusingly, he once splashed around £5million on a rug that was woven with gold thread and jewels.
    A £5m rug bought by Jefri BolkiahCredit: PA:Press Association
    A set of erotic pens in white gold owned by Jefri BolkiahCredit: PA:Press Association
    An erotic watch owned by Jefri Bolkiah made of white gold and platinumCredit: PA:Press Association
    Michael Jackson was on speed dial when he needed him…
    Being a rich kid has its perks, especially if you’re Faiq.
    When dad Jefri wanted to celebrate his milestone 50th birthday, he also wanted to impress his then 7-year-old son.
    Michael Jackson performed a private concert for Faiq BolkiahCredit: Getty – Contributor
    So what did he do? He only flew in the ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson to perform a private concert for him and his family.
    Jefri paid Jacko around £12.5 million for the privilege, which was chump change for the Brunei royal family.
    The privilege of having Michael Jackson perform privately cost Jefri Bolkiah £12.5mCredit: Reuters
    Faiq Bolkiah has shunned a throne like the Sultan of Brunei for a rainy night in LeicesterCredit: AFP – Getty
    Making sure Michael was suitably catered for, Jefri also built an entire stadium for the occasion.But Faiq is determined to shun his riches to make it as a professional footballer…
    “I’ve played football since as early as I can remember and from a young age I’ve always enjoyed going out on the field and having the ball at my feet,” he once said in a rare interview.
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    Ex-Wolves boss Nuno Espirito was said to be interested in signing Faiq BolkiahCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    “My parents have always been supportive in helping me to achieve my dreams of being a footballer.
    “They trained me hard both psychologically and physically through my childhood years, so I have to say they are my role models.”
    Faiq Bolkiah turned his back on a lavish lifestyle full of goldCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Sultan of Brunei has an estimated worth of £22bnCredit: Reuters
    Faiq Bolkiah insists his family have had a big influence on his careerCredit: AFP or licensors
    With determination like that, he might just succeed in the game.
    However, if it doesn’t work out for him, it’s not as if he’s got nothing to fall back on. More

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    Inside Tottenham star Son Heung-min’s amazing £1.5million car collection, including ultra-rare £1m Ferrari LaFerrari

    SON HEUNG-MIN is not the sort of player you would associate with spending a load of dosh on one of the world’s most exclusive cars.The Tottenham hero, 30, is unassuming and usually happy to let his boots do the talking.
    Heung-min Son has built up an amazing £1.5million car collection

    Son stops in his Ferrari LaFerrari to sign a shirt for a fan
    Only 499 of the Ferrari supercars were made and potential purchasers must meet strict criteriaCredit: Alamy
    But the £192,000-a-week forward has a fleet of motors worth a staggering £1.5million.
    And pride of place in his garage in North London is a rare supercar available to just a few people.Ferrari LaFerrari
    Only 499 of these incredible cars have been made – and Son has one of them.
    But he ditched the usual red for black because Spurs told him he could not own a red one due to their rivalry with Arsenal.
    Worth around £1,150,000, even a Premier League footballer earning top whack would have to save up for a while to be able to afford it.
    The most powerful street-legal supercar the Italian manufacturer has produced, buyers must fit in with the Ferrari brand.

    That means that, to purchase one, they must previously have owned a Ferrari – with some reports claiming potential buyers won’t be considered unless they have had FIVE Ferraris in their life.
    Son’s black model does 0-60mph in 2.9 secs and boasts a 6.3-litre V12 engine, electrically assisted by the HY-KERS system to deliver a total power output of 950bhp, with a top speed of 227mph.
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has one sitting at home as well.
    Audi R8 Coupe
    The South Korea star was spotted with ex-girlfriend Minah, a pop sensation in their native country, getting behind the wheel of his white R8 in 2014.
    Son is the proud owner of a sleek Audi R8Credit: Handout
    Starting at £112,520 for the most basic model, Son is almost certain to have added a few luxuries to his.
    The 5.2L V10 engine packs an almighty punch and the sleek design turns heads – if you’re quick enough to see it whizz past when it does 0-60mph in 3.2 secs.Maserati Levante
    Son is the proud owner of Maserati’s first SUV, which has a starting price of £60,000.
    But there’s a catch.
    The Spurs star poses with his Maserati Levante
    Son is so popular in his home country that he was actually given the model by the Italian manufacturer as a gift.
    A statement from Korea’s official Maserati importer said they gifted the ex-Leverkusen man the motor because it “might be the most matching vehicle to Son, who can play with delicacy and unstoppable power”.
