We’ve all seen players stomp off the pitch in barely suppressed anger after their manager has subbed them out of a game. A far less common sight is a player communicating his post-subbing displeasure by walking off the pitch and straight over to the coach and attempting to kick his ass:
The irate player in question is Thiago dos Santos; playing the role of petrified manager is Edgardo Malvestiti. These two are both under the employ of Bolivian club, Nacional Potosí, and clearly they do not get along. It all came to a head in front of everyone during the first half of their match against Sport Boys on Monday, when Malvestiti decided to take the Brazilian out of the game only a half an hour into it.
In an interview with Brazilian news outlet, Globo Esporte, dos Santos had the opportunity to explain himself. There he said Malvestiti had been yelling at him all game, even though dos Santos believed himself to be playing well, and made the decision to yank the Brazilian attacker after he had misplayed two consecutive passes. Though dos Santos did admit that he wished he wouldn’t have reacted with such explosive anger in the heat of the moment, he still defended himself and his actions by claiming that no one—not his teammates, nor anyone else with knowledge of Malvestiti’s history—was taking the coach’s side. “In Bolivia, if you ask if anyone wants to work with Malvestiti,” dos Santos told Globo, “everyone will say, ‘I do not want to.’”
Dos Santos went on to say that he and Malvestiti have long had a tumultuous relationship, and the dust-up during the game on Monday was just the flashpoint. The reason for the beef? His theory is that Malvestiti has something against Brazilians. “I think even if I had Neymar, Marcelo, Coutinho on my team,” dos Santos said, “the coach would find a way to get them out of the team.”
When asked how his current teammates responded to his actions, dos Santos said that they were all on his side. He said the team’s captain told the Nacional board that “nobody wants to work with this coach, because he treats people badly.”Dos Santos has played in Bolivia for three years now for multiple teams, and said he has a good reputation there—a much better one than Malvestiti—that has helped people appreciate that things had to be pretty bad for an otherwise even-keel guy to react like that. “Here in Bolivia I am a very beloved player, people really like me. Because wherever I’ve gone, I’ve made friendships and have the affection of everyone.”