The wife of Francesco Totti has openly criticised AS Roma manager Luciano Spalletti for the unfair treatment he has dished out to the legendary forward.
Ilary Blasi watched her husband score his 250th Serie A goal for the Rome-based outfit against Torino on Sunday in a match that they would go on to lose 3-1.
Despite the defeat, Totti's goal was a poignant moment as he prepares to celebrate his 40th birthday on Tuesday. Indeed, there was doubt as to whether he would ever reach the landmark when he was dropped by Spalletti in February after calling for more respect and playing time in an interview.
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Spalletti later insisted he had made the decision to "maintain order" in the squad and gave Totti the chance to reinstate himself before the end of the campaign. While tensions appear to have died down within the squad, Blasi is still angry.
In a widespread interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, the television presenter went as far as calling Spalletti "a little man" and said the coach had failed to "behave on a human level" when dealing with the disagreement.
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"Spalletti acted like a small man. That's the truth. Period."
'Kicked out of his own house'
"I do not know anything about football, but the whole situation was surreal. It was like science fiction, I could not believe it. He was kicked out of his own house. You do not do something like this. But the fans did not abandon him," she told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Footballing decisions are always debatable, but I will not talk about that. I do have something to say on a human level, though, about the person. I am not criticising sporting decisions, I am criticising human behaviour. Spalletti acted like a small man. That's the truth. Period.
"Francesco only asked for respect in the interview that caused all this and he was right. He was not being respected at the time. Francesco is not a controversial person.
"There is a way to behave when a guy is going through a difficult period. Spalletti could have treated him a bit more delicate. He did not know how to behave on a human level. I judge people on this, so he gets a very low rating there."
One more year
Totti is widely regarded as one of the most loyal men in sport after spending his entire professional career with Roma and was rewarded with a one-year contract in the summer. He has since been reestablished in the first-team, playing five times since the start of the campaign.
He now has over 600 appearances to his name and needs 25 more goals to overhaul Silvio Piola as the all-time Serie A top scorer. He may need more than one more year to reach it, however.