Inter have beaten Napoli away from home for the first time in over 18 years (barring the Coppa Italia tie we won on penalties back in 2011), but nobody is talking about it. Stevan Jovetic answered his critics emphatically by scoring a wonderful opening goal and then laying on assist for Adem Ljajic to add a second, but nobody is talking about it. Fredy Guarin is set to complete an eye-watering €18m transfer to Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning, but nobody is talking about that either.
Instead, everyone - not just Inter and Napoli fans, and not just Italy, but probably the entire world - is going to spend the next few days talking about what happened in Rai Sport's post-match chat show, Zona 11pm. Just before the end of the game, following Ljajic's goal that sealed the Nerazzurri's passage into the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, Roberto Mancini was sent to the stands by referee Paolo Valeri after a heated touchline argument with Maurizio Sarri. Nobody was quite sure exactly what had sparked the argument, but Mancio was about to make things very, very clear indeed.
Linked here is a video (in Italian, of course) of the interview he gave to Luca De Capitani, and below is a transcript of what was said:
Mancini: "What was the argument about? Well you'll have to ask that to Sarri, because he's a racist and men like him cannot remain in football.
De Capitani: "OK, let's just try and explain this - so everything started after the signalling of the added time from the fourth official, and at that point some harsh words were used by Sarri in your direction?"
Mancini: "Yes, he used racist words. I got up off my bench to ask the fourth official 'but how on earth can it be five minutes of added time?', and at a certain point he started to hurl abuse at me, shouting 'faggot' and 'queer'. I would be proud to be so if I were, but... people like him cannot remain in football, otherwise football will never improve. He must be ashamed of himself, he's 60 years old - and the fourth official was there, he heard it and just said nothing".
De Capitani: "I only saw you being sent off..."
Mancini: "No, both of us were sent off, both of us."
De Capitani: "OK, thank you for your frankness Roberto, let's talk now about the match."
Mancini: "No, the match doesn't interest me at all. This cancels everything, because a 60 year-old man who behaves himself like this really is a disgrace, a disgrace. You can argue on the touchline, you can disagree over things - but he is a disgrace."
De Capitani: "But was there at least an attempt from him to clear things up afterwards..."
Mancini: "Yes, I went to look for him in the dressing room. He said 'I apologise' to me, but he can't just apologise to me, he has to be ashamed of himself, because in England a person who used those words would not even be allowed back onto a training pitch again. So I'm not talking about the match."
Studio guests: "Roberto, Roberto, what is it..."
Mancini: "No, no there's nothing to say. Ask Sarri, ask Sarri. I'm sorry, I'm a bit annoyed."
And with that, he left.
Following that, Sarri then turned up soon afterwards and explained himself like this: "I was annoyed at the red card given to Mertens, these are on-pitch matters and they should remain on the pitch. I realised immediately that I had said something and I tried to apologise to Mancini, but he was very annoyed. I think tomorrow he will accept the apology. I can't remember exactly what I said, they were insults motivated by my anger, but I don't have anything against Mancini whatsoever. It looked like an injustice not to give us a penalty and a couple of words escaped me, I lost my lucidity. I don't know what more I could have done than to try and apologise, I can't do more than this. To call those words 'homophobic' seems a little bit exaggerated to me, it seemed like a normal touchline argument to me - under stress these things can happen, I've certainly heard worse than that on a football pitch before."
In summary, he didn't really know what to say, so he squirmed and said a little bit of everything. I don't want to sit here and stick the boot into Sarri - although clearly this is a discussion that will absolutely need to be had, and by much more important people than me - but rather highlight what Mancini has done here. The fact that he had the courage to come on live television and denounce Sarri in this manner could be an absolutely fundamental gesture in the history of football in Italy, a country that has a soberingly long back catalogue of racism, homophobia and all other kinds of distasteful discrimination. This whole episode is extremely bitter and saddening, but thanks to Mancini's stance something good will come from this, of that there is no doubt.
And at this point, I don't really know what else to say, other than to thank Roberto sincerely for what he has done for homosexuals here. Given that I myself am one of them, I just want to stress how important it is that he took the stance he did in the manner he did. I appreciate it hugely, and I will not be the only one to feel that way. Grazie Mister. UNO DI NOI.