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Confederations Cup diary: Valderrama pt 2, sneaky Sanchez and that clown in goal

AlexisSanchez - cropped
Chile forward Alexis Sanchez
Modified 30 Jun 2017, 22:05 IST

Alexis Sanchez was in the thick of things on Friday at the Confederations Cup, bustling about with his usual energy during training after causing a stir with some cryptic transfer chat.

The Chile star was not the only South American footballing icon on our radar as the remaining Omnisport contingent in Russia left Sochi for St Petersburg and swiftly tried to locate an extra layer of clothing.

We also came across an unlikely goalkeeper and reflected on a committed performance of utter disgruntlement.


Already very much established as a friend of Omnisport having crossed paths with our own Joe Wright in Kazan at the start of the tournament, Colombia great Carlos Valderrama bumped into one of our Sochi team in the airport before we all headed north for the final.

The 55-year-old was in the middle of a spot of clothes shopping and appeared to be eyeing a shirt with Vladimir Putin's face on it with interest.

Although his professional playing days are well behind him, it remains to be seen whether Valderrama takes up the offer to represent the Omnisporting Gijon five-a-side team anytime soon.



Our reporters strewn across Russia have mentioned before how they've been very well fed, with an array of culinary delights sent their way.

Unfortunately, the complimentary in-flight sandwich on the Ural Airlines airbus from Sochi to St Petersburg did not fall into this category.

"It's chicken ham," our flight attendant cheerily informed us of the sorry looking filling. Once bitten, forever left in the packet.


Chile captain Claudio Bravo provided one of the stories of the tournament when his hat-trick of penalty saves handed La Roja a 3-0 shoot-out victory over Portugal in the Kazan semi-final.

It was a redemption tale of sorts given the torrid debut season at Manchester City endured by the ex-Barcelona man, his regular errors bringing plenty of negative press coverage, with one UK tabloid dubbing him "Clownio".

This is obviously a terribly disrespectful nickname to give to such a decorated performer but, if you were wondering what an actual clown might look like in goal, allow us to direct you to the Ural Airlines in-flight magazine.

In among an interview with Sting and a feature on the health benefits of celery was an advertisement for McDonald's latest initiative in Russia, featuring Ronald McDonald himself between the posts.

There's no way of knowing how adept a gloveman big Ron is, but even the most ice-cool striker would surely be unsettled by a heavily made-up man with a shock of bright red hair bearing down on him.


Thursday's semi-final in Sochi was an ordeal for Mexican fans and it eventually became all too much for one of their reporters in the press box.

One media representative in Russia to follow El Tri regularly thumped his desk during the first-half after Leon Goretzka's quickfire early brace put Germany in the ascendancy.

However, a gentleman pairing his FIFA accreditation with a Mexico replica shirt upped the ante in the moments following Timo Werner's crucial third in the 4-1 win.

Up he sprung from his chair and launched a prolonged tirade towards the pitch. Even with limited Spanish, it was easy to pick up this was not helpful advice for head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. A quite remarkable display.


The gaggle of journalists aboard the morning flight from Sochi struck up a collective grumble after landing in St Petersburg when it became known Alexis Sanchez staged a news conference while in mid-air.

While the Arsenal star has not reached Cristiano Ronaldo levels of elusiveness when it comes to press obligations at the Confederations Cup, he has been tricky to pin down on the thorny issue of his club future.

He was back in plain sight at Chile's evening training session on Friday evening, braving a howling wind and the St Petersburg drizzle. This is definitely a long way from Sochi.

Published 30 Jun 2017, 22:05 IST
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