x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Spoilsport winners

Goalkeeper Majed Naser gets another chance. His shameful behaviour on the pitch, while not unique by any means, must change.

No one likes a sore loser, but what about an awful winner? Sports lore is chalk-a-block with tales of talented men and women who, despite their prowess on the pitch or the court, simply can't keep their cool in the heat of battle.

Tennis fans still grimace at the storied antics of the 1980s star John McEnroe, whose blistering of umpires and line judges - his biography, You cannot be serious, is what he repeatedly barked during matches - earned him countless fines and sanctions.

Football is also full of talented whingers. French player Zinedine Zidane's head-butt of Italy's Marco Materazzi is a memorable image of the 2006 World Cup. It was also costly: Zidane was sent off, and Italy beat France in penalties 5-3.

The UAE's own entry into the hall of shame is Emirati goalkeeper Majed Naser - even his own team has called for him to be banned. In March, he slapped an opposing team's coach; in June, he headbutted an opponent in the GCC Champions League final (he had to be escorted from the stadium by police). His is a career riddled with outbursts of unbridled rage.

But Naser has such talent that, as The National reported yesterday, he's been given a second chance with Al Ahli. A real winner would not waste it.