AC Milan claim Gennaro Gattuso incident blown out of proportion

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The Independent Football

AC Milan managing director Adriano Galliani claims the headbutting incident which today saw AC Milan vice-captain Gennaro Gattuso charged with gross unsporting misconduct has been blown out of proportion.

Gattuso headbutted Tottenham coach Joe Jordan after the two sides' Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday.

UEFA have announced their control and disciplinary body will discuss the case against the 33-year-old Italian next Monday.

Gattuso first clashed with Jordan during Spurs' 1-0 win at the San Siro, then confronted the former Scotland international at full-time.

Former Rangers midfielder Gattuso was booked during the match and also clashed repeatedly with Tottenham striker Peter Crouch.

The headbutting incident led to widespread condemnation of the former Rangers midfielder and today's official charge from UEFA.

But Galliani believes there has been too much focus on the incident.

Galliani told the Italian press today: "What he did was an unpleasant episode that was not good, but he was heavily provoked.

"Of course you should not react like that but do not condemn everything.

"Gattuso has played 104 games in Europe and has been sent off once, in 2003 after a clash with (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, who is now his team-mate.

"In 25 years, since (Silvio) Berlusconi became president of the company, Milan's conduct has been exemplary."

Galliani added: "We are not thinking of stripping the vice-captaincy from Gattuso."

Gattuso's caution in the San Siro match - awarded for a rash challenge on Steven Pienaar after which the Italian repeatedly hit the turf in anger - ensures he will be suspended for the return leg at White Hart Lane on March 9.

That ban is set to be extended when UEFA's control and disciplinary body meet on Monday to discuss the case. UEFA rules stipulate a minimum three-match ban for assault, although the governing body have the power to dole out lengthier suspensions in exceptional cases.

Galliani added: "We will produce our defence tomorrow and ask for Gattuso's behaviour over 104 games to be taken into account, then we'll see what to do after the ruling."

Gattuso's agent Claudio Pasqualin has stated that Jordan used provocative language towards the midfielder prior to their clash. Spurs have declined to comment on his claims.

Gattuso apologised for his actions, saying: "I lost control. There is no excuse for what I did. I take my responsibilities for that.

"I was nervous. I didn't want to argue with players and I did it with him, but I was wrong to do what I have done."