Nick Clegg has shocked football fans by speaking out in impassioned defence of Carlos Tevez' refusal to come on as a substitute for Manchester City during last night's Champions League game against Bayern Munich.
"Look," said Clegg in a specially-arranged press conference with disgruntled pundits and irate City supporters, "of course I completely understand that people are upset about this. But what people really need to wake up to is that sometimes things get signed - pledges to the nation, contracts, Faustian pacts - that end up hampering burning personal ambition and untrammelled egotism. And then, gentlemen, it's time to Welsh.
"When Carlos signed, he didn't dream that Aguero and Dzeko would turn up and make him look a right prat, stuck on the bench. As a Lib Dem I know how embarrassing it is to be stood on the sidelines . In these situations something as trivial as a promise to the nation shouldn't get in the way of a power grab. So good luck to the boy. He's done the right thing, and people need to understand that in these tough times, we've all got to make sacrifices. Or failing that, huge personal gains.
"These are tough times for everyone. Particularly Manchester City, who've racked up a colossal deficit by reckless overspending on a bunch of talentless, soulless mercenaries with all the devotion and loyalty of Harold Shipman. Carlos simply decided it was time to do the right thing and make a much-needed cut to this flabby, expensive team - by removing himself from the equation.
"In tough footballing times, cuts have to be made, and I'd like to see more players reneging on their contracts and cutting their clubs to more manageable sides of 4 or 5 players, who will be better prepared to weather the tough fixtures ahead."
Ed Miliband declined to comment on the Tevez fiasco but wished to emphasise that he was his own man.