Five memorable substitution spats

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Football News

Chelsea target Hulk showed the world his displeasure at being substituted by his manager Luciano Spalletti in Zenit St Petersburg's Champions League group game against AC Milan at San Siro on Tuesday night.

The Brazilian smashed the Russian club’s transfer record when he moved there in a deal worth £64million from Portuguese club FC Porto, but he has threatened to leave in January unless Spalletti can make things better for him.

Hulk may be disappointed to find out that, were he to get his wish and a move away, he would be stuck in the stands until the summer, as FIFA rules stipulate a player cannot play for more than two clubs in a season.

However, it was an amusing spat (which you can watch above), as the 26-year-old stormed into his seat gesturing to his boss like a scolded child and the Italian coach then giving him a less than convincing finger wag as reprimand.

It is not the first time a player has reacted badly to being withdrawn in a game – probably not the last either – and it got GMF thinking about some more memorable strops from disgruntled stars.

They have not just about being the man getting taken off, players are prone to getting stroppy with all sorts substitution situations.

Here are a choice few GMF mustered up…

Carlos Tevez, Manchester City v Bayern Munich

Roberto Mancini claimed at the time that Tevez would never play for the Citizens again and the Argentine then spent a few months in exile, which apparently consists of playing plenty of golf.

All the brouhaha was about Tevez’s apparent refusal to come on the pitch; an interesting reversal of the usual scenario. Understandably, Mancini was not best pleased by this and blew his top; it probably didn’t help that City were also well beaten on their maiden night in the Champions League.

Wes Foderingham, Swindon Town v Preston

Former West Ham United and Sheffield Wednesday star Paolo di Canio is eccentric at the best of times in his role as Swindon Town manager, but it went to a new level when he decided to substitute goalkeeper Foderingham after only 21 minutes against Preston.

Foderingham had made a mistake for the opening goal in his side’s 4-1 loss and reacted badly to being hauled; he decided to watch the rest of the game from the stands rather than sit with the rest of the team on the bench.

Di Canio maintained that 21-year-old’s mistake was not behind his decision, but his apparent “arrogance” in the time following the goal – the combustible Italian then sensationally said this about his ‘keeper: “He’s the worst professional I’ve ever seen”. Before vowing not to pick him until he had apologised to the fans. Watch the episode below…


Fernando Torres, Chelsea v Bayern Munich

You would think winning a Champions League final is a reason to be cheerful, but Torres was anything but after the penalty shoot-out decided by Didier Drogba was over.

Torres started the game in his usual place last season, the subs bench, and came on with a little over five minutes to go. He then was not asked to take a spot kick, prompting a bout of stroppiness after the win. He even revealed to journalists afterwards of his unhappiness at Stamford Bridge.

“I'm not happy,” he said cheerily after being presented with a Champions League winners medal.

“Before the game I felt it was going to be one of my best moments and I came with great desire and ambition.

“But then I had to start on the bench. I felt huge disappointment when I saw the starting line up, maybe the biggest disappointment of my life.”

Robin van Persie, Arsenal v Manchester United

Van Persie was the Gunners saviour last season, pulling off some incredible feats of goalscoring to secure his side an unlikely third place in the Premier League. He could not save his team in this fixture, however, as his future club ran out 2-1 winners, though he did score the equaliser.

The goal was set up by exciting young star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a blistering start to the second half. It was then a surprise that Arsene Wenger decided to withdraw him for out-of-form Andrey Arshavin, something that was evident in Van Persie’s expression.

The Emirates Stadium crowd were equally perplexed, responding with chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” aimed at the manager. The Dutchman tried to cover his tracks after the game, but it was clear in replays what he thought – Watch the clip below:


Delio Rossi & Adem Ljalic, Fiorentina v Novara

Managers are always composed when players react badly to being taken off aren't they, what with them being understandable at the disappointment of being withdraw? No, apparently not.

Nearly Manchester United signing Adem Ljalic was not best happy with being taken off against the Italian minnows Novara and gave his boss a mouthful and a sarcastic clap. Delio Rossi didn’t like it very much, which was evident when he decided to start battering the young Serbian as he walked to his seat on the bench.

Predictably, Rossi was given his marching orders soon after and forced to look for another club; he did apologise in the end though. See the astonishing attack in the video below:


What do you think of these strops/spats/attacks? Which substitution related episodes are most memorable for you? Leave a comment below to let us know…

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Carlos Tevez
Premier League
Fernando Torres
UEFA Champions League

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