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Klopp's cakes, Allen's tape and Batman Fury - Conte joins ranks of weird press conferences

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte received an unusual gift on Thursday and it was not the first time a news conference has taken a bizarre turn.

NEWS
News 16 Feb 2018, 01:02 IST
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SeppBlatter-Cropped
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter

Antonio Conte's attempts to discuss Chelsea's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Hull City went awry on Thursday when an Italian television prankster interrupted his news conference.

Stefano Corti, a presenter from satirical show Le Iene, conned Jose Mourinho into signing a Manchester United shirt with Conte's name on the back and crashed the briefing at Chelsea's Cobham training ground brandishing the dubious gift.

It marked a bizarre attempt at mediation in the simmering feud between Conte and Mourinho, who face each other when United host Chelsea in the Premier League next weekend, while also standing as the latest memorable instance of a press conference featuring a major sporting figure taking an unusual turn.

Here, we look at some other times when the standard question-and-answers format went off-piste.

Jurgen, what's your favourite cake?

Jurgen Klopp was understandably a picture of beaming satisfaction after Liverpool beat Manchester City 4-3 in an Anfield thriller last month, dishing out a first top-flight defeat of the season to the Premier League leaders in memorable fashion.

One man who snuck into Klopp's post-match conference hungry for a slice of the action, and that did not mean discussing the fabulous attacking talents of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

"Jurgen, what's your favourite cake?" chirped an unfamiliar voice towards the back of the room.

"That's an interesting question," Klopp giggled, not missing a beat. "Strawberry cake."

The intrepid inquisitor was seemingly unsatisfied by this response and, as he reeled off a list of alternative sweet treats, his half-baked pitch for the spotlight quickly fell flat.

Cash for questions

Very much an incident from the same playbook Corti was using, British comedian Lee Nelson caused a stir in 2015 when he interrupted a briefing by Sepp Blatter in Zurich.

"Sepp this is for North Korea 2026, thank you very much," said Nelson as he placed a wedge of dollar bills on the now-disgraced FIFA president's desk.

Blatter anxiously requested "my security", Nelson tossed the remaining banknotes up in the air as he was led away and they cascaded over the official in a picture that came to speak a thousand words. 

Biff, bang, pow in the heavyweight division

No sport seems quite as susceptible to press conference nonsense than boxing and former unified world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is prolific when it comes to bizarre promotional tactics.

Fury's finest hour out of the ring came before his finest hour inside it, when he dethroned the long-reigning Wladimir Klitschko with a masterful display in November 2015.

During the pre-fight press tour, Fury arrived late for an engagement with Klitschko dressed as Batman. He proceeded to vault the table and wrestle with the comic book superhero's arch enemy The Joker.

Fury's cousin and fellow heavyweight contender Hughie Fury played the role of the bad guy in this family production.

After flooring a willing Hughie, Tyson turned to an impassive Klitschko and said: "You next. This was a fool, just like you are. Look at him. You'll be on your back like that when you face me, you old idiot."

Allen tapes over himself

Mark Allen ended his long wait for a major title at the Masters last month but it was his off-the-table antics that saw him make the headlines in 2011.

The Northern Irishman accused World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn of adopting a "f*** the players" attitude during that year's UK Championship. Allen was censured by the governing body over the outburst and arrived for his next press conference with black tape over his mouth.

To the relief of the reporters in attendance, the 'Pistol' did eventually remove the tape to speak and Allen went on to reach the final, losing to Judd Trump. 

Gronk offers to help Trump White House

When New England Patriots visited the White House to mark their 2017 Super Bowl victory, tight end Rob Gronkowski decided to offer some help to a man struggling with his job.

The much-maligned and since-departed press secretary for President Trump, Sean Spicer, was in the midst of one his inimitable briefings when Gronkowski wandered in through the side door.

"Sean, you need some help?" Gronkowski offered.

"I think I got this," Spicer replied before conceding, "That was cool," after the Patriots star left the room. It was probably the high point of his turbulent six-month tenure.

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