Adel Taarabt misses Morocco call-up because he wouldn’t answer his phone

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Every once in a while one of these bizarre stories comes through where technology hinders the advancement of the global game.

The story of Pajtim Kasami and the Malfunctioning Fax Machine comes to mind, where the Fulham player’s proposed transfer to Serie A’s Pescara was scuppered due to a paperwork transfer failure.

This time around, the player is somewhat to blame, and the name isn’t all that surprising.

Badou Ezzaki, manager of the Moroccan national team, told reporters that AC Milan winger Adel Taarabt was not included in his country’s squad for a trio of late-May friendlies because he wouldn’t pick up his phone.

“How can I call up a player who doesn’t respond to the phone calls or messages that we send?” Ezzaki asked.

If I told you this happened without naming the player, you’d likely have included Taarabt as one of your three guesses.  The 24-year-old has had a history of personality issues, including – but not limited to – saying he should have signed for Arsenal when he was on Spurs, taking former manager Neil Warnock on an unsuccessful wild goose chase to Morocco, and being called a “fruitcake” by Harry Redknapp.

So it should be no surprise that Taarabt’s me-first attitude has struck yet again, this time leaving his national team out to dry.

Credit to Ezzaki, however, for brushing the incident under the rug and giving credit to his other players. “You [the media] have given too much importance to this situation because a national team doesn’t consist of just one player,” Ezzaki insisted. “Our project is one that consists of several players that want to engage and contribute to the team.”

Taarabt has shown again and again why his talent on the field is unquestionable, but when a player like Taarabt decides when and where he wishes to try and when he wishes to not, it’s more than frustrating for any manager, and Ezzaki is just the latest in a long line to become fed up with Taarabt.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC
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Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).