Corinthian Spirt

Former Corinthians forward Adriano has confirmed he intends to take legal action against the club after he claims he was held prisoner during a week-long programme intended to boost his fitness.

It’s unclear precisely what Adriano will be suing the club for, unless there’s legislation in Brazil that requires individuals consume doughnuts day and night.

“I will take [legal] action [against Corinthians],” the portly Adriano told Globo TV. “I was in prison for one week. At no time did I agree to stay there. It was a punishment. I felt so humiliated.”

And that was just the warm-up stretching exercises; imagine how he felt when they actually started to jog.

The former Inter striker did admit though, that he had issues with his fitness during his time at the club.

“I really did not take care of myself, I am aware of that,” he stated. “I was stubborn, and I missed a lot [of training sessions].”

He also went on to describe how he struggled to settle in the city of Sao Paulo.

“I could not identify with the city. It’s a nice place, with many food options. But I’m from Rio and I’m used to the beach.”

So speaks a man dedicated to his profession.

“It all depends on me,” he continued when pondering his future plans. “Adriano will be Adriano forever: that will never change. I hope to sign for Flamengo and then after that the Selecao is my dream.”

And after the dream, he wakes up. 

Brisbane Roar again

Brisbane Roar have become the first club in the A-League era to win successive championships, although their 2-1 win over Perth Glory was not without controversy.

With time up and the scores tied 1-1, Brisbane’s Albanian striker Besart Berisha fell theatrically to the floor and to the astonishment of the Perth players, the referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Berisha to fire home the winner with the very last kick of the game.

If the nature of their defeat hurt, then the manner of Berisha celebrating what was unquestionably a highly contentious penalty must have felt like salt in the wound.

The general consensus was that Berisha fooled the referee, Jarred Gillett, with a well judged dive.

Support for the under-fire Gillett came from A-League referees boss Mark Shield, who stated: “My very first instinct was (it was a) penalty at the time … Like everyone else, I’ve had a look the replay and there’s some inconclusive angles but there’s one particular angle that shows, in my view, that there was enough contact to warrant a penalty given.”

Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Drogba time

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is confident that striker Didier Drogba will recover in time to face Barcelona in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final.

“We’ll have to assess the players tomorrow. He (Drogba) has an injury on his knee, so it’s whether the progression on this injury will be quick enough,” the interim Chelsea first team coach said.

The prospect of Drogba missing the game is a worry for Chelsea, not least because it would deprive them of their best hope of overcoming the holders: wasting time.

Goal of the day

Carlos Vela has been making a habit of scoring spectacular goals this season. The Arsenal striker, who is spending the year on loan with Spanish outfit Real Sociedad, scored another in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Villarreal. As the ball was headed across goal, the Mexican spun with his back to goal to guide the ball home on the volley.

Fans behaving badly

Genoa’s match against Siena was suspended for 45 minutes after fans threw flares on the pitch.

The protests broke out early in the second half as Genoa, in danger of relegation to Serie B, trailed 4-0. To placate the irate supporters, the Genoa skipper, Marco Rossi, removed his shirt and encouraged some of his team mates to do likewise, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate to the fans that they were not worthy to wear the shirt.

The gesture appeared to work and the game was eventually resumed with Siena running out 4-1 winners.

The Genoa president, Enrico Preziosi, was critical of the fans’ behavior.

“It’s upsetting that 60 or 100 people have the impunity to do and say what they feel like without being stopped and sent home,” he said. “It’s not possible that they take over the stadium and impose their laws.”

So upset was Preziosi that he did what he normally does when things aren’t going well: he fired coach Alberto Malesani. This was the second time he had been sacked by club this season, his latest appointment lasting all of 20 days. All being well and judging by the turnover of coaches at Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, he should be back in the hot seat within a week or two. In the meantime, the man charged with averting relegation to Serie B is Luidio Di Canio, who returns to the club after an eight-year absence.

