Sarcasm is the language of Serie A

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Sarcasm is the art of insulting idiots without them realising it.

Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi was sacked by his club’s owner after attacking his own player Adem Ljajic during a Serie A clash against relegation threatened Novara this week.

Rossi took exception to the Serbian midfielder’s sarcastic applause while he trudged off to the dugout, obviously unhappy with Rossi’s decision to take him off the field.

According to the above definition, Rossi is no idiot and detecting the sarcasm of Ljajic’s applause, leapt into the dug-out and launched into a windmill of punches aimed at the disrespectful footballer’s head.

Club officials and a couple of substitutes tried to separate them, pulling Ljajic away from his irate coach as he continued the physical and verbal tirade.

Fiorentina acted soon after the match ended 2-2 and owner Andrea Della Valle sacked the 51-year-old manager what he described as “a serious action from a mild person”.

Dalle Valle said Rossi had left him no other option. “But the decision to sack him is a must due to the values this club has followed over the last few years.”

What’s happened to Italian football’s sense of humour, shouldn’t Rossi have been aware that Italians are famous for their sense of sarcasm?

A couple of weeks ago Cagliari striker Mauricio Pinilla reacted sarcastically to his red card for over-celebrating a goal against Inter and told the match official, “Next time I score, I’ll just burst into tears.”

He had already been booked when he climbed on to the railings, celebrating his goal for too long with the Cagliari fans and collected his second yellow for time wasting, funnily enough.

Serie B coach Zdenek Zemen was also once quoted as telling one of his players, “You are not as bad a player as some journalists say, you are much worse than that.” And the classic sarcastic quote that “football is complicated by the presence of the opposing team.”

Former Inter Milan great Giacinto Facchetti was capped 94 times for the Azzuri wearing the captain’s armband 70 times. He played for his country at the 1966, 1970 and 1974 FIFA World Cup Finals and has a World Cup runner’s up medal from 1970 when Italy was beaten in the final 4–1 by Pele’s Brazil. He also captained Italy to win Euro 68.

Facchetti was a tough, but fair defender and rarely faced the judiciary. He was only ever sent off once in his whole career, for yes you guessed it, sarcastically applauding the referee.

What is it with footballers and sarcastic applause and how is this so insulting that it causes mild people to go crazy and referees to reach for the red card? Surely there’s no harm in a bit of sarcasm in football.

Don’t take it so seriously and in the words of one of Claudio Gentile’s ex-girlfriend, “if a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.”

Former Roarer, Jesse Fink, has released a new e-book, World Party, the story of the Socceroos' incredible run at the 2006 World Cup – 15 days every Australian football fan should never forget. Support a fellow Roarer and download a copy today.