AFP's top offbeat stories of 2013
French Sports and Youth Minister Valerie Fourneyron addresses the media on November 14, 2013 in Johannesburg
I said Ronaldo, I meant Ronaldo
- France's Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron was left red-faced when confusing Ronaldo, the legendary Brazilian striker and former World Cup winner, with his Portuguese namesake, Real Madrid star Cristiano.
Fourneyron, speaking at a reception at the Brazilian Embassy in Paris, compounded her error when referring in a speech to next year's World Cup as "the 2016 World Cup...and its formidable ambassador, Cristiano Ronaldo".
This provoked smiles all round, with Fourneyron later posting on her twitter page: "Not much good with first names! A little bit tired at the Brazilian embassy tonight. #Ronaldo was the 1st to laugh.."
Ronaldo, one of the 2014 World Cup's ambassadors, played for Brazil in 98 international matches, scoring 62 goals, and was part of the side that won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing for Portugal at next year's finals.
Here's one of Jose and me
- A starstruck Chelsea supporter had an unexpected surprise during his side's 4-1 win over Cardiff when he found himself sitting beside manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho was sent to the Stamford Bridge stands by the referee and clambered into a vacant seat next to Chelsea fan Sean Buxton.
Buxton quickly uploaded a picture of himself and Mourinho on his Twitter account, @Sean_Buxtonzz, alongside the caption: "OMG (oh my God) morinho (sic) is sitting next to me!!!!!"
He later added: "He's taking the piss with the leg room."
Don't believe the type
- The southern hemisphere Rugby Championship decider between South Africa and New Zealand in Johannesburg delivered a pulsating match, and a "typing error" that temporarily halted it.
When All Blacks reserve hooker Dane Coles came on during the second half for Andrew Hore, Welsh referee Nigel Owens spotted that he was not on the team sheet.
New Zealand manager Darren Shand rushed on to the Ellis Park pitch in Johannesburg and told the Welsh match official that a "typing error" was to blame.
Although veteran Keven Mealamu was rested for the match, his name was on the team sheet as reserve hooker.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it was a human error: "It is a game of rugby -- it is not a court session, is it?"
Cheeky volley's a 'bum-dinger'
- David Hovorka, of the Sparta Prague reserve team, scored with a backside volley in a Czech third division match.
"I jumped for a volley kick, but I twisted my body a bit too far around, and so I used my bottom," the 20-year-old defender said.
"I just burst out laughing. It's true I'd never scored a goal like that before!"
Dubbed "Bum-tastic" by amused fans, the video is viewable at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz9vP7hx978
No nonsense refereeing
- Saad Al Fadhli meted out yellow cards, red cards as well as a punch and a kick after awarding a controversial penalty in a Kuwaiti league game.
Al Fadhli also sent off members of the Al Naser coaching staff in a spectacular meltdown.
Take that! Mad Max gets girl-slapped
- Former Formula One driver Max Papis claims he was left with a broken jaw after being slapped by the girlfriend of a rival driver following a NASCAR race in Canada.
The 43-year-old Italian was confronted in the paddock by the woman, identified by some media as Kelly Heaphy, the partner of fellow driver Mike Skeen, after the two men had clashed on the final lap of the race at Bowmanville, Ontario.
"That deal was only between me and #6 driver we could have solved it alone ...but I guess he needed some ...help !!!!," tweeted Papis.
He later added: "And by the way yes my jaw was dislocated and had to go to Get fixed but NO COMPLAIN here just FYI."
Video can be seen on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL5iauGD6O8
Couple score after 0-0 draw
- A couple of amorous Danish fans were pictured having sex on the football pitch where their team had just played out a tedious 0-0 draw.
The two fans were spotted under floodlights in the pitch's centre circle by security staff at Broendby's Copenhagen ground, following a scoreless match against rival Randers. Subsequently, a picture of the fans was posted on Twitter.
"I do not know who posted the pic," Broendby IF spokesman Mikkel Davidsen told AFP.
"Great match, but disappointed over the 0-0 and many missed chances. But the couple ...in the centre circle helps the mood," Davidsen wrote on Twitter.
Could he win it? Kubot can-can
- Lukasz Kubot did not win the Wimbledon title but he took the top prize for the tournament's wackiest victory celebration by dancing the can-can.
The 31-year-old Pole, who lost to compatriot Jerzy Janowicz in the quarter-finals, performed his version of the high-kicking dance every time he won a match at the All England Club.
"It's something that came up a couple of years ago. My team told me, my coaches, that every time I'm gonna play on the big courts, the big tournaments, big events, I should do the can-can after win," he explained.
"It's one of our exercise when we are practicing. The coaches like it when I put my legs very high. So it stays until now."
Youzhny at Roland Garros breaking point
- Volatile Russian Mikhail Youzhny smashed the same racquet nine times, sending splinters spiralling into the air and ball boys running for cover in a stunning French Open meltdown.
Youzhny boiled over after he slipped a set and 3-0 down to Tommy Haas in the last-16 at Roland Garros with the random act of violence becoming an instant YouTube hit.
"You try and do all you can to help yourself. I tried it this way, but it doesn't help really," said 29-year-old Youzhny, who slumped to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 defeat to Haas on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Youzhny's racquet-smashing at the French Open can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrgKTYIvWCo&feature=youtu.be
Herr Cut! Dortmund's Klopp admits to transplant
- Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp laughed off his decision to undergo a hair transplant.
"Yes, it's true. I underwent a hair transplant. I think the results are really cool, don't you?" said Klopp.
Hartlepool win thanks to Hartley, Poole
- English football team Hartlepool defeated Notts County 2-1 in a third division game with their scorers aptly named Hartley and Poole.
Skipper Peter Hartley was the match-winner when he headed home in the 69th minute at Victoria Park after James Poole had put the team ahead in the fifth minute.