    Hard to argue with that.
    Although it is not the only 4×4 Son has…Range Rover
    The staple of the Premier League footballers’ diet, Son would not miss out on the chance to land a Range Rover.
    He has done his up in a classy matte black finish – a custom touch that also sees the tailgate script, grille and side vents finished in gloss black.
    The Evoque model starts at around £31,000.
    Though Son’s version likely cost a lot more with the extras he has, which include red seats and red trim on the steering wheel.
    Son keeps up the traditions of Premier League footballers by owning a Range RoverCredit: The Sun
    Son waves from the front seat of his 4x4Credit: Instagram
    Bentley Continental GT
    Another favourite of footballers, Son forked out around £160,000 for this supercar.
    It comes packing a 6L twin-turbocharged W12 engine which sees it do 0-60mph in 4.3 secs and can reach 198mph top speed – which could come in handy when he’s running late for training.
    Son owns a Bentley Continental GT More

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    Sheikh Mansour is worth £17billion, the Man City owner boasts a mega yacht worth £400m and is pals with Leo DiCaprio

    SHEIKH Mansour hasn’t a worry in the world…The Manchester City owner has amassed a £17 billion fortune, mainly thanks to his booming International Petroleum Investment Company.
    Sheikh Mansour has seen his Manchester City investment reap the rewardsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    He’s deputy Prime Minister of his native United Arab Emirates, minister of presidential affairs, as well as member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.
    The 52-year-old Sheikh is even buddies with Richard Branson, owning a large stake in the British entrepreneur’s Virgin Galactic spaceship company.
    And if that’s not enough, his Premier League team are bossing English football at the moment.
    Sheikh Mansour has given Man City boss Pep Guardiola a fortune to investCredit: PA:Press Association
    But who is Mansour and what does he spend his money on?
    Let us invite you into his world of wealth, including a £400m yacht he let one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars borrow.His football teams…
    When you’re a billionaire, buying into sports franchises is the done thing.
    In 2008, Mansour bought Man City with his Abu Dhabi United Group for £210m and has ensured The Citizens buy the best talent in the world.
    Sheikh Mansour bought Man City in 2008 for £210mCredit: Manchester City FC – Getty
    But the Sheikh is a shrewd businessman and doesn’t throw his money away that easy.
    In fact, the day City signed Gareth Barry for £12m from Aston Villa, he also made a $1.4bn profit selling a stake in Barclays he bought months earlier.
    Mansour launched a second team in the MLS in New York in 2013, luring Frank Lampard and David Villa to New York City F.C.
    And he expanded his City Football Group portfolio and owns stakes in clubs in the United States, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium and France.
    Frank Lampard was lured to New York City by Sheikh Mansour’s moneyCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Mansour is chairman of Al Jazira who played against Real Madrid in the World Club CupCredit: EPA
    The yacht…
    Looking at Mansour’s prized yacht is enough to make your eyes water… with tears of joy and wonder.
    The Topaz super yacht is said to be worth £400mCredit: Getty – Contributor
    The fifth largest super yacht in the world, it’s an absolute BEAST. Named Topaz, the vessel is a 482ft and was custom-built in Germany by Lurssen Yachts and designed by Tim Heywood in 2012.
    It has 8 floors, two helipads, three swimming pools, a gym, jacuzzi and even a cinema.
    The Topaz boasts two helipads, three swimming pools and a cinemaCredit: Splash News
    Right before Brazil kicked off their 2014 World Cup campaign, Leo DiCaprio was spotted hosting a party for 21 of his pals on the Topaz.
    Mansour loaned it to the Oscar-winning actor who soaked up the carnival atmosphere in Sao Paulo with his mates.
    Now, that’s not a bad number to have on speed-dial.
    Leo DiCaprio partied on the Topaz during the 2014 World CupCredit: Getty – Contributor
    It was also once reported that Mansour had to refuel his yacht when he docked at Marmaris port in Turkey.
    It was said to have cost him £380,000 to fill up the 730,000 litre tank, and that took 5 hours!His cars…
    Mansour owns a 5 per cent stake in Ferrari, which he bought in 2005 with the idea of bringing Formula One to the United Arab Emirates.
    Mansour owns a five per cent stake in Ferrari, as well as this EnzoCredit: 4WheelsofLux
    His £91m investment worked, and ever since 2009 the world’s leading drivers have gone to Abu Dhabi for their annual Grand Prix.
    Alongside Ferrari, Mansour has a 9.1 percent stake in Daimler AG (they own Mercedes).
