Thursday May 3 2012
Delirio Rossi

Delio Rossi had to go. Giancarlo Rinaldi on the latest chapter in a season that Fiorentina, fighting for survival, will want to forget.

Delirio Rossi – Rossi Frenzy – the banners read when Fiorentina replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic as Coach earlier this season. It was supposed to indicate the fans’ delight at finally getting shot of their Serbian boss. Few would have forecast how aptly it would sum up the moment of madness which put paid to his successor.

The stunned looks of the players on the Viola bench said it all. Like the rest of the world, as the images flashed around the globe via satellite or social media, they could not believe what they had seen. The normally affable Delio Rossi had just launched himself at Adem Ljajic.

It had started out as the usual childish but all-too-common show of sarcastic dissent by a young footballer. The Serbian applauded Rossi’s decision to substitute him after just half an hour and, probably, let a few comments slip as well. On most occasions a Coach will pretend not to see or hear and take action later – but not this time.

No doubt the pressure was intense. The Viola were losing a key game in their fight against relegation and the fans at the Artemio Franchi were getting irate. But while Ljajic’s actions were pathetic and provocative, Rossi’s reaction was inexcusable.

He put a club which does not enjoy the highest profile in world football right at the top of the sports news agenda for all the wrong reasons. The fan phone-ins were full of supporters voicing their embarrassment. They say no publicity is bad publicity – but this must come pretty close to disproving that statement.

On reflection, the incident felt a bit like a frustrated father finally losing patience with his spoiled son. Ljajic is a highly-paid professional footballer yet he singularly failed to act like one. It speaks volumes about the modern game, however, that his actions were nothing out of the ordinary. It is Rossi’s response which has put the Florentine side in an unwanted spotlight.

The problem was compounded by the ethical approach started under Cesare Prandelli. He encouraged his players to applaud their opponents off the pitch and it is impossible to imagine him making such an attack. Even the fiery Mihajlovic never produced such a confrontation. And this season the Cartellino Viola – Purple Card – has been introduced by the club to honour fair play. It is safe to say Delio need not worry about getting it any time soon.

The chaos leaves the Tuscan side with a point needed from its remaining two games to ensure its safety – one of which is at a Lecce outfit fighting for its life. They will most likely survive but it has not been pretty. The touchline rumble pretty much summed up a turbulent season.

Club supremo Andrea Della Valle appeared to be genuinely struggling for words as he announced Rossi’s sacking. He kept repeating how the Coach was such a decent guy and his actions had been completely out of character.  But, he said, he felt it was best for both club and manager to go their separate ways.

Perhaps the pressure finally told on Delio. Years of working under Maurizio Zamparini must have taken their toll and, with Fiorentina toiling, there was definitely a more manic manner to his gum-chewing of late. The provocation from a player who showed such visible dissent must have been the last straw in a tense end of season showdown.

It leaves the club to limp over the line to Serie A safety and both men to try to rebuild their reputations. Ljajic may never convince anyone that he is anything other than an immature young man who thinks he is far more talented than he has actually proven himself to be. As for Rossi, it will surely be some time before anyone forgets the instant he lost the plot at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

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Have your say...
I like Delio rossi..
the best Coach for me
on the 7th May, 2012 at 8:45am
If the kid was as quick with his mind and body around the pitch as he was with his mouth, this would never have happened. He has always been a problem, the last manager said he needs to stop eating chocolate and playing the playstation. He is a talent but right now, he has about as much chance of being a journey man plauyer as he does making it to where his talent could take him. I feel for the manager as he is the one who may be seen as unemployable lwzi9
on the 6th May, 2012 at 7:03pm
The only mistake that Rossi made was that he stopped beating that spoiled little brat. I think that any other player anywhere else in the world deserves a royal beating if he acts disrespectfully towards his coach, teammates or fans.
on the 5th May, 2012 at 1:19pm
As Isaac Asimov wrote, "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." There is no defending either person in this particular debacle. Players must show respect, but managers cannot beat that respect out of the players. True Viola fans are saddened by the attention this has brought. All that being said, in the aftermath, Rossi has come out before the press, been contrite and apologized to everyone, including the child, while Ljajic, a prepared statement released by his agent, cowardly at best
on the 4th May, 2012 at 1:08pm
@dwa - any physcial sport entails violence of some degre depending on what you define as violent. Let's be honest we all love seeing a good tear up when it doesn't involve us and allows us to talk about other people hence the reason i watch Jon Jones whoop people in a cage. But, when it is someone you care about getting whooped then suddnely we condemn it. Like i found this incidnet funny, but if that was my son, i would be mad as hell and hunt Rossi down. Morally it was right
on the 4th May, 2012 at 12:49pm
This incident does throw a rather mixed up feelings, at one point people supporting an action made by Rossi because Llajic was acting immature but still it's not the right thing to do.

