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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Violence In Valencia

After tonight's scoreless draw between Valencia and Inter Milan in the Champions League round of 16, which saw the Spanish side go through on the away goals rule (2 x 2), violence reared its ugly head. But not in terraces, or outside of the stadium by thugs. By the players themselves after the game...

Nicolas Burdisso (Inter) and Carlos Marchena (Valencia) were arguing as the game ended. A few of their respective teammates intervened before the situation could escalate. But out of nowhere, Valencia's David Navarro, who had not played, came off the bench and struck Burdisso from behind. The punch broke the nose of Burdisso, which caused the following reaction:

"This sparked a furious reaction, as Julio Ricardo Cruz, Ivan Cordoba and Douglas Maicon chased Navarro across the pitch. He was spotted on camera running back down the players’ tunnel with a smile on his face and this further angered the Nerazzurri players. It is now emerging that the brawl continued inside the arena, as Francesco Toldo dived in to the Valencia locker room to reach Navarro and Esteban Cambiasso and Luis Figo tried to force their way in after him." (1)

I know that they never have heard of Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers; however, they could have benefited from his example. He had to promise Branch Rickey that he would never retaliate to behavior 100 times worse than what happened at the Estadio Mestalla. Or anywhere else in professional sports.

Reference

(1) Inter Face UEFA Expulsion? Football Italia, 06 March 2007.

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