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What else is happening in European football?

Published: Wednesday 8 February 2017, 10.30CET
Djibril Cissé is embarking on a new career, Marek Hamšík is closing in on Diego Maradona, and Europe is sharing in Cameroon's joy; UEFA.com guts the week.
What else is happening in European football?
Djibril Cissé (Liverpool) ©Getty Images

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Published: Wednesday 8 February 2017, 10.30CET

What else is happening in European football?

Djibril Cissé is embarking on a new career, Marek Hamšík is closing in on Diego Maradona, and Europe is sharing in Cameroon's joy; UEFA.com guts the week.

DJ Cissé
At 35, striker Djibril Cissé has opted to hang up his boots to pursue a new life as a DJ and producer, the former Liverpool man explaining: "With the same passion, I will devote myself wholeheartedly to my career as DJ." Cissé may be the first UEFA Champions League winner to go from spinning defenders to spinning tunes, though 2000 and 2002 runner-up Gaizka Mendieta DJed seriously after retiring, noting: "On the pitch you have a split-second to decide a pass; it is the same as a DJ picking the next song. It is the same feeling of tension as playing football."

Hamšík closing on Maradona
Marek Hamšík scored the first hat-trick of his career – as Napoli beat Bologna 7-1 on Saturday – to take his club tally to 109 goals, just six shy of Diego Maradona's all-time record. "I would like to beat his record, that's for sure," said the Slovakia attacking midfielder. "But Maradona was unique and I'll never be a bigger player than he was." Bologna, meanwhile, maintained their humour even in the face of such a rout ...

Big figures for Lahm and Torres
Philipp Lahm was feted for making his 500th competitive Bayern appearance on Saturday, promptly announcing his decision to bring forward his retirement date to June. Fernando Torres, meanwhile, hit milestones with both of his goals against Leganés at the weekend; the first was his 50th Liga effort at the Vicente Calderón, the second his 100th in Spanish league football.

McCormack's Villa lock-in
In England, Aston Villa forward Ross McCormack burned his bridges with manager Steve Bruce after missing training, claiming he had been trapped behind a broken security gate at his home. "It sounds far-fetched but the gate was stuck," the 30-year-old said. Bruce argued McCormack should have climbed over it to get to training, but the player – subsequently loaned to Nottingham Forest – disagreed: "The fence was taller than me and I'm not 4ft 6in. It was icy and raining."

Happy birthday, Hagi
Romania hero Gheorghe Hagi received a great 52nd birthday present on Sunday, with the club he founded in 2009 – FC Viitorul – winning 2-1 at Dinamo Bucureşti to stay top of Romania's top flight and become the first side to make the play-offs. Ominously for their rivals, Astra were the first team to reach the play-offs last season – also after 22 rounds – and went on to lift the title. As an added bonus, midfielder Neluț Roșu, 23, made his debut, Hagi proud of his latest discovery. "I'm a real hunter," he said. "I waited six years until he became a free agent and brought him into my team." 

©FC Prishtina

Faton Zejnullahu in his old and new roles

From football to futsal
One of Kosovo's most celebrated players has opted for a change of scenery before he finally hangs up his boots – swapping the football pitch for the futsal court. Hitherto a leading midfielder in the Balkan country, Faton Zejnullahu will be hoping his skills serve him well at home-town futsal outfit FC Prishtina. Nicknamed 'Zalika' (Joker) for his ability to turn things around quickly, Zejnullahu is tipped to be a hit in his new role.

Who is the nicest man in football?
Easy: Ards defender Emmett Friars. The Northern Irish league player went above and beyond after seeing a suitcase fall from the car in front of his while on holiday in Manchester – taking to social media to find the bag's owner, and extending his trip to make sure it was returned safely. "My son and I had been to the home of Manchester United, and the case's owner was a huge Manchester City fan," Friars told UEFA.com. The derby rivalry didn't matter, though; after being reunited with his case, Derek Broadhurst said Friars' kindness had reaffirmed his "belief in human nature".

Angry post-match quote of the week
Poli Timișoara boss Ionuț Popa on the goal his side shipped in a 1-1 Romanian league draw with Gaz Metan Mediaș: "We conceded a goal because we were stupid and I hate us being stupid. For this goal, one of our players fell to the turf like he was drowning. You cannot do that in the top division. I was very disappointed in them and that's why I had an hour-long meeting with the players afterwards. Of course I had a row with them; why should I have been nice?"

Slavia's African hero
Cameroon's Africa Cup of Nations success means the likes of Oostende, Heart of Midlothian, AaB, Spartak Trnava and Metz are set to welcome continental champions back into their squads – with Slavia Praha notably sharing in defender Michael Ngadeu's joy. Both the club and the fans sent messages of support to the 26-year-old throughout the tournament, and toasted his moment of glory following Cameroon's 2-1 win against Egypt on Sunday.

Last updated: 20/12/17 1.30CET

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