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Thursday Round Up: Diame on Wigan, Ridiculous punishments and Sevilla threats

One sometimes wonders what exactly a player expects when they make the move to certain cities to play their football. Clearly players want to test themselves at a higher level, but would you really fancy swapping Madrid for the joys of a wet and cold evening in front of a half empty stadium in Wigan.

Mohamed Diame, who signed for Wigan for around £3m in August 2009, has clearly been wondering the same following a recent interview, where he gave his impressions of Wigan and life in England:

“The truth about life in Wigan is that there is nothing to do. It is a crappy place. The town is tiny and there is no atmosphere. I go into training, I return home afterwards, and that is all I do.”

One wonders whether having come from Madrid, he expected Wigan to be a hive of cultural activity, but it gives a clear message to all aspiring footballers looking for a move abroad – visit the town before you sign.

However, that was not the only problem that he has with Wigan. Strangely, Wigan turns out to be slightly colder than Madrid as well:

“There is absolutely no comparison between Wigan and Madrid. I was happy there – it was a capital city, and I guess it is the same as any capital. After training, I was able to go for a peaceful stroll. It was never really cold over there. But as for here – don’t get me started. When it snowed, I felt like the temperature was minus 15 and feared I was going to turn into an ice cube.”

To be fair to him, it probably was minus 15 given the winter we have had, but it is no real surprise that it is difficult to compare Madrid and Wigan. Even Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan, had to accept that describing Wigan as having come from a mining and coal background.

However, Diame had one final observation to make on life in Wigan:

“It is rare to see truly beautiful girls when you go out during the day. In Madrid, I had the idea that all the women were beautiful.”

Clearly Mohamed isn’t overly enthralled by the allure of the northern birds. Compared to Madrid, can you really blame him?

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The footballing authorities around the world continue to demonstrate that they have never considered the idea of using any semblance of common sense in decision-making. Last Saturday, Lionel Messi scored a penalty to make it 3-0 to Barcelona. No surprise

However, as he peeled away to celebrate, he pulled up his shirt to reveal a message scrawled on a T-shirt. For this celebration, the Spanish federation decided to fine him €3,000 and retrospectively award him a yellow card under their regulations against messages on shirts. So, what could this message have been that it required such punishment? A political message? A message that could have offended certain groups?

Nothing as strong as that. The message simply read, “Feliz Cumple, Mami.” A happy birthday message to his mother. A simple gesture from a child to his mother.

However, apparently that is no longer allowed. It is almost as ridiculous as the rule that players should be booked for celebrating with the crowd. The idea that a simple sharing of jubilation with the fans who make up the lifeblood of a club and a cynical and potential dangerous challenge should be worthy of the same punishment is simply absurd.

Emotion and common sense no longer have a place in football. Players should score important goals and simply turn around and quietly walk back to their positions. Or at least, that is what it seems the authorities would prefer.

* * *

Clubs and managers often resort to winding up their opponents ahead of big games or employing more subtle mind games to put their opposition off their game. However, Sevilla have taken it one step further. Ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final first leg with Real Madrid, the players mocked up a quick video where they appear to appear topless and smearing themselves with war paint.

All the while, a threatening voice speaks in Portuguese, warning Mourinho that “we will leave you without the title.” There is no denying that it is slightly creepy, and indeed, Martin Caceres actually looks quite bloodthirsty covered in what appears to be blood.

Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to have the desired effect as an early Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid the all important away goal in a 1-0 victory. Maybe next time, they should spend more time preparing for the game than making these ridiculous videos.

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