11 of the funniest ball boy barneys: time wasters, scorers and assault victims
7. A real slap in the face
Serey Die is clearly an emotional sort, as he proved by bursting into tears during the Ivory Coast national anthem at last summer’s World Cup. But not all of the midfielder’s outbursts are quite so endearing. Take, for example, the incident in 2012 when he took Sion’s defeat to Lausanne out on a nearby ball boy by slapping him straight across the face after a verbal tirade. “He said something that I cannot repeat,” said shocked Lausanne striker Steven Lang.
8. “Cheers Mister, but can you get me Zlatan’s instead?”
From the Spurs scamp who launched a ball straight into a Famagusta player’s unmentionables, to those who like to goad the opposition – Jens Lehmann and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the most famous victims – ball boys can be a heartless bunch.
And none more heartless than the Chievo kid who in 2012 made it perfectly clearly that, no, he didn’t want Sulley Muntari’s shirt. First, he tried to hand it straight back to the Milan midfielder, then attempted to palm it off to one of his fellow ball boys right in front of the generous Ghanaian. Charming.
9. Lombardi sees red
Red heads are considered unlucky in South America. So when the controversial manager of relegation-threatened San Lorenzo, Ricardo Caruso Lombardi, spotted copped-topped ball boy Franco Robledo on the sidelines in 2013, he ordered him to stand behind the goal for their next game in an attempt to put off the opposition’s strikers.
It seemed to work, too. San Lorenzo kept a clean sheet and el colorado mulfa (‘the unlucky ginger’) remained in situ until the season’s end, when safety was secured. He was rewarded with a VIP pass to the team’s survival celebrations.
10. To the left, to the left
If China’s 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in their opening game of January's Asian Cup was a shock, then the manner of it was even more eyebrow-raising. With the scores at 0-0, the Saudis were awarded a penalty. Unsure which way to dive, Chinese keeper Wang Dalei asked a local Australian ball boy, who motioned to the left. Wang did as he was told and saved Naif Hazazi’s spot-kick with his legs. Ripper!
11. Mirallas pushes his luck
Everton's Belgian winger didn't take too kindly to some ball boy japery when the Toffees were 3-2 down to Barnsley in August's League Cup tussle at Oakwell. Mirallas himself had helped the Merseysiders claw their way back from two goals down with Everton's first, before Arsenal loanee Dan Crowley restored the Championship side's advantage.
Three minutes later Mirallas was shoving a red-headed Barnsley helper in the chest after the youngster deceived him with a cheeky feint. The Belgian got his ball back, Romelu Lukaku sent the game to extra-time and Everton netted twice to go through 5-3.