Never have a pair of football boots caused so much confusion and controversy in Serie A.
Here’s the background. At the weekend, one of the fiercest rivalries in the game was played out as AC Milan met city opponents Inter. Inter were to run out winners 4 – 0. So far, all pretty straight forward.
But after the game, the accusations started flying around claiming that Dutch international Clarence Seedorf wasn’t prepared when required as a substitute. The reason? He was wearing trainers rather than his personalised adidas adiPure II football boots.
Worse was to follow. In the delay getting Seedorf ready, Rini Gattuso was forced to play on while injured. While doing so, he gave away a penalty and was then sent off as Milan went down to 10 men.
However, Seedorf has reacted furiously to the claims that he wasn’t ready when his team mates needed him saying:
I had a very strong desire to play and get out there, to be ready for anything the coach needed, and that is what happened.
When we were 1-0 down [Massimo] Ambrosini was meant to come on. When the penalty happened I went to warm up in the players’ tunnel, which is probably about 50 metres long.
I was wearing trainers and not slippers, as some newspapers claimed. This is all an offence against my professionalism. I warmed up inside before anyone actually told me to. Therefore I anticipated a decision that would later be made by the coach.
I was returning from a 40-day injury lay-off and in the last week had a calf problem, which is why I had the trainers on.
One thing seems certain. When Seedorf next makes his way pitch side, his adiPure II’s will be on his feet rather than in his kit bag.