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OFF THE POST: Burned, Selling Out, Insulted, Watch Spree ...
April 26th, 2005 3:04PM

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Burned ...
Rapid Bucharest captain Vasile Maftei has been forced to sit out a midweek Romanian league game after suffering a burn on his inner thigh while sliding on lime powder used to mark the sidelines at Brasov's field.

Selling out ...
Barcelona, which has always left the front of its azulgrana (blue-maroon) jerseys clean of advertising is set to break its tradition, according to press reports that indicate the Chinese government is willing to pay $24.83 million per season to promote the 2008 Olympics it's hosting. Qatar Airlines is also interested in advertising on Catalan club's players' chests.

Offended ...
Peru's Brazilian coach Paulo Autuori has quit after being forced to testify before Peruvian lawmakers about his $30,000-a-month salary, which is reportedly about 150 times the average minimum wage. Autuori, who was questioned as part of a congressional investigation into the Peruvian soccer federation's financial affairs, said he was offended by the "humiliating and aggressive questioning." Peru is seventh in South America's World Cup qualifying competition.

Watch Spree ...
If Coach Rafael Benitez guides Liverpool to the Champions League title - it meets Chelsea Wednesday in the semifinals - some of his bonus money has already been spoken for. He told Liverpool's official Web site:

"When I was at Valencia my wife said that we would win the league. She was right and to mark the occasion she asked me for a new watch. I bought her the watch, but then she said that we would win the UEFA Cup and that when we did she wanted another watch.

"Now she says that we will win the Champions League and that she will want an even more expensive watch. My wife has a lot of confidence and a lot of watches."


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