Pablo Osvaldo once more hit the headlines for the wrong reasons during the Coppa Italia Final on Sunday. Luca Cetta wonders what now for the striker.
Olimpia the eagle was firmly part of Lazio’s Coppa Italia Final celebrations. Following their 1-0 victory over city rivals Roma, the feathered one was allowed to spread its wings around the Stadio Olimpico. One person who would not see the bird in flight was Pablo Osvaldo, the Roma striker’s feathers already ruffled. As Lazio commenced their celebrations, Osvaldo was headed for the exits.
The Italo-Argentine looked a forlorn customer on the bench as the Giallorossi struggled to get a foothold in the game. He was introduced in the final 15 minutes but did little as La Magica failed to find an equaliser. Osvaldo reportedly insulted Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli at full-time then marched down the tunnel immediately, failing to collect his runners-up medal with his teammates.
The war continued on Monday when the interim boss took a dig at the player: “Osvaldo? Causing a scene when the TV cameras are running is nothing new from him. But then in private he just moans and whines. That’s his problem though, not mine. For a player that represents the national team, he should have better ethics. But again, that’s his problem.”
Not to be outdone, Osvaldo took to Twitter with less than complimentary words towards Andreazzoli: “You would do more good if you admit to being an incompetent…go and celebrate with those of Lazio…”
Mattia Destro was chosen to start the final ahead of Osvaldo, the former Siena attacker a Coppa mainstay this term. He had scored five in the four matches on the road to the finale. Yet Osvaldo handsomely outscored Destro in Serie A and with 16 goals ended equal third on the Capocannoniere list alongside Stephan El Shaarawy. To say he was bitter at missing the Derby della Capitale showdown is an understatement.
The blowout is the latest incident to have befallen the striker during his two-season tenure at Trigoria. Last season infamously saw Osvaldo and Erik Lamela engage in fisticuffs in Udine. He and Francesco Totti were said to have fallen out. Zdenek Zeman had to deal with a supposed lack of effort put forth in training, while at Sampdoria he took a penalty from Er Pupone but missed. Furthermore, Osvaldo didn’t even watch April’s Derby. He was suspended and so went to London with his girlfriend. Fans have whistled him. And now comes this latest incident.
With 17 goals in all competitions, Osvaldo was Roma’s leading scorer and appeared to back up the petulance. Yet on Tuesday it was believed Roma had enough and put Osvaldo on the market. The incident was one too many for the Lupi. He has been linked with former club Fiorentina, plus Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Tottenham.
In the meantime, Osvaldo has lost his place in the Italy squad. Initially named as part of the 31-man Confederations Cup preliminary squad, he will not make the trip to Brazil nor form part of the side to face the Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifier just before the Azzurri fly out.
Before the final decision was cast, captain Nazionale Gianluigi Buffon defended Osvaldo, insisting it was a ‘heat of the moment’ instance, while adding: “I cannot say what our Coach will decide, I can only say that Osvaldo has always done his best with us, he has been flawless, for his commitment and in his relationships with his peers.”
That was not enough. Once Cesare Prandelli had heard the full story, FIGC President Giancarlo Abete outlined the verdict: “I spoke to Cesare Prandelli about the situation and you know the spirit of the code of ethics, which safeguards respectful behaviour. Before making the formal decision, we wanted to check with Roma whether the player had authorisation to miss the Coppa Italia ceremony. Seeing as he did not, our Coach made the final decision based on the information.”
Osvaldo has admitted he is a ‘bit of a lunatic’. Here is a player with an eye for goal and natural flair, but one whose character faults, outspoken attitude and bust-ups have taken their toll. The Azzurri have closed the door for the foreseeable future. His time at Trigoria appears over. It is clear Osvaldo must curb his blunt approach, one which has landed him in hot water on too many occasions. But just who will take a chance on the brash striker?