Forget Oscar-Costa, here’s our most famous training ground fights

Date published: Friday 8th January 2016 12:18

John Hartson & Eyal Berkovic: In happier times at West Ham

John Hartson & Eyal Berkovic: In happier times at West Ham

With Oscar and Diego Costa reportedly falling out in training on Thursday, we take a look at football’s more infamous training ground bust-ups.

Oscar played down Thursday’s training-ground altercation with Chelsea team-mate Costa, after tensions boiled over when robust tackles were exchanged during training at the Blues’ Cobham base.

Here, TEAMtalk takes a look at some other incidents when tempers were raised on the practice pitches.


Wales striker Hartson and his then West Ham team-mate Berkovic came to blows when clashing on the training ground during September 1998. After being struck on the leg following a tackle, Hartson booted the Israeli in the face, with the incident filmed by a television crew. Hartson was fined by both his club and the Football Association. Hartson, who has recently started a career as a media pundit, later admitted he “felt ashamed” by the incident, which he labelled “the biggest regret of my career” and has now made up with Berkovic.


Steven Taylor & Andy Carroll: Former Newcastle team-mates

Newcastle duo Carroll and Taylor reportedly clashed in March 2010, with defender Taylor suffering a broken jaw that left him in hospital. The Magpies went on to secure promotion back to the Premier League under Chris Hughton, but Taylor would not play again that season as he slowly returned to fitness.


Following a heated argument after some heavy challenges, Barton ended up fighting then Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo at the club’s Carrington training ground in May 2007, which left the French international with a detached retina. Barton was given a four-month suspended prison sentence for the assault, while also fined and banned for six matches as well as ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.


It is not just team-mates who can sometimes end up toe-to-toe on the training ground. A flashpoint, which was snapped by photographers, between then Manchester City manager Mancini and striker Balotelli made headlines in January 2013. Balotelli was ordered off the training pitch following a lunge at Scott Sinclair, but refused to leave. That prompted an infuriated Mancini to attempt to drag the player away, and the two Italians were eventually separated by assistant boss Brian Kidd.

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