Ten outlandish claims made by leading football figures

Including "Mourinho should be jailed, "van Persie could have been killed" and more.

Walter Zenga made one of the most outlandish claims in football
Wolves are the biggest team in Italy, claimed Zenga (Image: Sam Bignall)

There have been some ridiculously outlandish claims made in the world of football this summer, and they’re included in this list of ten.

Recent corkers from Dejan Stefanović, Walter Zenga and Mario Balotelli fired memories of other stellar examples from recent years.

So kick back, relax and enjoy these ten hilariously outlandish claims made by leading football figures:

Dejan Stefanović: Mourinho should be jailed

The Slovenian lawyer and FifPro member claimed Man Utd boss José Mourinho should be imprisoned for his treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Having banished the German midfielder to the reserves and reportedly cleared out his locker, it’s clear that Mourinho sees no role for Schweinsteiger.

It’s a move that has attracted criticism, none more severe than from Stefanović:

It’s clear bullying. In Slovenia, we would have indicted Mourinho and asked for the highest penalty – three years in prison.

This is clearly meant to discourage Bastian. Mourinho is setting a bad example. I would take it to the ordinary court.

In our case, the penal code is quite clear. If there is bullying and harassment, there’s a prison sanction, a maximum of three years in prison.

Schweinsteiger should turn to the Professional Footballers’ Association and he should file a complaint and I would also seek penalty for Mourinho.

All the players of the first team have to train with the coaches of the first team at the same place, at the same time as all other team-mates.

That’s something that should be applied to each and every club and should be written within FIFA regulations.

Apparently this isn’t the Dejan Stefanović who played for Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth.

Oh, and United declined to comment.

Walter Zenga: Wolves are the biggest English team in Italy

After replacing Kenny Jackett in the Molineux hot seat, former Inter goalkeeper Zenga was asked why he joined the club.

He said: “Why not? Wolves are the biggest team for us in Italy.”

See for yourself:

Walter Zenga is a lying bastard… pic.twitter.com/yEDmY6UBUV

— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 1, 2016

Mario Balotelli: I can still win the Ballon d’Or

After just 4 goals in 28 appearances for Liverpool, the Italian striker spent last season on loan to AC Milan.

He fared even worse there, scoring only once in 20 Serie A appearances, so now he’s back on Merseyside with little prospect of first-team football.

Now 25, Balotelli told Corriere della Sera that it’s just been a two-year blip on his way to becoming the world’s best:

In my view there weren’t enough [expectations put on me], as I can do so much more than what I said. But it takes time.

On the scale of 0 to 10, I stopped at five, but I’ll get to 10 eventually. I want to get there. I will win the Ballon d’Or.

I do realise that I’ve spent two years of my career when I could’ve been getting closer to 10 and instead stayed at five.

I know, the Ballon d’Or might seem laughable and I might not have done everything to be the best, but the important thing is I realised it’s not too late.

Sir Alex Ferguson: Robin van Persie could have been killed

SAF was horrified when Ashley Williams kicked the ball at RVP’s head from close range during a 1-1 draw with Swansea.

He said:

Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive. It was a disgraceful act from their player.

He should be banned by the FA. Robin could have had a broken neck.

With the van Persie situation, you can clearly see that he could have been killed.

He should be banned for a long time because that was the most dangerous thing I’ve seen on a football field for many years.

It was absolutely deliberate. The whistle has gone, the game has stopped and he has done that right in front of the referee, he could have killed the lad.

It was a disgraceful act by the player, he should be banned for a long time.

Judge for yourself:

Roberto Martínez: Gareth Barry one of England’s best ever players

The newly appointed Belgium manager got carried away when his Everton side beat Man City 2-1 in a League Cup semi first leg.

He said:

Gareth Barry is one of those players that gets underrated.

For me the big reason why we have so many effective young players is there are leaders in the mould of Gareth Barry.

I have never seen a player with the incredible professionalism, standards and so level-headed as Gareth Barry.

For me he is one of the best English players ever. He could end up with 600 Premier League appearances.

They lost the second leg 3-1.

Yaya Touré: Man City didn’t give me a birthday cake

In May 2014, the Ivorian claimed Man City had disrespected him by not making a fuss of his birthday.

His Russian adviser Dmitry Seluk said:

Yaya is so upset, he is thinking of leaving City.

There are a number of things that have happened that have left Yaya feeling bitterly upset.

City have treated him with disrespect and have really hurt him.

What happened at his birthday meant the club don’t care about him. It was proof.

They can say whatever they want, “Oh we like him, but we forgot.” None of them shook his hand on his birthday.

It’s really sick.

It then appeared that City had celebrated his birthday but he hadn’t noticed as he was wearing headphones:

Simple misunderstanding, then.

Sam Allardyce: I could manage Real Madrid

While manager of Blackburn Rovers, he declared:

I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Internazionale or Real Madrid.

It wouldn’t be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time.

Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn’t be a problem.

It’s not where I’m suited to, it’s just where I’ve been for most of the time.

It’s not a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and would make my job a lot easier in winning it.

Don’t even think of suggesting that him getting the England job is in any way similar.

Nicklas Bendtner: I’m one of world’s best strikers

Without a club after being released by Wolfsburg, it’s safe to say the Dane’s career hasn’t panned out as he expected.

I want to be top scorer in the Premier League, top scorer at the World Cup and, within five years, I want to be among the best strikers in the world.

Trust me, it will happen.

To be fair, he might squeak into the top thousand.

Gerard Houllier: Robbie Fowler was eating the grass

In 1999, Fowler celebrated a goal in the Merseyside derby by kneeling down and pretending to snort the touch line.

It was clearly a lighthearted dig at Everton fans who accused him of drug-taking, but his manager refused to admit this:

It was really nothing. Rigobert [Song] said they did this at Metz and the players were doing it in training.

Robbie was just pretending to eat the grass.

Through his nose, Gerard?

Uri Geller: I moved the ball for Gary McAllister’s Euro ’96 penalty miss

Who could forget? England are leading 1-0 through Alan Shearer when Scotland are awarded a penalty.

Up steps McAllister. As he takes it, the ball rolls slightly to his left and is saved by David Seaman.

England go straight up the other end and double their lead with Paul Gascoigne’s immortal flick and volley.

But did you know that TV illusionist and Michael Jackson associate Geller was to thank?

Okay, so he’s not exactly a ‘leading football figure’ – but still…