It's always wrong to hit a teenager just because of something he said out of the heat of moment especially in front of the camera. Llajic's words was probably very harsh, but Rossi should at least kept his temper until he get into the dressing room. Advocating violence in a sport can never be supported IMO
on the 4th May, 2012 at 10:15am
I say good on you Rossi more tactitians should be like fathers beating their spoiled brat sons as Rossi did. One can imagine the build up to this beating. After this Rossi should be on every clubs list to hire.
on the 4th May, 2012 at 8:38am
I am possibly wrong (frequently) but if there isnt a colossal clean out in the off-season then this will get much much worse
on the 4th May, 2012 at 6:56am
Just ask that brat what he said to his coach. Rossi would not loose his temper if that kid didn't say something that insulted his family. As a coach, what rossi did was wrong. But as a father, a human being, I understand and appreciate what he did. I would have beat that brat if I were him.
on the 4th May, 2012 at 6:50am
we understand Delio Rossi, as he is a "proven" decent guy. Sometimes people could do stupid things, just see what ZZ did to Matrix.
In this case, both Rossi and Ljajic must take responsibility, and I do agree with Andrea Della Valle that Rossi have to go. but Ljajic might need some more punishment in order to make him learn from this mistake and not do it again.
on the 4th May, 2012 at 3:41am
By law, what Rossi did was wrong. He is still a hero in my book though because Ljajic is a primadonna and a loser. He has to know his place, one way or the other.

Ljajic is talented but I can only recall one or two occasions when he has been on the field and won. His penalty misses in recent weeks have been due to carelessness. He plays with no heart, no soul, no determination and no will to win.

I don't support Fiorentina but he isn't worthy of them. Send him back to Serbia, where he belongs!
on the 4th May, 2012 at 3:21am
Another big embarrassment for the club in what has been a dreadful season. However, I feel nothing but sympathy for Rossi, who took on an incredibly difficult job this season, only to have to deal with people like Ljajic, whose behaviour was disgraceful. That footballers seem to think it acceptable to be so disrespectful speaks volumes for what is wrong with football. I wish Delio Rossi all the best for the future but more than that, I wish Fiorentina could get out of this sorry mess very soon.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 8:06pm
Still shocked by this and hasn't really sunk in yet! I do believe that this 'out of character' behaviour (in any profession) is often a climax of ongoing tension, stress etc but still inexcusable - like a teacher losing control and authority over a pupil. Ljalic's immaturity and petulance was a catalyst that will no doubt result in a summer transfer. I just hope we can rebuild then with a new coach, sporting director and some quality young signings that will honour the shirt. Forza Viola!
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 7:53pm
i doubt Rossi would have reacted like that if it was Cassano or Gattuso or Floyd Mayweather. This was quite cowardly and the punch was thrown when the break up occured. for my own entertainment im glad it happene din the dugout. But putting my selfishness aside, Rossi should have whooped him behind the scenes not in front of cameras. You didnt see Mancini attack Tevez at the Allianz did you. Altho thas prob cuz Tevez would have whooped him.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 7:52pm
@ Mustafa

He is a real man for trying to punch a teenager? More like a menace to society

Deserve to get sacked. Funny how some people define a real man. In this case, you define it as a person who loses hes temper and slaps people. In my book that's a weak character who has no control over hes actions.

Oh yeah btw, lets see how your real man of yours would do against a REAL man.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 7:25pm
I am with Rossi, but he had to go. There's no way you can do this and not pay consequences. Of course Ljajic is a huge jerk and is one of the least professional players around. Forever destined to mediocrity, only because of his behaviour.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 4:36pm
Very disappointed to read commenting condoning this type of act. Whilst I have and will always have the upmost respect for delio rossi, unfortunately what he did last night was completely unaccceptable. you can say what you like about Ljajic, but there is no place for fighting and violence on a football pitch. He just got it very very wrong. At the same time, I do believe Adem should be reprimanded too. He also got under the skin of Sinisa, so the club should look to fine him in some way.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 3:59pm
I like what Rossi did. He is a real MAN.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 2:39pm
...shocked. just too many words to describe what happened at the franchi yesterday. i do agree that there must be much more to the story. possibly mounting pressure from other smaller moments/incidents combined. relegation, training ground or personal conversations or dressing room nonsense that boiled over. who knows?! i can't see rossi working any time soon because this of 'blackout' or 'moment of madness'. but curious too know the true/real whole story and what lead to this point. speechless.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 2:32pm
I would have smacked that overpaid brat too...
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 2:14pm
The kid deserved to be beaten silly. I think more coaches should react this way to the spoiled brats that are football players.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 2:12pm

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