Fiorentina’s Adem Ljajic has given his version of events which led to Delio Rossi’s now infamous dug-out attack on him.
Rossi was sacked last week after violently striking the attacking midfielder following the player’s early substitution during the first half of the 2-2 draw with Novara.
“I didn’t insult the Coach,” the 20-year-old told the Corriere della Sera on Wednesday.
“If the TV images show that I did then I’ll quit the game. Rossi looked to strike me on more than one occasion while saying ‘you’re a jerk, I’ll kill you’.
“That’s when I responded to him in Serbian and I wasn’t complimentary.”
Rossi later apologised to the club, the fans and the player, but seemed to suggest that he reacted to an insult from the Serbian.
“I can’t forgive him,” Ljajic added. “He tried to strike me while I couldn’t defend myself. I have a little cousin in Serbia who is 10 and he watches all of my games. He was left shocked.
“I came off the pitch and I applauded the Coach, I gave him the thumbs up and in Italian I said ‘you’re a great, you’re really very good!’
“I made a mistake, but I didn’t expect a reaction like that. I want people to examine the pictures so they can read my lips.
“People have started saying that I insulted his dead mother, that I spoke about a handicapped son and none of that is true.
“Fortunately he didn’t hit me fully. I didn’t react and I’m proud of that. It shows that my parents brought me up well.”
Ljajic also revealed that the two exchanged more angry words at the break in the Stadio Franchi changing rooms.
“At half-time I was telling a teammate what happened and then the Coach came in.
“He threw the tactics board on the floor and continued to insult me. I answered him back before Matija Nastasic and Lorenzo De Silvestri calmed me down.
“I also thank Alessandro Gamberini, the captain, who said some nice words about me after the Lecce game.”
Ljajic has been suspended by the outfit, but he hopes to have a future with the Tuscan giants.
“I want to stay and I hope I can. I’ve bought a house, [Roma’s Daniel] Osvaldo’s old home. Who buys property wants to lay roots,” he added.
“I don’t fear the jeers and I’m not a kid who just thinks about money and cars. As a boy I lived in a place where bombs exploded, I can’t be scared of whistles.”