    Sheikh’s Mercedes SLR-McLaren is worth £350kCredit: 4WheelsofLux
    He’s also owned a fleet of the world’s most astonishing cars.
    In his collection he’s had a Mercedes SLR-McLaren (£350k), a Lamborghini Reventon (£840k) and a Ferrari Enzo (£2.5m).
    Like Floyd Mayweather, Mansour also loves Bugatti Veyron and has 5 of them starting with a value of £1.1m.
    Like Floyd Mayweather Sheikh Mansour loves a Bugatti Veyron super carCredit: 4WheelsofLux
    To top off his exquisite collection, he has a Porsche 911 GT1, which is worth around £3 million.
    After all, Mr. Mansour is a petrol head…
    Sheikh Mansour owns a Porsche worth around £3mCredit: 4WheelsofLux
    The mansions…
    Being a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family allows you certain privileges, including your own palace.
    Sheikh Mansour is part of the Al Nahyan family, who have a huge residence in the city.
    latest football news
    Private functions for political leaders – including Barack Obama – have been organised there.
    Back in 2016, Mansour reportedly snapped up a £42m 20,000 acre Spanish villa in south west Spain.
    Sheikh Mansour reportedly snapped a Spanish Villa for £42m
    The private property, called Los Quintos de San Martin, is near the small village of Valencia de las Torres.
    Mansour and his family have been known to stay at the hotel they own called The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
    Emirates Palace has been universally described as the best hotel in the worldCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Opened in 2005 for a cost of £2.2m, it’s been described as the world’s only real seven-star hotel.
    There are 394 rooms, including 92 suites and 22 residential suits, which are mostly furnished in gold and marble.
    Sheikh Mansour has his own penthouse suite in the Emirates Palace
    Mansour is said to take advantage of the penthouse floor, which boasts 6 Rulers’ Suites that are reserved exclusively for dignitaries.
    Fun fact; the Fast and Furious 7 film was partly shot there too.
    The rooms in the Emirates Palace boast real gold features and lots of marble
    His other interests…
    Nice homes, cars, hotels and football aren’t the only things that make Mansour tick.
    Educated at Santa Barbara College in California, USA, he has investments in around 50 companies worldwide.
    Sheikh Mansour owns shares in Virgin Galactic and is pals with Richard BransonCredit: AFP – Getty
    One of his ventures includes the commercial spacecraft group, Virgin Galactic with Richard Branson.
    He is also chairman of the Emirates Horse Racing Authority, boss of Sky News Arabia and patron of the Zayed Annual Half Marathon.
    Sheikh Mansour could launch a football team in spaceCredit: PA:Press Association
    Getting personal…
    The Sheikh keeps his personal life… well, personal.
    But we do know he has two wives and 6 children.
    He first married Sheikha Alia bint Mohammed bin Butti Al Hamed in the mid-1990s. They had one son together.
    Mansour then married Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, his second cousin once removed.
    She’s a powerful woman in her own right, being president of the Dubai Women Establishment.
    She has two daughters and three sons by Mansour.
    And one more thing…
    Manchester City look safe with Sheikh Mansour at the helmCredit: AFP or licensors
    If you think having around £17bn in your bank account isn’t bad – wait till you hear how much he stands to inherit.
    The Al Nahyan family’s wealth is believed to be worth somewhere in the region of £560bn.
    Sheikh Mansour stands to inherit a fortune estimated at around £560bnCredit: PA:Press Association
    However, that said, it’s an inheritance he must share with his five brothers.
    But you have to imagine – with Mansour at the helm – Man City’s future certainly looks rosy. More

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    Biggest bromances in football, including Rice and Mount and Messi’s emotional note when Suarez left Barcelona

    THESE are the ballers who became bezzies.While there are relationships in any team, from centre-back partnerships to strike duos, this lot took things much further.
    Childhood friends Mason Mount and Declan Rice have emerged as one of football’s biggest bromancesCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Here, SunSport rounds up football’s biggest mates.Messi & Suarez
    In the summer of 2020, Uruguay ace Luis Suarez said an emotional goodbye to his team-mates and cleared out his locker in the dressing room after six seasons at the Nou Camp.
    He was joined by an emotional Leo Messi, who slammed the club’s treatment of his pal in the past, to wish Suarez all the best at rivals Atletico Madrid.
    Messi even took time to share a snap of the pair together one final time in the dressing room, and you can bet there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
    He captioned the photo: “I was already getting the idea but today I entered the locker room and the card really fell.
