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Napoli manager accused of homophobia, uses 'I have gay friends' defense

Maurizio Sarri is in trouble.

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Inter boss Roberto Mancini says Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri shouted gay slurs at him during the Coppa Italia match between the two teams, and called him a racist for good measure. "I got up to ask about the five minutes of injury time and he yelled 'f****t'," Mancini said. "The fourth official heard everything, but didn't say a word, and I was sent off."

Sarri claimed he didn't remember exactly what he said. "I was not discriminating against anyone," said Sarri. "If I did indeed use those words, then I apologize to the gay community."

Later, Sarri went on TV to defend himself and said that he can't be homophobic because he has gay friends. It looks likely that Sarri will get a two-match ban for his comments.

Goal of the day

Stevan Jovetic's opener from that Coppa match. (r/soccer)

In the news

Bolton Wanderers are super broke and have told their staff they might not get paid for January. (BBC)

The German FA has backed Gianni Infantino for FIFA president. (Guardian)

Clint Dempsey chose to skip USMNT camp to focus on injury prevention. (ESPN FC)

Lionel Messi says he won't play for a European club other than Barcelona. (Mirror)

West Ham have signed Leeds defender Sam Byram. (West Ham)

And Norwich signed Steven Naismith from Everton. (Norwich City)

You should be reading

Tom Duggins on the great Championship Manager 99-00. (Vice)

Flavio Fusi has a Serie A half-season stats review. (Stats Bomb)

Barney Ronay on the disjointed squad Jürgen Klopp has to make do with. (Guardian)

Fun with transfer rumors

Silly season has returned. Please don't take anything in this section too seriously.

Chelsea are apparently signing Pato. Okay. (Guardian)

Everton told Manchester United that Romelu Lukaku will cost £65m. (ESPN FC)

Real Madrid could sign Boca Juniors teenager Rodrigo Bentancur. (Mirror)

West Ham might make an offer for Daniel Sturridge. (Telegraph)

Dortmund are interested in Stephan El Shaarawy. (Football Italia)

What to watch on Wednesday (click for listings, all times ET)

FA Cup replays: Two games (2:45 p.m.) -- Exeter tries to pull the upset on Liverpool, while Leicester faces Spurs.

Copa del Rey: Two games (2:30 p.m.) -- Atleti and Barca are both in action.


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