During the training ahead of Sunday’s Week 34 game against Manisaspor, Melo and Riera got into an argument and exchanged curses. Coach Fatih Terim sent them both to the locker room to make up as he usually does in similar cases. After hearing the raised voices of the two footballers from the locker room, Terim and two other managers, Ali Dürüst and Abdurrahim Albayrak, rushed inside to see what was going on. The locker room was reportedly locked by Melo while he beat Riera, causing injuries to the Spaniard that required hospitalization. Riera was taken to Bahçelievler Medical Park Hospital.
The Galatasaray board gathered on short notice to discuss the incident. Chairman Ünal Aysal and several other top managers conveyed their opinions regarding the issue by phone, and the majority of the board members reportedly agreed that a severe penalty must be issued. A number of managers suggested the termination of Melo’s contract before the Super Final games scheduled to kick off on April 16. Melo is playing for Galatasaray on a season-long loan.
Melo has been nicknamed Pitbull by Galatasaray fans, and reports in the Turkish media appeared with headlines such as “Pitbull attacks Riera.”
Galatasaray officials issued a statement on the club’s official website on Thursday, saying the players involved in the locker room fight will be subject to an immediate penalty based upon the club’s disciplinary regulations for players.
Coach Terim will have the final say about the players. He said during Friday’s training that both players will be sidelined during Sunday’s game. Their future at Galatasaray will be decided later. Manager Albayrak declined to comment on the incident, but he underscored that the most important thing is team discipline. “It’s too soon to say anything. Nobody is bigger than Galatasaray,” he told reporters on the day of the locker room fight, adding that it not unusual to have changes in the line-up since it is common for players to switch teams.