May 13, 2019 / 8:49 AM / a month ago

Soccer: Five talking-points from the Serie A weekend

MILAN (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly made fun of an opponent’s height, a Sassuolo player was sent off for a semi-shirtless celebration and Gambia’s Musa Barrow gave a timely reminder of his potential in Serie A at the weekend.

Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma v Juventus - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 12, 2019 Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo with AS Roma's Alessandro Florenzi REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

RONALDO REPORTEDLY TELLS FlORENZI HE IS “TOO SMALL TO TALK”

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly made fun of AS Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi’s height as they two were involved in angry exchange during Sunday’s match at the Stadio Olimpico.

Ronaldo put his finger over his mouth and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport and numerous other Italian media, told his opponent that “you are too small to talk.”

The referee intervened, Ronaldo then hugged Florenzi who looked less than enthusiastic.

“Ronaldo thinks that because he was won the Ballon D’Or, he can do what he wants,” said Florenzi afterwards. He added: “I sometimes do and say stupid things and it stays on the pitch.”

Ronaldo did not comment on the incident.

BARROW GIVES A TIMELY REMINDER OF HIS TALENT

Atalanta’s 20-year-old forward Musa Barrow gave a timely reminder of his potential by scoring the opening goal in the 2-1 win over Genoa, almost immediately after coming on as a halftime substitute.

The Gambian ended last season with a flourish, scoring three Serie A goals in quick succession, and made a flying start to this season with four goals in the Europa League qualifiers.

But he has gone off the boil since then, playing only 539 minutes in Serie A this season and had to wait until Saturday for his first league goal.

“That first goal of the season is very important,” he said. “I’ve not had an easy season, I’ve had to wait a long time for my moment which for a forward is never easy.”

SASSUOLO PLAYER SENT OFF FOR SEMI-SHIRTLESS CELEBRATION

Sassuolo defender Mehdi Bourabia enjoyed a bitter-sweet match against Torino as the scored the opening goal in the 28th minute — but was then sent off for his celebration.

The Moroccan had been booked after 15 minutes and celebrated his goal by lifting up his shirt and covering his head, in the style of former player Fabrizio Ravanelli. The referee judged it merited a another booking and dismissed him.

With a one-man advantage for over an hour, Torino went on to win 3-2.

“I feel sorry for Bourabia, as it was his first goal in Serie A and up until that point he had been playing really well,” said Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi.

“We still don’t understand why he got the first yellow card, while the red definitely affected the rest of the game for us.”

Many feeling the rule which bans shirtless celebrations is both unnecessary and ineffective — players are often

happy to pay for their moment of joy with a yellow card.

ROW BREWING OVER KICKOFF TIMES

Serie A’s decision to move back the kickoff time of next week’s Juventus-Atalanta match has had the unfortunate knock-on effect of upsetting AC Milan.

Atalanta and Milan are direct rivals in the race for Champions League places with the Bergamo-based side currently three points ahead of Gennaro Gattuso’s team.

Atlanta’s match was originally scheduled for a 1500 kickoff time on Sunday, local time, but was moved back to a 2030 slot to give them more time to recover from Wednedsay’s Coppa Italia final against Lazio.

That means that AC Milan must now play first, hosting relegated Frosinone at 1800. The ANSA news agency reported that Milan want their game played at the same time as Atalanta — which would leave the valuable 1800 slot without a game.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH FROM SAMP

Sampdoria’s performance in their 2-1 defeat at home to relegation candidates Empoli was “not good enough” according to coach Marco Giampaolo.

“We have to fight the temptation to be ordinary,” said Giampaolo whose side are stuck are in midtable, safe for relegation but with no chance of qualifying for Europe.

“It wasn’t a bad season from this squad, but we had to perform differently today and remember we are representing an historic club with wonderful fans who deserve more respect.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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