Teammate brawls: Osvaldo’s fight top of the pile?

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Following Southampton’s decision to suspend striker Daniel Osvaldo for two weeks for an apparent training ground punch up with teammate Jose Fonte, that got me thinking…

Wouldn’t it be fun to take a look back at some other memorable soccer punch ups from the past?

No time for hesitation, lets get stuck in.

Lee Bowyer and Kieran Dyer

This is perhaps the most famous fight between soccer teammates, ever. It took place in front of 50,000 plus fans at St. James’ Park, who looked on in disbelief as both Bowyer and Dyer swung at each other like madmen before being separated. Both were shown straight red cards for violent conduct in the subsequent 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa, as the former England internationals lost the plot during a season of struggle for Newcastle. The term ‘windmilling’ sums up their fighting style. They’ve clearly never heard of the ‘Queensbury Rules.’

Eyal Berkovic and John Hartson

Back in the late 1990’s Harry Redknapp had assembled an extremely talented squad at West Ham United. He had a good blend of playmakers and bruising enforcers… and it was one of each that went toe to toe in a training ground bust up of epic proportions in 1998. Little Israeli playmaker Berkovic was taken out by bustling Welsh striker Hartson in a practice match and as the latter tried to help Berkovic up, the Israeli reacted angrily and punched Hartson in the leg. Cue an Eric Cantona-esque karate kick from Hartson that demolished Berkovic.

Joey Barton and Ousmane Dabo

One of soccer’s bad boys had to get in here somewhere (Joey Barton could have his own bust up top five…) and his fight with Man City teammate Dabo was shocking on so many levels. Barton spent four months in prison for the brutal attack and was sold to Newcastle upon his release. Barton battered Dabo and had to be dragged away by multiple players as this was a step too far, even for him. Barton showed no remorse: “Where I come from there are no rules. You fight until it’s over.” Yikes.

Oguchi Onyewu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

USA, USA, USA… Sorry, got a little caught up there. But remember when Onyewu was an AC Milan defender a few seasons ago? Okay, good. Well, you may have not remembered that Onyewu stuck the indomitable Zlatan flat on his backside in a training ground altercation. Zlatan’s a big dude, but why on earth would he ever mess with Gooch? Only one winner, and the American defender won hands down.

NOTE: For the record Osvaldo was said to have landed a headbutt on Fonte and then punched him. Rumors of the Italian international wielding a sword around Southampton’s training ground are off the mark. We think.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images
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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

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The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

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Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

https://www.transfermarkt.com/paul-arriola/leistungsdaten/spieler/189876

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).