Early Doors is in mourning today following the sad news of the retirement of Italy and AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi.
After a World Cup, two Champions Leagues, three league titles, 156 goals in Serie A and another 70 in Europe, the man they call Super Pippo has decided to call it a day at the grand old age of 38.
To mark the solemn occasion in appropriate fashion, ED will spend the day dressed head-to-toe in black, wailing and sobbing uncontrollably, all the while clinging on for dear life to an offside flag.
While great contemporaries such as Alessandro Del Piero and Raul continue to soldier on, Inzaghi will remain at Milan and begin coaching the club's under-17 side. Reports that his training sessions will comprise 60 per cent wild gesticulation, 35 per cent celebratory explosions of emotion and just five per cent finishing are, as yet, unconfirmed.
"My time with Milan finished in the best possible way, with a goal in the final game [a late winner against Novara at the San Siro], so it was all perfect," Inzaghi told Italian media.
"Now I begin another dream, which is to be a coach and hopefully win the Champions League.
"I couldn't go to play elsewhere, as I could not just leave Milan. Today I received a proposal from England, but I can't leave Milan."
When that offer was reportedly from Watford, it's not hard to see why Inzaghi decided to stick rather than twist.
Alex Ferguson's famous comment that Inzaghi was "born in an offside position" was neither funny nor original, but it does sum the player up nicely. Or, rather, it sums up the British attitude towards him.
Had he been English, Inzaghi would have been praised as a good, old-fashioned goal-poacher, a player who could pop up with a vital goal at any moment. As it was, the sly look that came from those darting, sunken eyes has him characterised as some cunning master of the dark arts practiced in foreign leagues. Presumably those dark arts are nefarious things such as intelligent movement, spacial awareness and technique.
Inzaghi was many things to opposing teams — antagonist, nuisance, villain, anti-hero. But most of all, he was an excellent goal scorer, the like of which we are unlikely to see too many more of at the top level.
If he is half as successful in the dugout as he was on the pitch, however, we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the years to come.
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"You mean you are not aware of joeybarton.com?"
ED's eyes lit up when this was said to it yesterday lunchtime, for indeed it was not.
A quick investigation reveals that the QPR midfielder's desired transition in the eyes of the public from Biffa Bacon to Student Grant has indeed led to him finding a place online to post his cerebral splurges which just won't fit into 140 characters on Twitter.
Disappointingly, there are no lists of top 10 songs by The Smiths, while the site is also decidedly light on 'bring back national service'-style rants of the sort regularly served up in Martin Allen's Sunday Sermon.
Short missives with titles such as 'Draconian libel reform' and 'Fat tax — a good or bad idea' sit alongside contrite posts about his 12-match ban and seeking to fall back in love with football by training with Fleetwood Town.
On Barton's website you get to see a rare example of a footballer attempting to engage with wider issues outside of the bubble in which they live - and hopefully make others think a little too - all the while armed with the knowledge that sooner or later he's going to lose his cool and call someone a helmet in an ill-advised rant.
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Pre-season friendlies are always good for seeing things you wouldn't expect. The bar was set in 2001 when Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez came off the bench in a match in Singapore, replacing Ruud van Nistelrooy, and taking his place on the left wing.
That was bested yesterday during Arsenal's game against a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur, when not only did Andre Santos line up as part of a front three but a girl in the crowd was proudly displaying her home-made 'Marry Me Chamakh' sign.
But the most unexpected sight from Tuesday's friendlies was that of Gareth Bale scoring for Tottenham in a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy. That's the same Gareth Bale who withdrew from selection for Team GB's men's football squad because of injury.
Two full days before Stuart Pearce's team kick off their Olympic campaign against Senegal, Bale showed that his supposedly troublesome back and hip were in fine working order when he headed home the opening goal in Carson City.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "When I first started doing it, [my team-mates] were all caning me, saying 'What are you doing that for?' But then they see there's some benefit in doing it. You have Liverpool fans, Manchester City fans, obviously now Chelsea fans, who seem to follow me and come on there just to abuse me, but I'm not a**ed. I've said it before, but that kind of stuff is like fuel. You use that stuff so when you play their team, there's even a little bit more rivalry about the game, that type of thing." — Rio Ferdinand defends his use of Twitter amid reports that he will be charged by the FA for re-tweeting a comment about Ashley Cole.
FOREIGN VIEW: "Milan have confirmed our readiness to dissolve agreements for season tickets for the first team's home games for 2012-13, under conditions specified and inside a specific time period." - Milan have offered their fans the opportunity to have their season tickets refunded following the departures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain.
COMING UP: There is another round of pre-season friendlies involving Premier League teams. Follow live coverage of Shanghai Shenhua v Manchester United (13:00), Roma v Liverpool (23:30) and MLS All Stars v Chelsea (01:55).
Jim White will be filing his latest column, and the London Olympics gets underway today with the first round of matches in the women's football - including Great Britain v New Zealand - which you can follow here or watch live on British Eurosport.