    “How difficult it is going to be not to continue sharing the day to day with you, both on the pitch and outside. We will miss you so much. It was many years, many mates, lunches, dinners … Many things that will never be forgotten, every day together.
    “It will be strange to see you with another shirt and much more to face you. You deserved to be fired as what you are: one of the most important players in the club’s history, achieving important things both as a group and individually.
    Lionel Messi poses with Luis Suarez in the Nou Camp dressing room one final timeCredit: Instagram
    “And not to get kicked out like they did. But the truth is that at this point nothing surprises me.
    “I wish you all the best in this new challenge. I love you very much, I love you very much. See you soon friend.”
    Later that summer Messi shocked the world by announcing he wanted to quit the club himself. Eventually he stayed, but left a year later anyway when Barcelona could not afford to pay his wages.
    Lingard & Rashford
    FROM quirky handshakes to holiday snaps, the two stars regularly give the world an insight into their bond through social media.
    Jesse Lingard once said he saw Marcus Rashford, five years his junior, as a little brother in the United squad, before moving on to Nottingham Forest.
    Jesse Lingard sees Marcus Rashford as like his little brother and nicknamed him ‘beansprouts’Credit: Instagram @marcusrashford
    He has nicknamed him ‘beansprouts’ and says their friendship stemmed from defending him during a feisty Manchester derby in 2016.
    “He got into a little bit of beef and I had to be there for him, and from then it’s carried on and I’ll always be there for him no matter what,” Lingard said.Lovren & Salah
    FOR Dejan Lovren and Mohamed Salah, there was an instant connection.
    When Salah arrived at Liverpool in 2017, the two men discussed their tough upbringings and, from there, they were virtually inseparable.
    Lovren revealed: “From day one, we felt this connection.
    Dejan Lovren and Mohamed Salah had an instant connection at LiverpoolCredit: PA:Press Association
    “We have been talking a lot, we were talking about private things and we have a similar background, a tough life from the beginning.
    “And then with his normality, how he can talk to you and when you see how he thinks… we are good friends, coffee, jokes!”
    Lovren now plays for Lyon while Salah is still starring at Anfield.Alli & Dier
    WHEN Dele Alli signed for Tottenham from Milton Keynes Dons in 2015, he quickly bonded with his fellow newbie.
    Eric Dier had signed from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon and the two quickly formed a friendship that culminated in appearing alongside each other on the Gogglebox sofa.
    Dele Alli and Eric Dier became close mates at Tottenham and ended up on Gogglebox togetherCredit: Channel 4
    The Channel 4 programme gave fans an insight into their friendship as the pair bickered over a cuppa on telly.
    But they’re not afraid to talk about their bond either, with Dele once saying: “Love’s a strong word but we do really like each other.”
    Dier has become a first team regular at Spurs, while Alli was sold to Everton. He has since tried to rebuild his career on loan in Turkey.Pogba & Lukaku
    IF it wasn’t for ‘Agent Paul Pogba’, Romelu Lukaku wouldn’t have ended up at Manchester United.
    In the summer of 2017, when the Belgian was choosing between a transfer to Chelsea and United, he was holidaying with Pogba in an LA mansion.
    There was little doubt where he would end up.
    Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku holidayed together in LA before the Belgian signed for Man United
    After that, the two superstars were virtually inseparable, hanging out, playing basketball and sharing private jets.
    The bromance was brought to an end in 2019 when Lukaku switched to Inter Milan. Pogba has since left the Red Devils for Juventus, while Lukaku is back on loan with Inter after flopping at Chelsea. Perhaps they can enjoy a nice Italian together at least now.
    Aubameyang & Lacazette
    THEY were always Gunner be mates.
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed for Arsenal in January 2018 and immediately struck up a friendship with fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette.
    Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang formed a partnership both on and off the pitch at ArsenalCredit: Reuters
    Aubameyang remembers: “I came to Arsenal and there he was. It was good to see him. It was love at first sight!”
    Their bond off the pitch helped them on it, with the duo helping the club win the FA Cup in 2020.
    However, the best buds have since moved.
    Aubameyang was first to go, after a fallout with manager Mikel Arteta, to Barcelona. He since moved to Chelsea.
    Lacazette returned to Lyon and is flying this season, even without his close pal at hand.
    Mount & Rice
    IT was in Chelsea’s academy, at the age of seven, that Mason Mount and Declan Rice began their friendship.
