Sergio Ramos and a masterclass in deflection

An international incident in the making. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


Who’d have thought it? A couple of months in and the Uefa Nations League can almost be considered a qualified success! England have finally found something they’re a little bit better at than Germany; Raheem Sterling’s goals have piqued £100m interest from Real Madrid, good news for anyone less than excited by the prospect of Manchester City doing a Juventus/Bayern/Queen’s Celtic over the next 17 years, which let’s face it, is very much on the cards; and this type of list works best rhythmically in threes, but this is all we’ve got. Two reasons are more than enough, though, when you consider expectations going into this thing were significantly less than zero.

It consisted of a clip of the England forward rolling around theatrically on the floor on Monday evening, accompanied by the phrase “Nothing else to say.” A masterclass in deflection, much like that time he caromed his elbow off the back of Atlético Madrid defender Lucas Hernández’s dazed noggin, or was violently bounced to the floor by Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado’s vicious shoulder caress in the 2017 Big Cup final. You’d think a 32-year-old grown man who has won the World Cup, two European Championships, four Big Cups, three Club World Cups and four La Ligas would be above such petty squabbling in public. But no. And we’ve checked, it really is him. It’s all thoroughly verified: the blue tick’s there, as is the phrase “cuenta oficial”. Please behave, you know full well what that means.


“When we left and James Beattie took over, the club spent a lot of money on three-piece suits with smart waistcoats and when we came back we didn’t think it fitted with what Accrington is about. So at our first home game Jimmy wrote the dress code on the whiteboard and in capital letters put – ‘NO WAISTCOATS!’ To be fair I reckon I could carry it off; I don’t think any of my players could” – Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman is not a disciple of the Gareth Southgate school of fashion.

John Coleman: ‘zactly. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

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