Felipe Melo regrets fighting with Riera
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Felipe Melo (C) and Albert Riera (R) participate to the Galatasaray training for the first time after involving in a dressing room brawl last week. AA photo.
Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo announced his regret yesterday for getting involved in a fight with his Galatasaray teammate Albert Riera, after the two players were forgiven by the Istanbul club.
“Unfortunately, I have been part of an event that nobody wanted to happen,” Melo said at a press conference held yesterday. “Some arguments can happen during training sessions, but what happened afterward, I don’t approve of at all. I regret the event.”
Galatasaray announced on April 10 that it had called Melo and Riera back to training about a week after the two players were involved in a locker room fight.
Melo reportedly punched Riera in the eye after a quarrel during the days training session continued in the dressing room of the team’s Florya Metin Oktay facilities.
Coach Fatih Terim left the two players out of the Galatasaray squad roster for the match against Manisaspor on April 8, the last day of the Spor Toto Super League regular season, but the duo have been added back to the team starting with the playoff process.
“Such an event happened for the first time in my career – it should not have happened at all. It was a first and will be the last, I want to stress that,” Melo said.
“I talked with my friend Riera and apologized to him, and he accepted my apology,” he added.
Melo, who is on loan from Juventus, is arguably having his most prolific season in European football this season, scoring 10 goals for Galatasaray in 30 games. He was instrumental in the team’s successful run during the regular season, which ended in a nine-point lead over their closest rival and was deemed a key member of the Galatasaray midfield, along with playmaker Selçuk İnan.
Riera, on the other hand, has failed to live up to expectations this season.
Last week it was highly debated whether Galatasaray would continue to punish the two players in the playoffs, the deciding period of the season. Regular season points were halved going into the playoffs, and Galatasaray will try to defend its five-point lead over Fenerbahçe and 11-point lead over Trabzonspor and Beşiktaş.
Galatasaray starts the championship playoff round with a match against Beşiktaş on April 15.
“The [fight] made me really sad. I admit that I cried at home after [being removed from the squad], but on the other hand, it motivated me to do better. I will show it in the future in the best way possible,” Melo said.
Meanwhile, Galatasaray’s Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera said the team should not let the title race go to the wire. “I would like to see us win our first games and clinch the title as early as possible,” he said. “There is no need to wait any longer for the title".
TFF coins new cup for ‘others’
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) announced that the eight teams not going into the post-season will participate in the Spor Toto Cup.
The top four teams of the Super League will start the championship playoff, while teams from fifth to eighth spots will also enter the Europa League playoffs.
Following criticism that the 10 teams will have months off, the TFF decided to form the Spor Toto Cup for “eight teams from the ninth to 18th spots willing to join.”
Ankaragücü, Karabükspor, Orduspor and Samsunspor will play in Group A, while Gençlerbirliği, Gaziantepspor, Kayserispor and Antalyaspor will be in Group B. The winners of the each group will play each other in a final.