Champions League football is the holy grail of the modern game. Well, a holy grail that comes around every year and, far from being elusive, is flogged by the media to within an inch of its corporate logo-emblazoned life.
But it is what every player wants. It is the reason why Gareth Barry has demanded to go from captain of the sixth-best team in the country to squad player at the fourth-best team in the country.
Never mind that angry hordes will chase him out of Birmingham next time he goes to see X-Factor Live at the National Indoor Arena. It's all about Champions League football.
Which is precisely what awaits Brazil legend Romario if he comes out of retirement to join San Marino champions S.S. Murata.
Romario recently ended a professional career in which he scored over 1,000 goals. Admittedly, many of those strikes came in friendlies, testimonials, charity matches against Boris Johnson, and kickabouts in the garden with his kids.
He retired in April after a positive dope test that he successfully blamed on a hair replacement treatment.
Having had his ban overturned, Romario decided to fade into pudgy, thinning-haired obscurity, but could return to action at Murata alongside countryman Aldair, who already makes his living in the country that took all of eight seconds to score against England in 1993.
"The chances of seeing Romario in our jersey are around 70 percent," said Murata's sporting director Denis Casadei.
Rather more bizarrely, Murata also want to sign up seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher, who is currently at a bit of a loose end falling off motorcycles in the German Superbike championship.
"Schumacher is a lot more difficult. To say the opposite would suggest we only wanted publicity," Casadei added.
Publicity stunt? Perish the thought. ED hasn't seen anything this brazen since a fifty-something Socrates turned out for Garforth Town.
It emerged that three decades on the Lambert and Butlers had taken such a toll that Socrates was no longer a match for the Northern Counties East League.
Of course, the San Marinese are famed for their outlandish statements. For pity's sake, their country is called The Most Serene Republic of San Marino.
Most serene? What, more than Vanuatu? Or the Seychelles? Or Nauru? Early Doors very much doubts it.
Still, Murata are in the Champions League and Tottenham are not, which might be enough to persuade Dimitar Berbatov to up sticks for the landlocked microstate with the smallest population of any country in the Council of Europe and third highest GDP per capita in the world (thanks, Wikipedia).
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As speculation rages that Carlos Queiroz will get the vacant Portugal job (well OK, not 'rages'. 'Burbles' maybe), puckish media types have started drawing names out of a hat and linking them with Manchester United's assistant manager post.
Will it be Eric Cantona? Brian McClair? Roberto Martinez? Simon Davey? It doesn't matter - in fact, United might as well auction the job on eBay for all the difference it will make.
The number two job at Old Trafford entitles its owner to a share of the credit for any success that comes the club's way, plus at least one decent-sized managerial post that leaves you hopelessly out of your depth.
When Brian Kidd left United in 1998 many foretold doom. United won the Treble six months later, while Kidd won a one-way ticket out of Blackburn after getting them relegated.
Steve McClaren's departure for Middlesbrough provoked similar pessimism, and we all know how that one ended.
Queiroz has already left United once, for a season at Real Madrid whose success can best be judged by the fact that nobody offered him a proper job and he happily returned to his duties cleaning Cristiano Ronaldo's boots and earrings.
The point is this: assistant managers don't make any difference. At all. They are backroom staff for a reason - because their main functions are to lay out cones at training, indulge in light-hearted banter and give the gaffer somebody to shout at.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If I was Manchester United I'd be happy and proud to be able to negotiate such a transfer for one of my players. Everything would be a lot easier if United realised that they could pull off the transfer of the century," Ramon Calderon on Cristiano Ronaldo. Again. He added: "I don't think you can keep somebody in a place they don't want to be." Tell that to Nelson Mandela.
FOREIGN VIEW: Thirteen people were injured in Pamplona's first bull run of the year after the animals ploughed into a crowd of spectators.
The Spanish Red Cross said the wounded were treated for head and rib injuries after falling or being trampled. None of the patients - five Spaniards and tourists from Britain, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Romania and South Korea - had been gored. A 37-year-old Spaniard suffered fractured ribs and a ruptured spleen.
"There were a few tense moments, but I think everything went quite well," said Aritz Lopez, a 29-year-old runner from Bilbao.
TALKING POINT: claire881 on the subject of lank-haired 90s rockers Soundgarden: "Chris Cornell touched my hand at a gig and I nearly died!" Why, did he have leprosy?
daveloweuk weighs in with the following scoop: "Real Madrid are being linked with a move for Ronaldo."
jcpotvin on the Bin Laden to Newcastle rumour: "Only Newcastle could improve through a possible terrorist takeover - not even Crystal Palace can say that." (Note: They're not terrorists - just Osama)
Today - UEFA are considering a name change for the much-maligned UEFA Cup. Any suggestions?
COMING UP: Still no sign of football, so follow the action from ATP Bastad which, dogbiscuit2001 informs us, is pronounced 'Bow-stad' and has a café next to centre court.