February 16th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

Why Gattuso has to lose his cool

Gennaro Gattuso has apologised for his clash with Joe Jordan at the San Siro. (AFP/Getty Images)
Gennaro Gattuso has apologised for his clash with Joe Jordan at the San Siro. (AFP/Getty Images)

Don’t expect Gennaro Gattuso to change even if UEFA punishes him for his aggressive behavior in Tuesday's fiery Champions League encounter at the San Siro stadium in Italy.

The footage of AC Milan’s captain grabbing Tottenham’s assistant coach Joe Jordan by the throat and, later, head-butting him is sure to be a hit on video sharing websites, and a massive talking point in offices around the world.

Gattuso clearly lost his temper in the face of a surprise home defeat by a team playing in their first Champions League campaign. He was embarrassed enough to apologise afterwards, calling his own actions “inexcusable”.

The Milan midfielder also said sorry on Twitter and the social networking site was buzzing with comments about the incident in one of the most watched sporting competitions on the planet.

Steve Nash – NBA star, Tottenham fan, and friend of Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini – tweeted that Gattuso once told him that if he didn’t play “like a madman” he would only be good enough for Serie C, instead of Italy’s top division, Serie A.

It seems that Gattuso falls into that small but high-profile category of footballers who need a little anger to play at their best. The problem comes when that anger turns from full blown commitment into an uncontrollable red mist.

The same could be said for Wayne Rooney. His manager at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson, has often suggested that trying to rein in Rooney’s renowned temper would blunt his attacking edge. And it’s no surprise the England striker has looked off the boil while keeping a low profile following his difficult contract negotiations last year.

There is plenty of fire in Ferguson’s belly too, and his Glasgow roots mean he will probably understand when Gattuso hinted that an exchange of “Scottish” words was the cause of his clash with Scotsman Joe Jordan. Gattuso used to play for Glasgow Rangers.

The player didn't adopt his fiery attitude playing in Britain. Italian football experts will tell you that Gattuso has always played that way, and it is the reason he was such an important member of Italy’s World Cup winning team in 2006 and the Milan side that lifted the 2007 Champions League trophy. It’s even rumored that Ferguson wanted to sign him that year.

Plenty of managers would welcome a midfielder with Gattuso’s will to win but that burning desire erupted on Tuesday night against Tottenham – and this time most will feel he went too far.

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Football
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Munya Munos

    Whatever Gattuso gains from his anger, he went too far yesterday. That was more than sports-rage – that was pure insanity & madness. His behavior can easily consign him to an asylum. Its people like him who spoil the beautiful game. Don't justify his insanity, please!

    February 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  2. henry

    I watched the match yesterday and how this guy just flair up, UEFA should throw him away from football. He hasnt got respect for anyone not even an elderly man like Joe.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  3. Bakare

    That action was not called for...

    February 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  4. sidmiester

    Alex Thomas, u didnt realize it was joe who first provoked gattuso with f word. ya we know gatttuso how crazy he is and sometimes he goes over the edge ... but he doesnt fight others for no reason.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  5. Ian Rawlins

    Gennaro Gattuso should be banned from all of football for five years. And if he returns, probation for the rest of his career! No player is bigger than the game we so dearly love. Mr. Gattuso actions are unacceptable by football standards. His actions have been broadcast around the world. Therefore, the punishment should not be handed down lightly!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  6. Raymond Buchmüller

    Gattuso is crazy. He should never be able to play again.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  7. Lee

    I think gattuso and flamini and half tha milan team ran out of ideas, they were being shown up by professionals who kept their cool.... and yes nobody starts a fight for no reason, gattusos reason was to get the crowd in the game cos he was useless on the pitch... and we all saw flamini's gesture to the home supporters after the horror tackle on corluka... would have loved to have seen gattuso play in the next game, no home fans to whip up and bale plays on that side of the pitch.....

    February 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  8. Relax


    you are sorry one. What an incredibly lame contribution to a no brainer discussion. Violence is OK if provoked by the F word. Right. OK.

    F you!

    February 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  9. Shehu

    Gattuso action against joy was unprofessional that displayed lack of sportmanship of the highest order. I suppose he is getting old to play at the highest level of competition, he should be getting ready to retire else he would be put to shame.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  10. Bajanbill

    I’m not a soccer fan and I don’t know the guys form – but he really did not appear in a genuine rage – seemed fairly well planned – and that kiss to the head was not in any way a head-butt – lots of drama and nipping, annoying behaviour during the game which should have been dealt with on the field – but it is soccer – what do you expect?

    February 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  11. Relax

    BTW, look at the arm with which he is not attacking anyone. Does it say that he is the captain? And what is the other word? What does that mean?

    February 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  12. Sam

    Nothing will change him? Really? How about a two season ban?

