Fool’s gold: 7 times footballers tricked the world on April Fools’ Day

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Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin

We have a feeling 2017 might be the year that branded April Fools’ #content jumps the shark, but don’t let that ruin your enjoyment of this genre classic. In 2015, Arsenal’s official YouTube account unveiled a promotional video for a ground-breaking new product from Puma, featuring some of the Gunners’ big-name stars.

The left-footed football supposedly featured reinforced foam on one side of the ball, with the ‘grain’ on it rotated by 180 degrees to make it easier for Arsenal’s multitude of talented left-footed players to strike it with power and accuracy.

There’s footage of the players trying out the new ball, including a right-footer shanking a penalty high and wide. A series of interviews with Arsenal players press home the point – stilted yes, but exactly as awkward as any real promotion video starring a footballer, so it kind of works. We can’t wait to see what Arsenal have in store for us this April Fools’ Day. Arsene Wenger to renew his contract, perhaps.

Fabian Delph

With a running time of four minutes and seven seconds, Fabian Delph’s April Fools’ Day prank on a Manchester City TV presenter is just about the longest appearance he’s made on the club’s behalf. In the video, released last year, Delph pretends to storm out of an interview with City presenter Nicola McCarthy after a question he doesn’t like. She’s mortified and Delph seems vaguely traumatised at having been put up to it, so it’s debatable how much joy there is here.

Of course, in real life footballers don’t really storm out of interviews – instead they tend to adopt the time-honoured tactic of giving dull answers until the interviewer loses the will to go on. It’s one of a number of pranks on YouTube featuring City players: the squad getting a scare before Halloween, Micah Richards pranking City staff, Joe Hart’s car getting wrapped in paper.

The big reveal on Pep Guardiola’s long-running Claudio Bravo prank should be a cracker.

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand observes his former domain and makes some wild claims about the future

The former Manchester United and England centre-back had already cemented his status as one of history’s greatest pranksters for his starring role in Rio’s World Cup Wind-Ups. For those not familiar with the premise, it was a hidden camera show in which the United great “merk’d” his England team-mates, including Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville, Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

There’s a full list on Wikipedia under the curious heading ‘English People who have been “Merk’d"' which suggests there was a secret extra series involving foreigners which couldn’t be shown for legal reasons. In April last year, with Louis van Gaal on the way out, Ferdinand tweeted a picture of himself standing on the touchline at Old Trafford, with the words: “New Chapter.. Contract signed.. Looking forward to going into management in June. Big summer ahead!”

Of course, Rio was not set for the dugout at Old Trafford, with Jose Mourinho arriving in the summer. Turns out we’d all been merk’d.

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