AC Milan midfielders Franck Kessie and Tiemoue Bakayoko were made to apologise after disrespecting Francesco Acerbi’s shirt and holding it up like a trophy after Milan beat Lazio and the players swapped shirts.
Swapping shirts at the end of a game is a tradition between footballers, usually at the end of knockout games or big important fixtures, that shows respect between the two players on opposing teams.
In the past there has been criticism over the act when it’s happened at half time or when it seems that a players is more interested in swapping shirts than he is playing in the fixture.
On Saturday night in Italy the act attracted criticism after two AC Milan players used to gesture to show off to their fans that they had the shirt, like a trophy.
In the lead up to the match Acerbi had claimed that Lazio were the better team and his claim was responded to by Tiemoue Bakayoko saying he would ‘see you on Sunday’ to the 31 year old Italian.
After the match, with Milan winning 1-0 through Kessie’s 79th minute penalty, Acerbi swapped shirts with Bakayoko to end any bad feeling between the pair.
Instead the two Rossoneri midfielders paraded the shirt in front of their own fans, and showed it off, like a mark of victory:
Acredi clearly wasn’t happy with what happened, saying after the match, “I’m sorry because I exchanged the shirt to put an end to the [social media] matter. Fomenting hatred is not sport but a sign of weakness.”
Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso apologised for his players, saying, “We should apologise to Lazio for that gesture, and this week we’ll train one hour more instead that wasting time on social network”.
Bakayoko then took to Twitter to apologise for the incident, saying, “Mine was a playful gesture I didn’t want to disrespect anyone. I beg your pardon if you felt offended.”
A video of the incident shows that midfielder Lucas Biglia, as well as others, tried to stop the two midfielders showing the shirt to the crowd:
The win cemented Gattuso’s side’s place in the top four as they try to confirm a place in next season’s Champions League and made it very difficult for Simeone Inzaghi’s side to catch them.
With just seven games left of the season they’re six points off fourth place Milan and more importantly have Torino, Atalanta and Roma all ahead of them vying for the spot with Milan and Inter.