    February 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  13. S'celo

    Gattuso is mad, what a shame he is, he should have been given a red card!!!! I fully support the UEFA investigation.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  14. Tpap

    It was shameful however you look at it!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  15. the opposition

    haha Gattuso jus made ma nyt lst nyt.. bn long since we hve seen such play... thumbs up

    February 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  16. james

    Rooney doesn't choke opposing team's coaches. Stupid comparison.

    February 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  17. james

    You know what? If every player were provoked like Gattuso claims to have been provoked by the f word, there'd be more fights in soccer than hockey. That's a stupid excuse. Bottom line is Gattuso lost it, he recognized that a day later and apologized. He'll be significantly punished by UEFA. Matter over.

    February 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  18. Jide Yusuf

    From all that I have read here, Gattuso cannot be excused. He did apologized, and that's fair enough. However, the sport must be protected from such outburst and inexcusable conduct. Provocation is not a good ground for an adult to go for shameless conduct. Gattuso is a player I admire but he should be forgiven but sanctioned. Red cards!!! for his retirement before he inadvertently kills someone.

    February 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Reply
  19. chizuma

    Gattuso is a bully. I am sure his family are scared of him too. Imagine him being your father. This guy should retire from soccer and consider boxing before he gets too old.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  20. Don Ike

    Gattuso did the right thing, i was watching the game and told my friends that Gattuso will definitely fight someone since the referee is not doing his job by talking and issuing the cards on Tottenham guys. they were attacking Gattuso trying to push my hero... shame... and it didn't work because they know he will definitely fight and might get a red card. but he outsmarted them by waiting for the final whistle b4 head butting that Jordan guy... lucky he didn't bleed... Next time Gattuso will not miss the lips.. Well done Gatt...

    February 16, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  21. Achir Orkuma

    Gattuso what will kids learn from your ANGER? I guess nothing.Pray you get over it because it's not good for the image of football but wrestlers.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  22. mami

    Next time Joe Jordan will moderate his language!

    February 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  23. Litte Major

    I honestly can say that I was hoping so badly that someone else would knock him out of his misery right there on the field. This guy is like 4 feet tall and acts like he is Mike Tyson. What a joke! He simply needs someone to cold clock him in the middle of his rage so he can realize what a menace he really is. He is like one of those tiny dogs that do nothing but bark and growl until you kick him in the nuts.

    In my mind he is a spoiled PUNK who needs an ass whooping in front of this home crowd!

    February 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  24. jim

    No excuses. He should be banned and charged with assault. My 12 year-old son watched that game with me; bullying is a huge problem in Italian schools. Put Gattuso in jail. If that behaviour is tolerated in Champions League, it is tolerated in Italian schoolyards. Please, put Gattuso in jail, for the sake of our children. No excuses.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  25. paolo

    If I a man normal does such as this I am going to the jail. While Gattuso makes this he becomes hero? Gattuso is embarrassment for Italy like Berlusconi.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  26. mami

    That's what Joe Jordan deserved for having called him "fa...ng Italian bas...rd"! Where is the British "fair play"?

    February 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  27. serg

    What he did is just bad. I am sure Joe understands very well Gennaro, because that is football. Sometimes you get angry, sometimes you punch people, that is no big deal. I love Gennaro, he is real braveheart, players like Gattuso make this game exciting. He should be punnished but he is one of the best.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  28. Omer

    HAHA he sort fully shamed his team, who all are wearing the same tshirt that says "respect" on it...dame..

    February 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  29. Mr. Rational

    I would like to say that even though Gatusso acted in a wrong manner in spite of being provoked, he could have kept his cool but there wouldn't this much publicity and I honestly do not understand the irrational decision-making of some of you here.
    Everyone has it's ups and downs and Gatusso is at the end of his career and might want to stop sometime soon and why not end with publicity so you will not be forgotten anytime soon.

    Let the past be the past like Rudyard Kipling says in "The Jungle Books" with the phrase "punishment settles all scores" for Gatusso has already been punished for his previous actions. It can be understood that he should be punished somewhat severe but it must accordingly. Sleep on it and formulate an opinion based on rational thinking instead of taking over the mass media's opinion that may just as well be exaggerated and from biased point of view (with all do respect to CNN).

    If I as a 15-year old am able to think this, even though it might wrong according to you as reader, why shouldn't you rethink everyhting possibly changing your opinion, possibly not.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  30. Alex

    Would have liked to see the same "match", but with the Jaws of 30 years ago...
    Although actually he was playing for Milan too at that time : )

    February 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  31. Slats

    In a fair fight, I'd put my money on Joe 'Shark' Jordan, one of the hardest Scottish footballers ever (he's missing his front teeth for a reason!).

    At the end of the day, it wasn't what you would expect from a professional footballer, 5-6 game Euro ban is fair, and might just teach him a lesson..

    February 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Reply
  32. James

    What a useless article, didn't say anything the casual football fan didn't already know. Weak.

