Freezing out Radja Nainggolan with a €100,000 fine for repeated tardiness was Inter’s warning to shape up or ship out of San Siro.
Although no formal explanation was given, it is widely reported ‘Ninja’ turned up late repeatedly to training over the last week.
New director Beppe Marotta has brought in the same stern discipline he had at Juventus and wanted to send a message by punishing a star player.
It was not dissimilar to when Leonardo Bonucci was sent to the stands during a Champions League game against Monaco after publicly arguing with Coach Max Allegri.
Nainggolan has also been fined a reported €100,000 and will be left out of Wednesday’s crucial Serie A showdown with second-placed Napoli.
This also acts as a warning to Nainggolan that more outlandish behaviour will not be tolerated, so if he slips again, he could be put on the market.
He turned down more lucrative Premier League or Chinese offers in order to follow Luciano Spalletti to Inter, but has struggled to replicate the form he showed at Roma.