Incidentally, Malesani becomes the 18th coaching casualty of the Serie A season. The previous record for coaching changes in Serie A was 15 in 1951-52.

Fans for the memory

Fans of Galatasaray, who earlier this season put on a memorable visual display in honour of coach Fatih Terim, repeated the trick over the weekend. Before the clash with Fenerbahce, the supporters unveiled an incredible 3-D demonstration.

Anyone for tennis?

Sevilla fans expressed their displeasure at having the kick-off time of their match against Levante moved.

Supporters were unhappy that their game was put back by half-an-hour so that broadcasters could dwell upon post-match reaction from Saturday’s El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid. So they decided to throw hundreds of tennis balls on to the pitch.

The motive behind the protest was explained by a banner proclaiming: “Stop the match, Mourinho is talking.”

Player attacked in nightclub

Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed fullback Michal Kadlec suffered a broken nose after being attacked in a nightclub in Cologne.

The Czech Republic international visited the nightclub with his girlfriend and team-mates after his side’s 1-0 Bundesliga win in Hoffenheim.

Bayer director of sport Rudi Voller told Sky television: “He (Michal) could do nothing about it, he is totally innocent.

“I am very disturbed by this. It is a kind of violence that I have never seen before.

“I have never heard of anything like this in 30 years.”

Cologne confirmed that although they were aware of the identities of both men, although neither was a club member. Indeed, one of them was issued with a four-year nationwide stadium ban in 2010.

Cologne chief executive Claus Horstmann apologised to Bayer and Kadlec for the attack.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “I learnt of the incident on Sunday and immediately contacted (Bayer chief executive) Wolfgang Holzhauser in order to apologise explicitly in the name of Cologne to Michal Kadlec and Bayer Leverkusen for this attack.

“We will also seek direct talks with Michal Kadlec so we can apologise to him personally and express our regret over this ugly incident.

“We are offering our help with the prosecution and will check promptly what legal options are available to us.

“It is not on that opposition players cannot move around freely in Cologne and that they are attacked just because they play football for a league rival.”

Ukraine tickets available

A total of 50,000 tickets for Euro 2012 remain unsold for matches in Ukraine, UEFA has confirmed.

“In Poland, we are basically sold out. In Ukraine, we still have around 50,000 tickets,” Pedro Correia, head of UEFA’s ticket operations, said.

“It’s no secret that demand was far higher in Poland than in Ukraine.”

In the context of the total number of tickets on sale, it has to be said that 50,000 is not a huge amount.

“Concerning Ukraine, actually the results are good, because we’re talking about almost 1.4 million tickets for Euro 2012, and what we have left for the tournament is 50,000,” said Correia.

“There are different reasons that tickets became available, because in the last sales phase, which is ending now, the national associations did not take all their allocations,” he explained.

“For sure, it has to do with different reasons, probably the economic situation in Europe, the cost of travelling, the cost of accommodation,” he added.

The biggest no-show, surprisingly, has come from England, whose supporters traditionally travel in huge numbers. For their opening match against France in the eastern city of Donetsk, England shifted only 3,500 of the 7,000 tickets they were offered. Although, anyone who has seen the England team play live in the past year or so, will be amazed that they were able to sell that many.

Football’s coming home

A football swept away by last year’s tsunami and found 3000 miles away on a remote Alaskan island is to be returned after its teenage Japanese owner was identified.

Sixteen-year-old Misaki Murakami’s name was written on the ball that was swept out to sea in March 2011.

David Baxter found it more than a year later on Alaska’s Middleton Island, 70 miles (112km) from the Alaska mainland.

Murakami, whose house and it contents were washed away during last year’s devastating tsunami, told Japanese media he was sure the ball was his and would be happy to have it back.

“I’m very grateful as I’ve so far found nothing that I’d owned,” he told broadcaster TBS on Sunday.

Recovery of the tsunami ball offers hope that one day, this long lost ball might eventually resurface.