    February 16, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  33. Canucklfuct

    Sad that such a nice game is constantly involved with these incidents. Its even worse that its played by a bunch of women who only know how to headbutt and roll around on the turf when touched..

    February 17, 2011 at 12:32 am | Reply
  34. axel

    is sure that gattuso overreacted and that he deserves not to play for some games.. but guys, some of you are just being funny? "banned for ever" say some "this guy is mad, he should never play again" say others.......
    it's sport, sport involves emotions.. and sometimes, when things arent going your way and someone constantly provokes you, well, u may react this way.. u should not, thats obvious, and u need to pay for it.. but it happened alredy many times in fottball.. I'M PRETTY SURE JOE JORDAN, THE GUY WHO'S BEEN TAKEN BY THE NECK, DID NOT TAKE IT SO HARD AS MOST OF YOU WRITING HERE.. and im sure some of u enevr played football either..

    its time ppl stop judging all sports like if it was baseball

    February 17, 2011 at 12:38 am | Reply
  35. Raymond Buchmüller

    Kick him out for good. There is no room for this., whats next ???

    February 17, 2011 at 7:47 am | Reply
  36. lanre

    i've never seen a player withseal like gattuso.granted he was starring at defeat but he should learn how to controlits anger.yes he deserves a purnishment so as to discourage others.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:06 am | Reply
  37. simon

    uncalled for action

    February 17, 2011 at 9:42 am | Reply
  38. Raymond Buchmüller

    If I did this to my boss, I have a slight feeling I will not work for him anymore. They would kick me out. That is a fact.

    February 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  39. Dylan P Brown

    Alright, I am a tottenham fan. Gattuso should obviously have some consequences sent down from uefa, and in retrospect should have been sent off the field a number of times. but overall, the officials were too lenient in that game. banning gattuso from professional soccer is a bit of an overreaction though. its not like he has a decade left of playing anyway. While most of us realize that gattuso isnt going to reform simply because uefa tells him to, sometimes players are going to get frustrated. give him a ban and a fine and get on with it.

    February 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  40. Dylan P Brown

    gattusos actions are not going to corrupt any of your children.

    February 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  41. rudness

    why is Gattuso being blamed for the whole of this incident when people felt sorry for Zidane when he headbutted Materazzi. both Jordan and Materazzi provoked the actions of Gattuso and Zidane but Zidane was "forgiven". why is a assistant coach yelling at opposing players anyway. suspend Zidane for infinity. oh I forgot, he already retired.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  42. Marianne

    Terrible moment in the career of a very good player. If it is true Joe Jordan called him a "f...ing italian b...ard" he should also be punished. Our children need to see an example being made here, from both!

    February 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  43. kentsailer

    He should have gotten a yellow card earlier in the match. He played completly out of control. There is a huge difference between playing hard in order to win and playing like a hooligan. Yes he apologized and that shows a little but the punishment should be severe because he played the whole game that way and that was the 3rd or 4th time that he was completly out of control in that game. Remember Zidane?
    Well let's be consistent and set a standard. Heavy fine and a 5 game

    February 18, 2011 at 1:11 am | Reply
  44. ismaila horoya ali

    oooh no gattuso not again.i like u but not this way ok.00233243888781

    February 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  45. Mogamberry Madivasa Moonsamy aka Spitter

    Gattuso should be banned for at least a year and heavily fined to serve as deterrent to other players like him. This should be a lesson to youngsters that avidly watch football, every action has a consequence! These guys are role models and therefore have a pivotal role to play, when watched by miillionsof fans worldwide In he case of Drogba – He did not do half of what Gatuso did before he was banned and fined. Though I admire Gattuso as a workaholic player there has to be punishment for his unsporting behavior!

    February 19, 2011 at 4:43 am | Reply
  46. omegafifteen

    This was really an insane act.
    And it has no justification especially from a Captain.
    On a psychological point of view it has to be said that some men are really unable to control their emotions. Gattuso is one of these.

    February 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  47. makanjo

    Gattuso should be sent to the zoo....

    February 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Reply
  48. frederick

    is there any footage or feedback of what Joe Jordan actually said to provoke this situation ?

    February 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
  49. pato1900

    Looking at the picture he looked like a Taliban in action, this is an act that could ve gone along way had everybody acted like Gattuso i do think he should be suspended for a full season without pay, he is totally insane.

    February 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  50. Abasi-Abasi

    Since Gattuso has apologized ... he deserve some forgiveness. Remember, an eye for an eye will make the whole world go blind.

    February 21, 2011 at 6:51 am | Reply
  51. Christiano Ronaldog

    Gattuso... Stupid midfielder. Talks too much.

    Better retire now.

    February 22, 2011 at 3:46 am | Reply
  52. c.menns

    We admire players like Messi , Ronaldo , Giggs and many others not a mad man like Gattuso . He better join the kick boxing club if he is that strong . He is a shame to the sport.

    February 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.