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Dani Osvaldo - the controversial history of Saints' record signing
12:26pm Thursday 23rd January 2014 in Sport
SAINTS record signing Dani Osvaldo is certainly no stranger to controversy.
The Johnny Depp lookalike once punched a teammate for not passing to him, he was sent off five times for club and country in 2012 alone, and was booed by some Roma fans despite scoring his first Serie A hat-trick in April last year.
The man who was today suspended by Saints for a fortnight due to a training ground incident involving team-mate Jose Fonte was once demoted to the Roma bench for a supposed lack of effort in training.
Osvaldo - only just back from a three-game FA suspension - pulled out of a club tour of America by sending Roma officials a sick note.
In a game at Sampdoria, he hijacked Francesco Totti’s penalty duties and subsequently missed a crucial spot-kick.
While suspended for the derby against Lazio, he opted to fly to London with his new girlfriend Jimena rather than watch his teammates play.
Then, after losing the Italian Cup final last year, Osvaldo tweeted his dislike of his own manager who had kept him on the bench for most of the game against Lazio.
That controversy saw him dropped from Italy’s squad for last summer’s Confederations Cup tournament in Brazil.
Osvaldo was sent off three times in the first half of the 2012/13 season.
The first two red cards arrived at the San Siro in Milan – the first for Roma against Inter and the second for Italy in a World Cup qualifier against Denmark.
In the latter game, he lashed out at Nicolai Stokholm just 16 seconds into the second half and was handed a straight red card.
That was Osvaldo’s eighth dismissal of his career.
Number nine followed in December 2012 in an Italian Cup tie against Atalanta, for throwing an elbow at an opponent.
The previous season, 2011/12, had seen Osvaldo sent off twice for Roma.
After he was dismissed at Atalanta in February 2012, he was later dismissed while playing against a Fiorentina side that included his current St Mary’s colleague Artur Boruc in goal.
Prior to that spate of red cards, he was suspended by his club for punching teammate E r i c Lamela in the dressing room.
Lamela’s crime? Not passing to Osvaldo during a 2-0 defeat against Udinese.
Suspended for 10 days by the club, Osvaldo missed the next game away to Fiorentina. Roma lost 3-0 and had three players sent off.
In the Italian press, Osvaldo was harshly adjudged to have contributed to it and apportioned some of the blame.
“The thing with Lamela was just the passion of the moment,” Osvaldo has since said of his spat with the winger who now plays for Tottenham.
“I can be really annoying when it comes to this, as I always want the ball and admit I am as egotistical as most strikers.
“This incident, though, really was nothing.
“If I had Lamela’s left foot then I wouldn’t have passed the ball either.
“It was nothing personal, as it could’ve happened with Francesco Totti too...”
There were other incidents such as making a shushing gesture after scoring in the return fixture against Udinese.
According to the local paper Il Corriere dello Sport, it was supposedly aimed at general manager Franco Baldini after he’d questioned Osvaldo’s character.
When the Roma team was read out over the tannoy prior to last April’s game against Siena, a section of fans jeered when Osvaldo’s name was mentioned.
Some were still cat-calling after he scored the first of what ended up as his first league hat-trick.
Osvaldo first made his name in Italy when he scored a dramatic late winner in March 2008 with the help of a man who scored for Saints at Wembley two years later.
The first major red card of Osvaldo’s career came after he headed in a cross from former Saints loanee Papa Waigo to give Fiorentina a 3–2 win in stoppage time over fierce rivals Juventus.
He was dismissed for his goal celebration — after having been booked earlier in the match — when he removed his team jersey and pretended to machine gun his own fans in a similar fashion to Fiorentina legend Gabriel Batistuta’s goal celebration.
Just a few weeks after being booed by his own fans, Osvaldo hit the headlines again last May.
After only being used as a late substitute in the Italian Cup final, Osvaldo was seen arguing with Roma’s caretaker manager Aurelio Andreazzoli.
Osvaldo then went public with his grievances.
He sent a tweet aimed at Andreazzoli saying ‘You’d do more good if you admitted to being incompetent...Go celebrate with Lazio.’ Italian boss Cesare Prandelli was not impressed.
Osvaldo was later excluded from the Confederations Cup squad.
The official reason being he “deserted” the medal ceremony at the end of the Coppa Italia final without permission.
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