RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The row over Cruzeiro forward Kerlon’s so-called seal dribble continued on Wednesday when a player who was sent off for fouling him was banned for 120 days.
Atletico Mineiro defender Coelho’s crude foul on Kerlon 10 days ago sparked a brawl on the field and a national debate over whether the teenager’s cheeky trick was an attempt to belittle his opponents.
“I’m very sad to be remembered for this,” Coelho told reporters after being banned by a disciplinary hearing. “Now, we just have to wait for the appeal.”
The incident happened late in the game with Cruzeiro winning 4-3.
Kerlon collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area, flicked it up and performed his trademark dribble by bouncing the ball on his head as he ran towards goal.
The move sent the Cruzeiro fans wild but was interrupted when Coelho crashed into him and was given a straight red card.
Other Atletico players remonstrated angrily with Kerlon, leading to an angry pushing match which interrupted the game for five minutes.
Atletico coach Emerson Leao warned that Kerlon could get seriously injured if he tried the trick again and said he had broken a code of ethics under which players avoid trying to ridicule the opposition.
Cruzeiro retorted that Kerlon had done nothing illegal and was simply producing the artistry for which Brazilian football has become famous.
Even Brazil coach Dunga joined the debate.
He seemed to side with Coelho, describing the foul as a “normal tackle” and saying he wanted to see Kerlon try the dribble when his team were losing.