Rome - Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi's physical assault of one of
his own players sparked outrage on Thursday, and the club announced that
club manager Vincenzo Guerini will take over the team for the final two
matches of the season.
Video: Manager attacks his own player
was fired for slapping Adem Ljajic in the face after the Serbian
forward protested his first-half substitution Wednesday during a 2-2
draw with Novara. The coach then had to be pulled away as it appeared he
was lining up a punch.
Meanwhile, the Serie A banned Rossi for three months - even though he has no club now. Rossi was not expelled from the match.
was a deplorable act, but it's the consequence of the environment,"
former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi told Tgcom24. "The football system
lives on excess and when everything is excessive reactions become that
"We're living in complete abnormality and we don't even
realise it," Sacchi added. "Football here is social survival and you've
got to win at any cost, even with cunningness and deception. And if you
live in a powderbox, eventually it explodes."
Fiorentina also announced on Thursday that they have started disciplinary procedures against the 20-year-old Ljajic.
hard-core "ultra" fans applauded Rossi after the incident and insulted
Ljajic with racist chants, resulting in Fiorentina being fined $20 000
by the league.
A veteran coach who had previously led Lecce,
Atalanta, Lazio and Palermo, the 51-year-old Rossi replaced the fired
Sinisa Mihajlovic in November but was unable to turn the Tuscan club's
season around. Fiorentina are tied for 14th place with two rounds
remaining in Serie A.
"Fiorentina are struggling, they were
losing, the tension was really high, but what happened is unacceptable,"
said veteran coach Carlo Mazzone. "A manager cannot and should not put
his hands on one of his players. A young kid probably overreacted, but
at 20 that happens. Anyhow, I'm shocked because Rossi is an expert coach
and his behaviour until now has been exceptional."
59-year-old Guerini has formerly coached Fiorentina's youth squad. He's
also a former Fiorentina player whose career was cut short by an auto
accident at 22.
It is the 19th coaching change in the 20-team
Italian league this season. The previous Serie A record for changes was
15 in 1951-52. Ten clubs have changed managers at least once, with
Cagliari leading the way with three firings.
"It's the most
painful decision of my career," Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle
said. "Rossi was provoked but nothing justifies a reaction like that.
It's a decision I had to make for his well-being. The images speak
Neither Rossi nor Ljajic have spoken about the incident yet, and police said that no criminal report had been filed.
Rossi made a mistake. He gave in, and I don't justify it, but I think
players need to be educated," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani
said. "Rossi's reaction was out of proportion, but players need to
accept a manager's choices.
"They can't mock him, use curse words
and applaud sarcastically when they're substituted," Galliani added.
"You've got to understand that there's a huge amount of emotional stress
on the pitch and sometimes you make mistakes."
The last time a
similar incident occurred in Italy came in the 1983-84 season, when
Pescara coach Tom Rosati slapped his center forward, Vittorio Cozzella.
That incident was cleared up in the changing room immediately after the
match, and both coach and player returned the next week with Cozzella
"It helped me grow up," said Cozzella, now the sporting director of third-division club Ternana.
Cozzella told the ANSA news agency that the decision to fire Rossi was excessive.
"If you fire the manager then you've also got to get rid of the player who provoked the reaction," he said.