It’s not something you see every day in soccer: A player receiving a red card for head-butting and swinging at his own teammate.
It happened in a Monday Turkish Super Lig match involving Galatasaray, one of the biggest clubs in that league. With Galatasaray up 2-0 against Giresunspor, Brazilian center back Marcao was seen sprinting from his defensive position and charging at his teammate, 22-year-old winger Kerem Akturkoglu.
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Marcao proceeded to head-butt him and swing his arm at him twice before teammates intervened. The referee watched the video replay before issuing a straight red card ejection to Marcao.
Watch the entire sequence here:
The Laws of the Game (page 106) are clear that violent conduct, even against a teammate, is punishable by a red card: “Violent conduct is when a player uses or attempts to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball, or against a teammate, team official, match official, spectator or any other person, regardless of whether contact is made.”
It’s not yet clear what triggered the reaction from Marcao. As for Kerem, he was subbed out two minutes later, and Galatasaray head coach Fatih Terim appeared to console him on the sidelines. Terim addressed the incident after the match and indicated that the team will be dealing with the matter internally.
In the wake of the bizarre red card, a previous incident involving Marcao has resurfaced from a friendly against the Turkey Under-19 team last year. There was an alleged slap by Marcao, but no video of the altercation came to light.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time Marcao has struck a player on the pitch.
It’s claimed he hit Halil Dervisoglu during Galatasaray’s friendly vs the Turkey U19 team last year.
— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) August 16, 2021
The 25-year-old Marcao moved to Galatasaray in January 2019 after playing in Brazil (Athletico Paranaense, Atletico Goianiense) and Portugal (Rio Ave, Chaves). He made a total of 80 appearances in his previous two-and-a-half seasons with the club. The match against Giresunspor was Galatasaray’s Super Lig season opener.
Turkish reports indicated that Marcao was the subject of recent transfer interest from Russian club Dynamo Moscow. The transfer window in Russia doesn’t close until Oct. 17.