In the 77th minute of Inter's 0-0 draw against Atalanta on Sunday, Diego Forlan had a moment of insubordination not entirely unlike when Carlos Tevez "refused" to come off the bench for Man City during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich earlier this season. Except instead of City manager Roberto Mancini's approach of publicly stating that Tevez would never play for the club again before having to go back on that several months later, Inter manager Claudio Ranieri has taken a calmer approach while still exposing Forlan to the press.
"He did not refuse to come on," Ranieri said. "I simply asked if he was prepared to do this specific tactical work on the left.
"He replied with great honesty: 'No, coach, if I do have to come on then I prefer to do it playing in another way.' So I opted not to introduce him, as I needed something else."
He added on Sky Sport Italia: "It was a tactical decision. During the week Diego and I spoke about ideas in football and about how we can understand each other's."
So, instead of refusing to play, Forlan just said he didn't want to play where he was told and didn't enter the match. Got it.
But while Ranieri seems more interested in finding common ground with Forlan than reprimanding him for not doing as he's told, Inter great Sandro Mazzorla has taken a harsher stance and suggested Forlan should be sent home.
Last summer, when Tevez first demanded a transfer away from City, there was strong talk of him going to Inter. Maybe it's time the two clubs swap headaches. With Forlan being another former Man United player, City could even reuse that "Welcome to Manchester" billboard for him.
- Diego Forlan
- Claudio Ranieri