Paolo Di Canio ‘slapped’ man standing in way of Man City’s Treble during row

Paolo Di Canio said Inter Milan boss Simone Inzaghi 'had a brain the size of a peanut' following an on-pitch bust-up.

The pair played together between 2004 and 2006 when the West Ham hero returned to his boyhood club, but clashed on his second debut over the taking of a penalty.

Di Canio was determined to take the spot kick after 14 years away from his spiritual home – but Inzaghi had other ideas having entered his sixth consecutive season in the Italian capital.

A debate boiled over when the future Swindon and Sunderland boss slapped the Italy international on the pitch – and he hadn't forgiven him two years later.

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Di Canio told FourFourTwo in 2006: "With Inzaghi, it was my first game after 16 years away from Lazio, my Lazio, with the score 0-0 and a penalty awarded – you need a brain the size of a peanut to think that I wouldn’t take it.

"Inzaghi is selfish. He prefers to lose 4-3 and score a hat-trick than win 3-0 without scoring – the complete opposite of me. Inzaghi had missed a penalty a year before because he’d tried to chip the ball and he thought he had the right to break my balls at my Lazio?

"Do you know what he told me in the dressing room? Nothing. He had no guts."

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The controversial Di Canio managed Swindon and Sunderland before stepping away from management, with Inzaghi going from strength-to-strength.

Following five years with Lazio in which he tasted Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana glory, he took over at Inter in 2021.

Back-to-back Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana triumphs have followed as well as their Champions League final appearance in Istanbul against huge favourites Manchester City.

Qualification came thanks to their semi-final win over rivals AC Milan, where older brother Filippo Inzaghi spent 11 years of his playing career.

Inzaghi has said of the task at hand: "We know what kind of match to expect tomorrow, we know what kind of match we have to play. We know that Manchester City right now is probably the best team in the world.

"They have proved so in being defeated very few times, but we are aware of our Champions League campaign, we are proud of what we have done."

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