    Both families holidayed together and travelled Europe, watching the boys play for the Blues, and their bond endured Chelsea’s decision to release Rice at the age of 14 – which made Mount’s mum cry.
    Childhood mates Rice and Mount have gone on holiday together for many yearsCredit:
    Now the two midfielders have been able to team up again while playing for their country after being selected by Gareth Southgate.
    And Mount provided the most hilarious video when he surprised a sleeping Rice while they were on holiday together.
    Kolasinac & Ozil
    IF any star has proved their bezzie loyalty it’s Sead Kolasinac to Mesut Ozil.
    In the face of knife-wielding moped thugs, Kolasinac leapt from Ozil’s car and defended his pal with whom he had formed a strong bond.
    Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil became best buds at Arsenal while their wives have connected tooCredit: Instagram/ m10_officia
    Sead Kolasinac fought off moped muggers armed with a knifeCredit: Enterprise News and Pictures
    German Ozil vowed to take Kolasinac under his wing when he arrived at Arsenal in 2017, and since then the two men — and their wives — have become best friends.
    In the summer of 2019, both couples got married and attended each other’s wedding while the two men dyed their hair blonde after losing a bet.
    Ozil retired from the game this year, after a spell in Turkey. Kolasinac was sold to Marseille.
    Fabregas & Suarez & Messi
    IT is the friendship group football fans would dream to be a part of.
    Messi, Suarez and Cesc Fabregas, who all met at Barcelona, have formed a small clique of some of the world’s greatest footballing talent.
    Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Luis Suarez and their wives have become close friends and regularly holiday togetherCredit: Instagram @antonelaroccuzzo
    With their respective partners ⁠— Antonella Roccuzzo, Sofia Balbi and Daniella Semaan ⁠— all friends as well, the group regularly holiday together in giant luxury villas and yachts.
    There was even a suggestion in 2017 that the group racked up a £32,630 bill during a dinner on the Spanish island of Ibiza.Firmino & Coutinho
    THEIR time together at Anfield was relatively short but extremely sweet.
    Fellow Brazilians Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho formed a formidable partnership in Jurgen Klopp’s fierce attack.
    Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino formed a close bond while at Liverpool togetherCredit: Instagram, @roberto_firmino
    So it came as a blow to Firmino when Coutinho made the £142million switch to Barcelona in January 2018.
    Firmino said: “He made his decision to join Barcelona, but every time we play for the Seleção we have a chat and maintain that friendship.
    “He’s an exceptional guy – one of the best friends football has given me.”
    Coutinho returned to the Premier League with Aston Villa, so the pair rekindled their bromance.
    However, with Firmino leaving Anfield this summer, expect an emotional goodbye.
    Nolan & Carroll
    WHEN Andy Carroll was bailed for an assault charge in 2010, he turned to his best mate Kevin Nolan.
    Having become close friends at Newcastle, Nolan allowed his pal to live with his family on two conditions — reading Peppa Pig to his kids and being in bed by 11pm!
    Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll are such good mates that Nolan let Carroll live with himCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    But it still came as some surprise when the former Liverpool striker named Nolan in his dream 5-a-side team alongside superstars such as Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.
    Nolan responded by saying: “Well, me and Andy are mates so he’s looking after his mucker!”And when bromances go bad… Owen and Shearer
    A lethal strike partnership, the darlings of England’s first-team, whose relationship spiralled from good mates to a public spat.
    Michael Owen’s autobiography Reboot: My Life lifted the lid on a bitter feud that began during his time at Newcastle.
    The two English heavyweights went toe-to-toe on Twitter after Owen’s book claimed Alan Shearer had questioned his professionalism at St. James’ Park.
    Shearer took aim at Owen by highlighting his hefty wages at Newcastle before Owen shot back by questioning Shearer’s loyalty to Newcastle.
    Let’s hope the other bezzies in this list aren’t slinging mud at each other in ten years’ time.
    Alan Shearer and Michael Owen’s friendship has fallen apart and spiralled into a public spatCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd More

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    Footballers strange contract demands, from no space travel to weight clauses and free moves for Catalan independence

    PLAYERS are valuable commodities.So when they thrash out contracts with the world’s biggest clubs, it’s important to get everything right and nothing’s left to chance.
    Footballers like Lionel Messi reportedly have bizarre clauses written into their contractsCredit: Getty
    But there are times when stipulations are put in place by player and club to protect their interests, to let them fulfil their hobbies, or managers just don’t trust them.
