April 8, 2018 / 5:45 PM / in 9 months

Soccer-Spalletti, Mazzarri in odd but gripping handshake episode

MILAN, April 8 (Reuters) - Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti said he squeezed Torino counterpart Walter Mazzarri’s hand after being offered only a timid handshake by his rival in a bizarre episode following their Serie A match on Sunday.

Television cameras showed Spalletti, with a wild expression on his face, gripping Mazzarri’s hand and refusing to let go at the end of his team’s 1-0 defeat to Torino.

“When he shakes your hand, he’s always a little bit timid, even after he’s won a game,” said Spalletti.

“I complimented him, he sort of waved his fingertips in my direction and I said ‘if you want to give me your hand, give it to me.’ Then I squeezed it.

“He won, he can be happy, he has nothing to be afraid of.”

Former Napoli and Watford coach Mazzarri, who was facing Inter for the first time since being sacked by them in 2014, said he could not understand what the fuss was about.

“Why did he do that? When an opponent loses, what you should do is give him your hand and that’s what I did,” he said.

Mazzarri said there were no hard feelings against his former club.

“I don’t need to get my own back, the facts speak for themselves,” he said. “I don’t need to prove anything after 15 years on the bench. I had a positive experience at Inter and I’m happy.” (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne Editing by Ian Chadband)

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