Lazio president Claudio Lotito has blasted Manchester United, accusing them of blackmailing families with cash rewards to persuade rising talents to sign with the club.
The verbal attack came only a couple of days after former Lazio youth product Federico Macheda scored a last-gasp winner against Aston Villa on Sunday to fire United back to the top of the Premier League table.
Macheda joined the Red Devils in 2007 from Lazio. The Roman club were unable to offer the player a professional contract because Italian law states a player has to be 18 to sign such a document.
Meanwhile the law in England is different: players can sign a professional deal when they are just 16. This meant Manchester United were not breaking any rules when they signed the striker.
Nevertheless, it has left Lotito furious and he has blasted the English side for taking advantage of the different laws in order to land him.
“We always knew Macheda was a great player, so much so that we did everything to keep him here,” Lotito told Sky Sport Italia. “We tried to tell Manchester United many times, but we couldn’t do anything about it. Our sporting director at the time tried to stop Macheda from leaving. However, it’s the law in place at the moment which allows these shameful things to happen. Manchester United are not new to these attitudes. They always take players using wrong methods without any ethical codes. They tempt parents with big money and offers of work.”