WATCH: Football fans laud Ajax ballboy’s no-nonsense policy for time-wasting as he hurls ball at Roma player’s face
Football fans have hailed the actions of a cheeky Ajax ballboy during Thursday's Europa League fixture with Serie A side Roma, as the youngster hurled the ball at Riccardo Calafiori as he dallied over the taking of a throw-in.
We're well used to seeing the famed 'red mist' descend on players during high profile European fixtures, but evidence from Roma's 2-1 win at the Johann Cruyff ArenA has showed that even some some ballboys aren't immune to lashing out on a football pitch (or on the sidelines, at least).
Former Everton man Davy Klaasen had given the hosts an early advantage before goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Rober Ibanez turned the tide in Roma's favor late on.
With Ajax pushing forward for a late equalizer as the game entered stoppage time, Roma were understandably keen to wind down the clock - but one teenage ballboy at the side of the pitch clearly wasn't having it, as he threw the ball at speed directly at the chest of Roma substitute Riccardo Calafiori in an apparent bid to speed up the player's tardiness in taking a late throw-in.
The 18-year-old Calafiori initially reacted as many European footballers are prone to: by grasping at his chest as if he had been shot before abandoning his theatrics to confront the offending youngster.
To add insult to, well, insult, Calafiori was subsequently cautioned by the referee for time-wasting.
The late histrionics were ultimately rendered meaningless when time expired, leaving Roma in pole position to advance to semi-finals of the competition ahead of the return leg next Thursday.
He just became my spirit animal.— Mihail (@ximailsemaro) April 9, 2021
He wanted so badly to fall down and roll around, but realized a ball boy can't get a red card.— Emachine24 (@Emachine241) April 8, 2021
I love that his first instinct is to play up the hit like he's going to get a penalty kick from the ball boy— cory (@corgikranek) April 8, 2021
"He just became my spirit animal," joked one fan of the ballboy's late contribution to the fixture, while another hit out at Calafiori's reaction when they said that the player "realized a ballboy can't get a red card".
"I love that his first instinct is to play up the hit like he's going to get a penalty kick from the ballboy," agreed a third online.
The confrontation between Calafiori and the ballboy harkens back to an incident during a Premier League game in January 2013 between Swansea City and Chelsea when former Blues talisman Eden Hazard lashed out at a ballboy who had delayed the restart of play.
Hazard was issued with a red card for his role in the fracas.
There was no such sanction in this case for Calafiori, but one suspects he will have to get used to be being the butt of more than a few jokes on social media ahead of next week's return fixture with the 34-time Dutch champions.Also on rt.com 'I love intelligent ball boys': Mourinho hails quick-thinking youngster for 'assisting' Spurs' Champions League comeback (VIDEO)