Dirty Tackle - World Soccer

This is a feature that appears whenever the need arises to highlight and ridicule a particularly stupid transfer rumor, whether based in truth or not.

With the European season coming to an end and the prospect of a boring couple of months without referee controversies or Fergie getting angry about them becoming all too real, it's time for journalists to start planting the seeds of mind-numbing transfer stories that will haunt us throughout the summer. And in the interest of not wasting any time with piddly rumors of second rate players being sold for less than record sums, The Mirror is already big timing it by putting "RONALDO TO CITY" on their frontpage and linking it to an exclusive story under a headline of "Man City plan world-record bid for Ronaldo."

So how much of the 369-word exclusive story actually says anything about the possibility of a move to Man City? Exactly this much:

Manchester City are ready to smash the world transfer record to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to the Premier League.

Roberto Mancini's men joined European football's elite last week by qualifying for the Champions League for the first time.

Now City want the Portuguese superstar to spearhead their bid to win the trophy next season.

That's it. Not even a reference to an anonymous "source" or a guesstimate on what that world record bid will be.

Still, it's Man City, so you can't say it's impossible. Even though Ronaldo said a few months ago how much he still loves Man United and wants to fulfill his six-year contract with Real Madrid. Plus, Man City said just this week that they will curtail their spending. But, yeah, other than that it's not impossible.

This time last year The Mirror ran an exclusive story about Lionel Messi going to Real Madrid for a world record fee. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what they come up with next May.

Photo: Reuters; Previous most ridiculous rumors: Drogba to Man City, Kaka to Juve, P. Diddy buying Crystal Palace, and Rafa Benitez to Juve by a year ago

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