If you thought Russian hockey players were strange, they’ve got nothing on their soccer counterparts. Within days of moving to London side Arsenal for a club-record $23 million, the British tabloid NEWS OF THE WORLD combed through just about every written or spoken word the Russian star Andrey Arshavin has produced. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s just about the strangest character to set foot on a pitch since, well, since the last time anyone played soccer.
Not only does Arshavin design a popular women’s clothing line — he allegedly studied sewing when he was in school because of a better male-to-female ratio — he also dreams that he’s a horse in a field entirely enshrouded by guinea pigs.
Other notable Arshavin facts: When he was a kid he broke free of four dentists while another one tried to pull out a tooth, leading to his being restrained by having a fat man sit on him, and he stopped visiting his grandparents because he was constantly being bitten by dogs.
(A mullet and a hot girlfriend. We need him to stay relevant for photos alone.)
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Anyone who says covering European soccer is hard is entirely too lazy. That sport serves you up a layup every single day. Need proof? Guess where intrepid NOTW investigatie journalists found the information about Arshavin’s dream sequences and past fears: His autobiography, which is curiously titled “555 Questions and Answers on Women, Money, Politics, Football”. Yup, there’s no and before the final noun there. He’s a businessman, there’s no room for extra words.
“I used to go to my grandparents’ village near Tver. I helped milk cows and gather mushrooms but I was bitten by the dogs there. However, my saddest memory is when I had a toothache. I was sent to a clinic to have it pulled out. But I was held down by four doctors and the fifth came with the tongs! I remember this as if it has happened yesterday. I managed to escape but then another, more powerful man came. After that I didn’t visit a dentist for 20 years.”
It’s amazing, even young, hip Russians can sound like old men when they’re translated roughly into English. That’s got to be some kind of a superpower.
As for the guinea-pig startled horse, well, there’s no accounting for that. Maybe it’s Arshavin’s way of wishing he hadn’t come to London in the first place, where his longtime girlfriend and mother of his children has already accused Londoners of being dirty and scruffy.
Or maybe not. He’s barely been in an English speaking language a week. Let’s hope he keeps getting more accustomed and we start seeing quotes in the London tabloids. That could get really ridiculous, really fast.