Sporting chaos as entire first-team squad suspended by fuming club president

Having criticised his players on the back of a Europa League defeat by Atletico Madrid, those in the firing line have now been removed from the fold

Chaotic scenes at Portuguese giants Sporting have seen 19 players suspended amid a war of words between the first-team squad and outspoken president Bruno de Carvalho.

According to reports in Portugal, the Primeira Liga side will be forced to field a B team against Pacos de Ferreira on Sunday as a result of a remarkable breakdown in professional relations.

Emotions have come to the boil in Lisbon in the wake of a 2-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of a Europa League quarter-final tie.

Carvalho was less than impressed by the efforts of his side in the Spanish capital and took to social media to air his displeasure – with certain individuals, such as Sebastian Coates, Jeremy Mathieu, Gelson Martins, Fabio Coentrao and Bas Dost, being singled out in a public domain.

A snippet of the Facebook post read: “Our 11 men should have doubled efforts on the pitch to become 22.

"Coates and Mathieu did what the Atletico forwards couldn't do on their own. Instead of 22 it was if we had nine players.”

Gelson was criticised for spurning a chance in front of goal, while Coentrao and Dost were accused of picking up bookings as they did not want to play in the return date of a contest slipping away from Sporting.

Unsurprisingly, those in the firing line did not take too kindly to the comments and quickly offered a response of their own.

A collective message posted through Portugal international goalkeeper Rui Patricio’s Instagram account made it clear that senior stars were not prepared to accept such actions from their president.

They said: “On behalf of the Sporting squad, through this joint statement, we express our disgust with our president’s public statements after yesterday’s game for which we did not achieve the result we desired.

“The lack of support at this moment from the one who is supposed to be our leader, pointing the finger to publicly blame an athlete’s performance when a group is ruled by its combined effort.”


Somos Sporting Clube de Portugal, em nome do plantel, somos a informar o seguinte... Suamos, lutamos e honramos sempre a camisola que vestimos. Não somos perfeitos e não acreditamos em jogadores perfeitos, porque queremos sempre evoluir! Não existem jogadores nem equipas perfeitas, mas quando as coisas não correm como queremos, sabemos assumir as nossas responsabilidades. Todos nós temos de o fazer! Quando vencemos, empatamos ou perdemos… sim… porque no Futebol estes são os resultados possíveis, a responsabilidade é sempre de todos! Somos uma equipa! Somos um grupo unido de um Grande Clube onde o respeito é uma das bases necessárias a essa união. Não podemos pensar apenas no “Eu”, mas sim “Nós” e sempre na equipa, porque só assim poderemos vencer. No nosso Clube, nas seleções nacionais que representamos, sempre damos e continuaremos a dar o nosso melhor, porque o querer é uma constante. Somos profissionais, somos humanos! A nossa integridade e o nosso compromisso são sagrados! Esforço, dedicação, devoção e glória sempre! Damos o máximo pelo Sporting Clube de Portugal, damos o máximo por nós próprios enquanto equipa, individualmente enquanto atletas. Lutamos pelo nosso Clube, pelos nossos adeptos e por nós, sempre! Não há outra forma séria de estar no Futebol Profissional que não seja esta… Por esta razão, em nome de todo o plantel do SCP, espelhamos neste texto o nosso desagrado, por vir a publico as declarações do nosso Presidente, após o jogo de ontem, no qual obtivemos um resultado que não queríamos… a ausência de apoio, neste momento…, daquele que deveria ser o nosso líder. Apontar o dedo para culpabilizar o desempenho dos atletas publicamente, quando a união de um grupo se rege pelo esforço conjunto, seja qual for a situação que estejamos a passar, todos os assuntos resolvem-se dentro do grupo. Saibamos ver que, por maiores que sejam as dificuldades, ainda há muito para disputar. Temos uma recta final em várias competições e vamos, haja o que houver, unidos e coesos, dar o máximo pelo Sporting Clube de Portugal. Somos Sporting Clube de Portugal.

A post shared by Rui Patricio (@rpatricio1) on

Carvalho refused to let the issue lie and said in a Facebook post which has since been deleted: "All the players who wrote the message cited below are suspended with immediate effect and will face disciplinary procedures.

“These spoiled children think they'll go far, but this time my patience has worn out for those who think they are above the club and any criticism.”

Carvalho has previous when it comes to blasting Sporting stars he considers to be underperforming.

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Back in 2015, during Marco Silva’s reign as manager, he criticised his players following a 3-0 defeat to Vitoria Guimaraes.

He also stormed the dressing room last season after a loss to Chaves, leading to Adrien Silva and William Carvalho delivering a “calls to arms” on the club’s in-house television channel.

It remains to be seen what the fall-out from the latest squabble will be, with third-placed Sporting seemingly set to be without the vast majority of their first-team squad for the immediate future.

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