If you thought that Roberto Mancini's reaction to Edin Dzeko's sarcastic clapping earlier this season in the Champions League match vs. Bayern Munich was bad, think again.
Today, Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi set a new standard for manager insanity in world football.
With Fiorentina down 2-0 to Novara (the 19th-place team in Serie A), after just 30 minutes, Rossi took the drastic action of substituting 20-year-old Adem Ljajic in the 32nd minute.
Understandably upset, Ljajic sarcastically clapped his manager's decision before giving him a thumbs up.
For Rossi, that was more than enough to set him off.
Rossi lunged at Ljajic, grabbing him by his neck and throwing punches at him before other members of Fiorentina's staff intervened to separate the two.
Fiorentina have had a miserable season, one that may very likely see Rossi sacked, but lunging at a player like that is inexcusable.
Especially when Ljajic's displeasure is understandable. Substituting a player before halftime is effectively the same as singling him out for the team's flaws, and will surely not have helped a young player like Ljajic grow in confidence.
I can't wait to hear the fallout from this one. I can't imagine that the pair will continue working together after this, but who knows. If Mancini can do it, maybe Rossi can too. It'll be interesting to hear about how Ljajic reacts.
UPDATE: 8:15 PM CT, May 2nd, 2012
A statement has been released on Fiorentina's official website, in which president Della Valle has noted that Fiorentina winger Adem Ljajic will also be punished:
We will also take proportionate measures against Ljajic. Rossi has not justified it to me but he is someone who has never done anything like this.
The statement states that there will be a thorough update on the club's situation tomorrow.
UPDATE: 5:30 PM CT, May 2nd, 2012
Sky Sports in Italy reports that Delio Rossi has been fired for attacking his player. Club president Andrea Della Valle had the following to say (via ESPN):
I made the decision to sack the coach for an act that was very serious. Tomorrow morning we'll talk calmly.
I'm sorry for the coach who is a good person and does not deserve it, but tonight he committed a serious act.
What do you think? Too harsh or fair? Personally, I believe Della Valle just took the opportunity to fire Rossi now under the guise of misconduct rather than have to fire him for poor results at the end of the season.