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Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas apparently wiped a booger on a kid’s face (Video)

This comes from before Real Madrid’s first leg quarterfinal match against APOEL in Champions League on Tuesday. While waiting in the tunnel for pre-match ceremonies, Real Madrid keeper and captain Iker Casillas either had a scratch or was looking for something in his nose. Whatever the case, a few seconds later Casillas wiped the same hand across the face of the young child next to him, for no other apparent reason than to discard nose residue.

In all fairness, that kid probably wiped a booger on Casillas earlier when he wasn’t looking. Because that’s what little kids do.

H/T Dirty Tackle

U.S. men’s soccer team eliminated from Olympic qualifying

For just the second time since 1976, the U.S. men’s soccer team will not be going to the Olympics.

The U-23 men’s team blew a 3-2 lead against El Salvador Monday at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. and ended up with a 3-3 draw.

Terrence Boyd scored twice for the U.S. but backup goalie Sean Johnson surrendered the tying goal four minutes into stoppage time — seconds before the game ended.

Johnson replaced Bill Hamid, who allowed two goals after hurting his ankle midway through the first half, and held El Salvador scoreless until stoppage time. Johnson didn’t speak with the media after the devastating loss.

Team captain Freddy Adu summed up the team’s disappointment.

“This is probably the worst feeling I’ve ever felt in my life so far as a pro athlete,” Adu said. “This is going to be hard to get over. But at the end of the day things like this happen. For me, I never want to feel this way again, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to never feel this way again.”

The U.S. team finished third in CONCACAF Group A standings behind Canada and El Salvador who both advanced to the semis thanks to a win and two draws. The U.S. had a win, loss, and the dreadful draw against El Salvador.

Photo Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
Note: This post also appeared at Medal Detector

Brazilian soccer player bitten by police dog during discussion with linesmen (Video)

It’s a wacky world out there for Brazilian soccer players, and you can never be sure what you might face on the pitch. During a game between Caxias and Novo Hamburgo Saturday, one player was bitten by a dog on the pitch.

Caxias striker Vanderlei was bitten by a policeman’s German Shepard while he and his teammates swarmed the refs to dispute a call. They were contesting a disallowed goal that was overturned, one that marked the only score of the game. So not only did Vanderlei get bit, but his team also lost. At least Vanderlei was able to return after the game was delayed about 10 minutes.

If Vanderlei needs someone to lean on, he should speak with former Auburn DB Jerraud Powers who was bitten by a dog during the 2007 Iron Bowl. Maybe they could commiserate about rabies shots.

Thanks to Off the Bench for sharing the video

Bulgarian soccer coach Nikolay Kostov quits after his first loss with the team

You think you know what high standards are? Some managers and coaches throw a fit after their team loses a game. Others win often, but never seem satisfied. Those types of leaders have nothing on Levski Sofia coach Nikolay Kostov, who resigned on Monday following his team’s 1-0 loss over the weekend.

Here’s the amazing part. Kostov took over as Levski’s coach back in November, and Sunday marked their first league loss since he arrived.

“Levski didn’t perform according to my expectations and we didn’t achieve the results, which I expected when I took over,” Kostov said according to Yahoo! UK. “Therefore I decided to quit.”

Talk about giving a new meaning to the phrase “one and done.” Perhaps Kostov was looking for a way out and couldn’t justify quitting after a win. Levski is only three points out of first place in the standings, so they are hardly out of contention. Sometimes it just isn’t working out … I guess?

One thing’s for sure: Bulgarian soccer teams don’t mess around. This news about Kostov comes just a couple days after we informed you about the Bulgarian team that has stopped paying its players until they start winning. Apparently soccer standards are astronomically high in Bulgaria.

H/T Dirty Tackle
Photo Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Fabrice Muamba made jokes after he came out of his coma this week

Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba remains hospitalized after suffering a cardiac arrest and suddenly collapsing just before halftime of Bolton’s FA Cup match against Tottenham last Saturday. The soccer world has since lent its unwavering support to Muamba, who, according to a doctor, was effectively dead for 78 minutes before his heart could be started again.

As paramedics attempted to resuscitate the 23-year-old, Tottenham fan and cardiologist Andrew Deaner came from the stands to assist in the medical treatment being given on the field. Deaner works at London Chest Hospital where Muamba is currently being treated and was the first to speak with the midfielder as he came out of a medically induced coma on Monday. Deaner said he was pleasantly surprised by the wit Muamba immediately displayed during their short conversation:

“What’s your name?” Deaner asked. Muamba replied with his name. “I understand you’re a very good footballer,” Deaner said. “I try,” Muamba quipped. The joke was enough to bring Deaner to tears.

Doctors say Muamba probably faces a long road of recovery. It’s still unclear whether he will be able to play soccer again. But it’s good to see him show some levity in what’s an unfathomably scary situation. That positive attitude can only help as he works his way back to full health. We send him our best wishes.

H/T Deadspin
Photo via Wikipedia Commons

Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao defends smoking a cigarette on his birthday

This being the 21st century and knowing what we know about the dangers of smoking, fans do not want to see players from their favorite teams puffing on a cigarette. Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao has discovered that the hard way, as he recently made headlines when a photo surfaced of him smoking a cigarette outside a restaurant. Real Madrid fans were outraged when they saw it, but Coentrao insists it was a one-time thing.

“It was my birthday and it was an occasional thing,” Coentrao told the Record according to Goal.com. “I am very disappointed with what has been written in the press because no one can say anything bad about me. I am an excellent professional, I have always given everything for the clubs I have represented and it is not fair to put everything in doubt because of one isolated act.”

Amen. It certainly sets a bad example for the children who idolize soccer players, but it seems like a personal matter. As long as it doesn’t affect the way Coentrao gets up and down the pitch — which I’m guessing he does just fine if he’s on the Real Madrid roster — there’s no need to crucify him for it.

“Besides, it was reported that I had made a lot of noise in my house on that night and that is a complete lie,” Coentrao added.

Oh well in that case, puff away.

Photo Credit: Hugo Santos-US PRESSWIRE

Bulgarian soccer team reportedly not paying players until they start winning

When the Red Sox suffered their epic collapse in September last season, one of their main issues was the carelessness of the players. When guys are getting paid millions of dollars — win or lose, healthy or injured — you have to wonder where their motivation comes from. If Kaliakra, a soccer club in Bulgaria, continues its current losing streak, it won’t be because its players are content with their weekly paycheck. That’s because they won’t be getting paid until some wins start piling up.

According to the Daily Mail, Kaliakra team president Ventsislav Vasilev has informed the team that they aren’t getting paid if their current skid continues.

“The decision will be in force until further notice,” he said, adding that it has been made clear to the team that they will have to fight not only to win games but also to earn a paycheck.

Kaliakra suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss at home on Wednesday — their 14th of the season. They are second-to-last in their division and have not registered a point in their last five matches.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen money used as a motivator for a soccer club, as a Ukrainian team was reportedly fining its players for continuing to lose games last year. The Red Sox front office should try that if the team starts to slide again this season. I’m sure it will go over well with the Players Association.

H/T Dirty Tackle