16 Players Who Made Us Laugh in 2011
This year has been a vintage for football, with such events as Manchester United winning a record 19th English league title and Barcelona winning the Champions League in the most glorious style.
But it has also been a grand one for those of us who enjoy the lighter side of the game. Plenty of Premier League have given us reason to smile, either through their crazy antics, hapless performances on the pitch or amusing appearances in public.
Here are 20 players who made us laugh in 2011.
Ever since getting sent off on his full league debut for Arsenal earlier in the season, Frimpong has been great value.
On Twitter the 19-year-old responded to Jack Wilshere's kind words for Samir Nasri upon the Frenchman's departure with: "Pfft come on Jack."
When Frimpong and Nasri's paths crossed recently at the Emirates, Frimpong renewed hostilities both on the pitch and in the tunnel afterwards, much to the delight of Arsenal fans and the amusement of everyone else.
Frimpong is by no means the only entertaining member of the Arsenal squad. Andrei Arshavin is also always good for a laugh too.
The Russian may have spent a large part of the year frustrating supporters for his erratic displays, but off the pitch his is pure gold.
Aside from the usual array of comical facial expressions and insane Q&As on his personal website, the crowning glory was the amazing picture of the 5'8" forward sitting next to 7'2" boxer Nikolai Valuev.
The Brazilian full-back was one of Arsene Wenger's signings late in the transfer window made in the hope of shoring up a leaky defence.
However, Santos has so far looked as though he has never played in defence before in his life, often looking like a lost labrador opponents attack down his side.
His attacking instincts are considerable, though, but even when he scores he still manages to embarrass himself with a dance routine straight from the 'Dad at a wedding' school.
Poor old Emile Heskey. The Aston Villa man recently joined the esteemed club of players to have made 500 Premier League appearances and has made more than 60 appearances for his country, but he is still regularly the butt of jokes.
A big centre-forward, Heskey's game has never been about goals. which is probably just as well considering his scoring record in recent years.
In the recent 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United Heskey gave his detractors plenty of ammunition when he picked up the ball, turned for goal and swiped a shot so badly that it swerved away to the left and out for a throw-in.
It is fair to say that the Blackburn midfielder has never raised concerns from worried onlookers that he looks short of a good meal.
So when the starring role in an advert for Rovers' owners Venkys came up, it was perhaps a surprise that he was the one chosen.
Still, when Morten Gamst Pedersen and Jason Roberts both pluck 'tasty' chicken wings out of their teammates hands in the commercial, his Oscar-winning performance was enough to give us all a good laugh.
The Hungarian goalkeeper made his first league start of the season against Chelsea back in October. Judging by his performance that day, it might be his last for a while.
Bogdan's hapless showing included spilling Daniel Sturridge's shot into his own net before directing another effort right into the path of Frank Lampard.
Chelsea won 5-1 and Bolton boss Owen Coyle was grateful to see Jussi Jasskelainen fit again for the next game.
Bolton's captain caused a bit of a fuss on Twitter a couple of months back, and all over a Pop Tart.
The veteran striker took to the social networking site to ask for advice after he kept burning his tasty sweet snack (Strawberry Sensation flavour, since you ask).
The response from his followers ranged from the helpful to the teasing (mostly the latter), but Davies took it all in good humour and gave everyone a smile.
Oh, Fernando. It wasn't meant to be this way. The Spain striker's £50 million move to Chelsea in January was supposed to resurrect the career of the man who was once among the most feared forwards in football.
It didn't quite work out that way. Five goals in 37 appearances is enough to so many of his and his team's detractors revel in schadenfreude.
And as for that terrible missed open goal at Old Trafford, that's a memory to keep many a Manchester United fan happy for a long time to come.
Torres's fellow January arrival at Stamford Bridge has had his fair share of calamity too.
After impressing early on in his Chelsea career with goals against both Manchester clubs, the Brazilian has since become something of a liability.
The big-haired defender has found himself caught with his pants down on several occasions this season as he struggled with Andre Villas-Boas's new defensive blueprint, and his desperate floundering and fouling has left often left him with egg on his face and viewers everywhere with split sides.
Luiz's captain and defensive partner Terry has fared little better with the Blues' new manager's defensive tactics.
'Mr Chelsea' brought a great deal of cheer to all supporters not affiliated with the Blues when he slipped on his backside as Arsenal's Robin van Persie raced through to score in that crazy 5-3 win for the Gunners.
If that wasn't enough, then surely the brazen way in which England's captain stood holding the ball aloft at throw-in against Wolves until the referee had no choice but to book him, thereby making him suspended for an upcoming Carling Cup game, is enough to make you laugh.
At the start of 2011, Barton seemed to be the most violent and volatile English midfielder in the country.
But a few Morrissey lyrics and Nietzsche quotes later he is the darling of the media.
There have been few more entertaining things in football this year than Barton trying to project his student politics on to his online followers.
Taarabt re-entered the Premier League with a point to prove. He was supposed to show exactly why he was rejected from Tottenham and why he played to win Queens Park Rangers promotion back to the top flight.
Instead he showed why his petulance made him such a marginal player in the first place, and his half-time departure for the bus stop led to fans picturing out in public when he should have been playing a match.
Oh, Mario, who we love you. Let us count the ways:
After winning the FA Cup in May, you stated in a live on-pitch interview: "I've had a s*** season. Can I say that?"
Every goal celebration is marked with a wonderfully nonchalant shrug, once augmented by revealing a t-shirt asking 'Why Always Me?'
Said t-shirt was in response to you and your friends setting fire to your house after letting off fireworks out of your bathroom window.
Recently, you were seen out in an Indian restaurant in Manchester having a play sword fight with rolling pins somehow obtained from the kitchen.
There are surely more incidents in 2011, but that will do for starters.
Balotelli may be the chief amuser in the Manchester City squad, but he is by no means the only member of Roberto Mancini's squad who has made us laugh.
For all his previous attempts to engineer a move away from the club, Tevez's refusal to come off the bench against Bayern Munich was the most brazen tactic yet employed in order to gain his oft-stated desire to move closer to his family.
Now exiled from the squad and back in Argentina, the striker regularly dispatches missives via his agent hilariously denying his insurrection. That is laughable in itself.
An amusing offshoot of that incident on the bench at the Allianz Arena was Kolarov's reaction to Tevez's 'strike' during that match.
After Tevez refused to come on to help his team and club staff were unable to talk any sense into him, the Serbian left-back gave his own withering critique on the matter.
According to lip readers employed by a British newspaper, Kolarov turned to Tevez and said: "You're an idiot."
Finally at the Etihad Stadium this year there was the curious case of Kolo Toure.
When the shocking news that the Ivory Coast centre-back had failed a dope test, all kinds of worrying questions were raised. How could such a top player succumb to the temptation to use banned substances? Were City aware of his cheating? How many other players in the Premier League were also indulging in the use of stimulants?
Then the reason for Toure's failure was revealed: he had been taking his wife's slimming pills.