MILAN: AC Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has dismissed complaints about a Nigel de Jong tackle during Tuesday’s friendly match against Bayern Munich by saying that “football is not ballet.”
De Jong found himself involved in another row over his rugged playing style when a tackle on Joshua Kimmich led to the Bayern player being taken off after only 20 minutes.
“I didn’t see De Jong’s tackle on Kimmich, but football is not ballet and fouls are part of the match,” Mihajlovic told reporters after the game, according to Italian media.
“For that reason, games such as this one can not be defined as friendlies.”
The match, won 3-0 by Bayern, was part of a pre-season tournament in Munich.
The incident led to an angry confrontation between De Jong and Bayern coach Pep Guardiola outside the dressing room at halftime, caught by television cameras.
De Jong, 30, has earned a fearsome reputation for his tackling during his career.
In October 2010, when playing for Manchester City, he broke the leg of Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa in an English Premier League match with a tackle.
He was subsequently dropped from the Netherlands team by coach Bert van Marwijk as a result.
He also became notorious for a karate kick tackle on Spain’s Xabi Alonso during the World Cup final the same year, where he escaped a sending off.