Arsenal fans have long been calling out for a midfield general in the mold of Patrick Vieira and, for a time, Brazil international and former Juventus midfielder Felipe Melo was seen as the ideal candidate for the role.
A battling midfield general known for his tough-tackling and all-round tenacity, Melo’s on-the-pitch behaviour saw him nicknamed “the pitbull” by fans at his former club Galatasaray.
He was also a reported target for Arsenal back in 2010. Now back in Brazil with Palmeiras, the 33-year-old proved his bark is nowhere near as bad as his bite after unleashing a flurry of fists on an opponent at the conclusion of a heated Copa Libertadores clash.
The craziest thing about the whole incident? Melo’s team had just won. Trailing 2-0 to Uruguayan outfit Penarol at half time, Palmeiras launched a stunning second-half comeback to win 3-2 with Melo in suitably ferocious form.
The Brazilian was far from happy come the final whistle though, and let his feelings be known with a seemingly unprovoked attack on an opposition substitute.
It was brutal to say the least, with Melo landing at least one, rather hefty, looking punch.
“SE PRECISAR, VOU DAR TAPA NA CARA NA CARA DE URUGUAIO”. FELIPE MELO CUMPRIU A PROMESSA! 😂ESSE MALUCO É PIKA SEM NEUROSE pic.twitter.com/FXcjMPTB39
— ZÉ PEQUENO DO POVO (@zepequenorj) April 27, 2017
There may have been more to the attack than initially met the eye though. Prior to game, Melo had accused several Penarol players of racist abuse and warned he would be facing up to them in the resulting clash.
Face up he did, with the midfielder’s shock attack sparking a major incident that first saw Melo chased by several Penarol stars before riot police were called in to deal with a combination of unruly fans and players.
Severe punishments now look likely, with Melo likely to receive the harshest punishment.
That’s why you don’t provoke a pitbull…