Bruno de Carvalho
Sporting Lisbon could field a team of youth players against Pacos Ferreira on Sunday as a result of a social media war between the club’s president and the players.
Bruno de Carvalho launched a rant on social media following Sporting’s 2-0 Europa League quarter-final first leg loss to Atletico Madrid on Thursday, accusing the club’s most experienced players of making “stupid mistakes” that “exacerbated our suffering”.
Some 19 first-team players hit back with their own social media post expressing their “unhappiness” and demanding “respect” from De Carvalho.
That only provoked the 46-year-old Sporting supremo to fire off an even more vitriolic outburst on Friday night, in which he suspended all 19 rebels.
“Spoilt brats who don’t respect anything or anyone, at Sporting we don’t live in a banana republic!” he said on Facebook, adding that all 19 were “immediately suspended” and would “face disciplinary sanctions”.
The rift made front page news in Portugal’s newspapers on Saturday.
Publico described it as a “revolt at the Alvalade” in reference to the name of Sporting’s stadium in Lisbon, while A Bola called it “All-out War”.
The latter also speculated that the club’s coach Jorge Jesus could resign, if he is deprived of 19 first-team players, including internationals Rui Patricio and William Carvalho, for Sunday’s match.
Sporting sit third in the League, six points behind city rivals Benfica and look increasingly unlikely to end their 16-year wait for a title triumph.
De Carvalho is a controversial character, who is in his second stint as chairman. In the 1980s he was a member of the club’s hardline ultra fan groups Juventude Leonina and Torcida Verde, and has been nicknamed the “supporter-president”.