Wednesday, March 23, 2016

German footballer dropped from national squad after poker and Nutella issues

When Wolfsburg striker Max Kruse was fined for leaving 75,000 euros (£59,000, $71,225) of poker winnings in the back of a taxi, he probably thought his week could not get any worse. How wrong he was. Now after a tumultuous seven days in which he has also been publicly admonished for his Nutella addiction and forced to build a chicken coop in dungarees, the 28-year-old has been dropped from the Germany squad for the friendly against England in Berlin on Saturday.

The sanction imposed by his Bundesliga club was 25,000 euros (£20,000, $28,500), meaning Kruse's misdemeanours have left him almost £80,000 poorer - not to mention the considerable dents to his pride and blood sugar levels. As if all that was not enough, he was photographed at a night club at the weekend where he grabbed a woman's mobile phone and tried to delete the pictures. Germany manager Joachim Low was not sympathetic, saying: "We need players who are focused on football and also understand their role as role models.

"I talked with Max about what I expect from players on and off the pitch. His actions in the last weeks were unprofessional." Kruse's trouble began in October, after he enjoyed a successful evening at the World Series Poker tournament in Berlin. Sadly, his joy was short-lived, as the cash was left trailing in Kruse's wake. The striker contacted the police but the money has never been recovered, and to add to insult to injury, he was reprimanded by Wolfsburg last week after the incident was made public.

To make matters worse, Kruse could not even seek solace in his favourite comfort food. Wolfsburg director Klaus Allofs confronted him at the club's winter training camp and told him to kick his chocolate hazelnut spread habit. "The aim is to support our players to deliver optimum performance," Allofs said. "Max needs to correct a few things." Deprived of his sugary fix, there remained one final indignity for Kruse. As part of Wolfsburg's community programme, he was sent to help out at a youth group, where he had to wear a fetching pair of green dungarees while taking part in the construction of a chicken coop.

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