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14 February 2014 ~

Lazio have denied that their 17-year-old youth player Joseph Minala is 41, as he reportedly told a website. Surprising claims about footballers' ages are not restricted to African players however – Charlie Adam is apparently only 28.

EstudBadge of the week ~ SV Estudiantes, Aruba
Hardly anything is very serious in the Caribbean. I mean, the Cuban revolution of the 1950s was fairly serious, but it has since come to light that Castro had a special regiment of table dancers for the last few weeks of the conflict. Aruba is an island quite giddy with its own Caribbean-ness: it has three Mardi Gras, two of which don't even pretend to be necessary and its annual literary prize has "Best Happy Ending" as a sub-category.

The whole place is frisky and beamish. It is one of the few countries whose civil service still uses pencils with rubbers on the end for official documents, pens and printer ink being viewed as a little overbearing. The pencil is also symbolic, of course, of ethereal impermanence (my source here is the symbolists' bible The Flip-Up Seat As Father Figure). We are indeed here today and gone tomorrow, so let us make the most of what we have, the pencil in the image seems to be saying. He also seems to be claiming offside against an opposing forward, so he does have a serious side. Cameron Carter


A surprise name on the Manchester United teamsheet.



A wind-assisted Stephen Warnock is a fearsome sight.


Academic conferences on football often feature some perplexing topics and this one is no exception.


Doncaster Rovers v Middlesbrough will now be known as the photocopier grudge match.


Also in the news this week
The most effective tackle ever, in an Italian lower league game.

Still in Italy: a good job he didn't take his shirt off as well.

The 81 crosses to bear at Old Trafford.

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