Lazio have branded comments made by forward Keita Balde Diao as “incredibly aggressive and heavily offensive statements”.
The 21-year-old launched a scathing attack on coach Simone Inzaghi after the former Italy international publicly questioned the youngster’s attitude following his request to be removed from Lazio’s squad for the Serie A clash with Atalanta on Sunday due to a knee injury.
And the club has now responded in full force, claiming Keita’s comments have been made to engineer a move away from Lazio, and that the player is in fact not carrying an injury.
“SS Lazio considers unacceptable the behaviour of the player Keita Balde Diao who decided to desert the [squad for] first game of the championship with the excuse of a left knee injury,” a club statement said.
“The player Keita Balde Diao has also released a series of incredibly aggressive and heavily offensive statements against SS Lazio and its top executives.
“All the evidence points to facilitating a transfer to guarantee the interests of potential buyers and intermediaries to the expense of Lazio and its fans.
“It is certainly understandable that a young talented footballer aspires to further his career. But in no case can this ambition turn into an act of non-professionalism against the club to which he is bound by a contract that will expire in two years.
“It is a gesture of mistrust and arrogance towards his team-mates and a manifestation of disloyalty to a fan base that has the right to count on highly motivated professionals to represent the values and colours [of the club].”
Keita has been one of the brightest young talents in Serie A over recemt seasons, netting five goals and contributing eight assists in all competitions last term.