4 more Sporting Lisbon players quit troubled team
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Four more Sporting Lisbon players have rescinded their contracts with the troubled Portuguese club.
Portugal internationals William Carvalho, Gelson Martins, Bruno Fernandes and Dutch striker Das Bost all filed notice with the Portuguese Securities Market Commission on Monday that they were breaking their contracts with Sporting. They all claimed “just cause” in emails sent to the commission.
Goalkeeper Rui Patricio and forward Daniel Podence already quit the team two weeks ago, while coach Jorge Jesus left Sporting and signed with Saudi club Al-Hilal last week.
The mass exit comes at the end of a tumultuous season for Sporting with clashes between players and both of the club’s most radical fans and its president.
Last month, about 50 fans forced their way into the team’s training center and assaulted players and staff. At least one player was injured and the club’s changing room was trashed. Police detained more than 20 suspects in the hours following the incident.
In April, outspoken president Bruno De Carvalho harshly criticized his team’s performance against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League, and pointed out mistakes by individual players on social media.
The players responded by posting a joint statement defending their commitment to the club and questioning the manners of De Carvalho, saying he should support them as their “leader.”
There were recent reports — all unconfirmed — blaming De Carvalho for the attacks by fans on the players and coaches. The president, who reportedly used to belong to a radical fan group, denied the accusations.
Patricio, Carvalho, Martins and Fernandes are all with Portugal in Russia getting ready for their World Cup opener against Spain on Friday.