A Uk based charity organisation founded by former Chelsea star, Didier Drogba is being investigated after it was found less than 1 per cent of the cash it raised in the had gone to the causes they were intended for.
Cristiano Ronaldo's sheer wizardry, typified by his thoroughbred athleticism, irrepressible fighting spirit and impeccable mastery of the ball, gave Real Madrid the needed impetus to surmount a two-goal deficit and eliminate Wolfsburg 3-2 on aggregate in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final match played the Bernabaue in Spain.
Have 10 minutes ever so encapsulated the failings of a Premier League football club?
Arsenal were cruising at Upton Park, 2-0 to the good after goals from Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez and keeping the ball from their opponents with the ease one has come to expect from Arsene Wenger’s flaky, if beautiful, team.
Then came the wrecking ball, ponytail swinging in the wind, to ruin the moment. Andy Carroll, the definition of a nuisance target man, planted a superb header past David Ospina, bafflingly selected ahead of Petr Cech despite the ex-Chelsea goalkeeper returning to fitness, from Aaron Cresswell’s pinpoint cross.
And then again. Carroll is equally adept at volleying the ball beyond the goalkeeper as he is at heading it and he proved that with a remarkable swinging strike after the Gunners failed to clear a corner.
From two goals up in the 44th minute to level at half-time, Arsenal had imploded. It got worse. Carroll, so abysmally marked by both Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny, rose high in the early stages of the second half to grab his hat-trick. He was Arsenal’s worst nightmares. Laurent Koscielny equalised, but the damage was done. They are now 10 points behind Leicester, and three behind Tottenham.
No matter how often Wenger talks of togetherness, or spirit, or desire the fact will always remain; he has presided over too many teams with a soft underbelly. Arsenal always fold when the going gets tough.
Can one envisage Leicester City throwing away such a lead in such comical fashion? They started the season as unfancied relegation fodder but are now careering towards the Premier League title and at the heart of their success lies a succession of 1-0 wins. Closing a game out is vital for any potential champion.
Arsenal, however, simply cannot do it. They played perfectly for those opening 44 minutes, moving the ball expertly, creating chances and then gobbling them up with ruthless efficiency. This appeared to be a statement of intent. They looked to be back in the title race, ready to breathe down the necks of Leicester and Tottenham for the remainder of this crazy season.
Every Wenger side since the Invincibles has had the same problem, though. Once exposed to the rarefied air of the Premier League summit they cower in fear and wish to climb back down whence they came. They need leaders, players who can calm the nerves and play sensibly.
Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin have both played well this season but they do not have the required voice to marshal the troops; one cannot imagine Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil doing so, nor Laurent Koscielny or the lumbering Gabriel.
Wenger knows of this weakness and has done nothing to fix it. It has cost his side for the umpteenth time.
The relationship between a king and his subjects can often be complex, and Pele's case is no exception. The legend is an illustrious citizen and the biggest gift Tres Coracoes has given to the world, but the greatest footballer of all time is not universally loved in his hometown. A daily topic in the municipality located in the interior of Minas Geraise, with around 77,000 inhabitants, the eternal Santos 10 is responsible for the city's biggest events of the past 50 years; but there is plenty of controversy around his name.
Besides Pele's home, another Tres Coracoes tourist attraction is a statue in homage to O Rei, smack bang in the centre of the city. The bust's unveiling in 1970 brought the city to a standstill. A friendly between Santos and Atletico Tres Coracoes (now Tricordiano) was organised to mark the occasion and ended in a 2-1 win for the hosts. It was the biggest celebration ever witnessed until his return in 2012, for the inauguration of a replica of his house.
The most popular site to stay in Tres Coracoes also catches the eye. During Goal's stay at Hotel Calabreza, the same lodgings Pele used to use on his rare visits to the city - for security reasons he tends to visit family members while avoiding staying in their homes - O Rei can be glimpsed everywhere. There is an enormous photograph in the lobby, while in the restaurant guests can take in more images and even a signed copy of his birth certificate.
The king of football is logically in the minds of the entire town and is both the main topic of conversation and a permanent source of controversy for the dwellers of Tres Coracoes. Goal spoke with several residents along the narrow streets of the town, as well as taxi drivers and store owners, and there is more than a little discontent in the air. Citizens complain that Pele abandoned Tres Coracoes and seldom visits his hometown.
Jorge Jeremias and Ana Maria, cousins of O Rei and Tres Coracoes residents, confirmed that he was scarcely to be seen in the streets of the city, but defended their relative; as did Silvia Novaes, history teacher at the Luiza Gomes school.
"People around here do not understand that he is a citizen of the world. He has a lot to do and he does not have much time to come here. He is not just ours, he is the whole world's, and he should be respected by the people because he is our greatest pride. When you talk about Tres Coracoes people remember Pele. If it was not for him, nobody would have heard of the city," she pointed out.
Fellow teacher Jose Maria agrees. "People believes that Pele does not care about the city, but he put Tres Coracoes on the map. He is a citizen of the world and that is what counts. He is a great figure and we should know how to use him, but we don't. People usually write letters asking for shirts and they do not get an answer, then they think it is because he didn't like the city, you see what I mean," he laughed.
In Varginha, for example, they throw a huge party for the 'Alien', which never goes there, here we have Pele, the best player in history and we have never fully realised it. Pele is a brand, everyone on earth knows who he is. If you travel and say you are from Pele's hometown that already stands out," he adds, referring to a rival city which claims to have seen an extra-terrestrial.
The teacher's complaint makes a lot of sense; the city government has never worked out how to make the best use out of their connection with O Rei. Usually when the municipality seeks out Pele, it is to plead for financial help. The image of the No. 10 was badly exploited by Tres Corocoes. The best ideas involving Edson Arantes do Nascimento, it might be added, were thought out with the help of Jose Maria himself.
"I am a huge admirer of our most illustrious neighbour, Pele, and a tourism enthusiast in Tres Coracoes. I carry the flag here and I have worked hard to change the mentality that persists in the city. I was part of the committee that welcomed him on his last visit, the unveiling of Casa Pele, and I started and was part of the project to create the replica of the house he grew up in. I also created projects in the school for the kids so they would have an idea of what he representes. We should give him the respect he deserves, and at the same time use his name and image to benefit Tres Coracoes, starting businesses and spreading the city's name across the world."
The love-hate relationship in Tres Coracoes with her most illustrious son seems to be related to longing. Pele moved to Bauru, in Sao Paulo, when he was just three and a half years old, according to his mother, but it was in the Mineiro town where it all began. The residents only want more visits from O Rei, something that now, at his advanced age and with his health problems, is even more difficult. The truth is that Pele deserves to be more loved across Brazil, just like Diego Maradona in Argentina. The eternal No. 10, the best player of all time, is ours, he is from Tres Coracoes, and his image should be used more by the city, which must welcome home its prodigal son.