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Football | Premier League

Di Canio said he asked to be sent off

From moments of sublime skill to crazy rushes of blood to the head, Paolo Di Canio has rarely been out of the news during his career playing and managing in England and the Italian's propensity for drama shows no sign of waning.

On Saturday, Di Canio was sent to the stands by referee Martin Atkinson during Sunderland's 3-1 home defeat by Arsenal which leaves his side rooted to the foot of the table with one point from four games.

Di Canio's patience had already been tested by a goal for Jozy Altidore being chalked off after Atkinson declined to play advantage after the Sunderland striker was fouled, then later he became involved in a verbal spat with the referee.

"He came to me and said 'if you keep going with your manner I will send you up to the stand'," Di Canio told the BBC.

"I said if you want to complete a perfect job, you can send me off. He took it seriously and sent me off.

"Next time I will never invite the referee to send me off because he took it seriously."

Since taking over in March, Di Canio has made headlines by telling his players they were not allowed to go on holiday immediately after the end of last season.

He also fined several players for failing to sign shirts for charity auctions.

While in charge at Swindon Town, former Lazio, Juventus, Milan and West Ham United striker Di Canio had an altercation with player Leon Clarke in the tunnel and famously substituted a goalkeeper after 22 minutes of another game, leading to another heated argument.


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