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Top ten bust-ups

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Skysports.com counts down some of the most famous touchline squabbles of recent seasons

Pre-season games do not usually provide much in the way of controversy but there was an exception to the rule in the recent friendly between Manchester City and Los Angeles Galaxy when Mario Balotelli became embroiled in an angry exchange with manager Roberto Mancini.

Touchline bust-ups are an ugly sight and those that get involved usually regret their actions later in the cold light of day, when the heat of battle has died down.

Sometimes, however, players and managers have been unable to control their emotions and have seen no other option but to vent their anger at an opponent - or, in this case, someone from the same side.

Skysports.com here counts down ten of the most famous squabbles in recent years.

Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli

Let us start with the most recent example and a furious touchline row between Mancini and Balotelli during Sunday's game in Los Angeles. The striker's elaborate showboating when put through on goal, which involved a complicated pivot followed by a backheel wide, infuriated his manager to such an extent that he was immediately substituted. The pair exchanged words as Balotelli made his way to the bench before sitting down and throwing a water bottle to the ground in disgust. Mancini felt the 20-year-old was being unprofessional and later fired a warning over his future conduct.

Roberto Mancini and Carlos Tevez

Players are supposed to respect a manager's decision when they are replaced but the incident with Balotelli was not the first time Mancini had incurred the wrath of one of his frontmen after an unpopular substitution. Back in December Carlos Tevez made his feelings clear after being taken off in the closing stages of a match against Bolton, storming towards Mancini before team-mate James Milner intervened. The Italian tactician later played down what happened by insisting he was happy to see that one of his players wanted to stay on the pitch.

Roberto Mancini and David Moyes

Another flashpoint involving Mancini, this time from 2009/10 and an altercation with David Moyes during Manchester City's 2-0 defeat at home to Everton. With time slipping away in a crucial encounter towards the end of the season, Moyes caught the ball after it bounced out of play and Mancini lunged at him to retrieve it as quickly as possible. The two men squared up to each other and were sent to the stands as a result, although both stressed after the final whistle there would be no lingering resentment.

Gennaro Gattuso and Joe Jordan

Perhaps the most memorable scuffle of recent times came at the end of the UEFA Champions League clash between AC Milan and Tottenham at the San Siro last season when Gennaro Gattuso confronted assistant Spurs coach Joe Jordan. The Italian midfielder disgraced himself by headbutting Jordan before several players from both sides became involved in a melee. Gattuso had already picked up a yellow card to rule him out of the return leg at White Hart Lane but he did not escape further punishment by Uefa and was banned for four more European matches.

Arsene Wenger and Kenny Dalglish

Tempers flared after an extraordinary conclusion to last season's Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool, which finished 1-1 after both sides scored from penalties deep into stoppage time. Liverpool's spot-kick was awarded with more than 100 minutes on the clock and Wenger could not believe how much had been added on, while he was also unhappy with the decision. He turned to Kenny Dalglish to voice his disappointment after the final whistle but found little sympathy as the Scot responded with an audible expletive, although the pair later played down the row.

Arsene Wenger and Mark Hughes

Wenger faced widespread criticism in 2009 for his decision not to shake hands with Mark Hughes after Arsenal's 3-0 loss to Manchester City in the Carling Cup. The Gunners manager headed straight down the tunnel after seeing his young side exit the competition, with the suggestion being that he was aggrieved at the Welshman stepping into his technical area during the match. Hughes later accused Wenger of not being 'too gracious' in defeat, but the Frenchman replied: "I am free to shake hands with whom I want."

Arsene Wenger and Alan Pardew

For such a seemingly mild-mannered character, Wenger has found himself at the centre of a number of bust-ups. The person he did not see eye to eye with in November 2006 was Alan Pardew, then in charge of West Ham, who celebrated with a pumped fist in the direction of Wenger when Marlon Harewood grabbed a surprise late winner. Wenger reacted angrily and officials on the touchline had to step in to keep the two managers apart. Wenger was fined £10,000 by the Football Association yet Pardew admitted his behaviour might have been antagonistic.

Nottingham Forest and Derby

Two for the price of one here, as both East Midlands derbies in 2009/10 were marred by fighting. Nathan Tyson, then of Nottingham Forest, taunted travelling Derby fans at the City Ground by waving a corner flag in celebration and players from both sides became involved in a mass brawl. There was another touchline skirmish in the return fixture and even the managers got in on the act, with Billy Davies accusing opposite number Nigel Clough of kneeing him in the back of the leg.

Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon

Any Old Firm match is keenly-contested in the extreme but last season's Scottish Cup fifth-round replay at Parkhead crossed the line. Three players saw red at Parkhead as the home team progressed 1-0 but tensions also boiled over on the touchline as Celtic boss Neil Lennon clashed with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist and the two men had to be dragged apart amid ugly scenes.

Paul Jewell and Rafa Benitez

There was little festive cheer at Pride Park on Boxing Day 2007 as managers Paul Jewell and Rafa Benitez squared up to each other following a challenge between Jay McEveley and Andriy Voronin on the pitch. McEveley was booked for the tackle which Benitez thought was a bad foul and Jewell viewed as innocuous, leading the two men to angrily exchange words before match officials calmed things down.

Comments (1)

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Paul Dunne (Liverpool fan) says...

the one between rafa benitez and steve bruce should be in here!

Posted 10:43 28th July 2011

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