    SunSport looks back at the wackiest clauses added by players and clubs.Messi business
    Back in 2020, with Lionel Messi’s future STILL up in the air before his free transfer move to Paris Saint-Germain, talk of what he would look for in his new contract away from Barcelona began to surface.
    Some of the clauses in that deal were leaked by El Mundo.
    They included an agreement to learn how to speak Catalan, he must ‘adopt an adequate personal conduct and pace of life’ and not engage in doping, and if Catalonia became its own country he could leave on a free transfer.
    Lew the outdoor adventurer
    When Robert Lewandowski was running down his contract at Borussia Dortmund both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were jostling for his signature.
    And in leaked documents, Real Madrid’s offer seemed far more lucrative.
    Alongside a £166,000-per-week deal and a £10m signing-on fee were several requests they didn’t want daredevil Lewandowski to do while he was their property.
    Skiing, paragliding, climbing, going on a motorboat and even riding a motorbike were big ‘no-nos’ for Madrid’s hierarchy… so that’s why signed for Bayern instead.
    Robert Lewandowski was able to continue his outdoor adventures at Bayern MunichCredit: Getty
    Reina toyed with
    When negotiating a contract, it’s important to be 100 per cent clear about what is being stipulated.
    When German forward Giuseppe Reina moved to Arminia Bielefeld in 1996, he demanded the club build him a house for every year of his contract.
    The club accepted.
    However, Reina didn’t specify what size he required.
    And Arminia provided him with a house made of Lego for the next three years.
    Giuseppe Reina in action for Arminia Bielefeld, who only joined under strict circumstances
    Redondo locked out
    Former Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder Fernando Redondo was excluded from Argentina’s 1998 World Cup squad for a bizarre reason.
    Manager Daniel Passarella had refused to pick homosexuals or players with earrings and long hair.
    Redondo was ‘guilty’ of the latter.
    He said: “I was in great form. But Passarella had particular ideas about discipline and wanted me to have my hair cut.
    “I didn’t see what that had to do with playing football so I said no.”
    Fernando Redondo’s long hair cost him his international career
    Cooking up a treat
    Congolese midfielder Rolf-Christel Guie-Mien moved from Karlsruher to Eintracht Frankfurt in 1999.
    However, he had one simple request: that his new club pay for his wife to have cooking lessons.
    We’re not sure Mrs Guie-Mien took too kindly to this demand.
    She was not available for comment at the time.
    Rolf-Christel Guie-Mien made it very clear to his wife he kitchen skills needed improvement
    Brought down to Earth
    Swede Stefan Schwarz moved to Sunderland in 1999 — but the Wearsiders had one stipulation the former Arsenal man had to adhere to.
    Schwarz was told that any potential flights into space would not be tolerated.
    The Black Cats chief exec John Flicking said at the time: “One of Schwarz’s advisers has, indeed, got one of the places on the commercial flights [into space, due to take place in 2002].
    “And we were worried that he may wish to take Stefan along with him. So we thought we’d better get things tied up now rather than at the time of the flight.”
    In fact, rather than managing to go up, his career ended when Sunderland went down in 2003.
    Stefan Schwarz is presented as a Sunderland player, alongside Peter Reid in 1999
    Razor weighed down
    Former Premier League and England defender Neil Ruddock once admitted to eating 212 steak and kidney pies every year.
    And Crystal Palace were advised Razor did come with some extra baggage when they signed him on a free in 2000.
    Ex-Eagles chairman Simon Jordan wrote in his autobiography: “On approaching West Ham I discovered he was a free transfer, although he did have a weighty salary — which was not the only weighty thing about him.
    “Harry Redknapp, the West Ham manager at the time, told me to put in a weight clause.
    “So I decided to put a 10 per cent penalty on the contract we were proposing to offer him if he was over the recommended weight of 99.8kg, which by the way was still frigging huge.”
    Ruddock’s Palace debut was allegedly delayed because the club couldn’t find a pair of shorts big enough for him.
    Neil Ruddock has never been one of the slimmest footballers
    Driving a Honda
    Japanese legend Keisuke Honda joined Botafogo in January 2020.
    But moving to Brazil’s crime-ridden city of Rio de Janeiro had the midfielder fearing for his safety.
    So he stipulated he would need an ARMOURED VEHICLE as part of the deal.
    More incredibly, Botafogo agreed.
    But his stay in South America did not last long and the now 36-year-old left the same year for Azerbaijan.
    Honda ended his career in Lithuania – and is now coach of Cambodia’s U23s.
    Keisuke Honda signed for Brazilian side Botafogo – but only after an unusual request was grantedCredit: AFP or licensors More