Way to go, Ashley Cole. It's not like his team needed any further shenanigans of this sort. English Premier League club Chelsea was expected to challenge for the championship, as it often does, but the club currently sits in fifth place. Owner Roman Abramovich is facing a £2 billion lawsuit from a fellow Russian oligarch. Star player Didier Drogba is out with malaria. Fernando Torres, signed to a record £50 million contract in January, has been slow to make an impact. Now defender Ashley Cole has gone and shot a team intern.
According to The Guardian, the incident occurred last Sunday at the team's training facility in Cobham. Cole, England's 2010 player of the year, was "larking about" with a .22 caliber air rifle when the gun went off and a pellet hit Tom Cowan, a 21-year-old sports science student, in the side. Cowan's wounds were treated by the team's medical staff.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti made it clear Sunday that anyone expecting the club to suspend Cole for tomorrow's match against Manchester United would be disappointed. "No one can say we're out of control," a defiant Ancelotti told reporters yesterday. "It's not true that there's a lack of discipline here. You can judge the players on the pitch, and they show fair play, respect for the referees, respect for the fans. This is what we have to judge, not other things."
In other words, pay no attention to the man with the high-powered pop gun. No word yet on why, exactly, the defender was "larking about" with the air rifle on training grounds to begin with. Even if Chelsea thinks this is about par for the course, the English national team at least, which also employs Cole, might consider taking some vests when they head down to Brazil.