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PICK OF THE DAY; Spain v Italy BBC1, 7.45pm.

Byline: James Milton

THERE must be some Uefa regulation that states that a series of increasingly bizarre insults must be traded before any big match, writes James Milton.

Spain's coach Luis Aragones kicked off the jibes ahead of his side's clash with Italy in fine style.

When he was asked about Italy's suspended midfield terrier Rino Gattuso, Aragones said: "If Gattuso is a great player, then I'm a priest."

Gattuso hit back, saying: "I hope he doesn't become a priest at his age. It would be better for him to see out his remaining time as a normal person."

Oscar Wilde still rests easy in his Paris tomb, but Gattuso's riposte does raise some interesting issues.

His implication that members of the clergy are not "normal" deserves to be questioned.

For example, Gavin Peacock has announced that he'll be leaving the BBC at the end of Euro 2008 to become a church minister in Canada.

Apart from his slightly pixieish ears, I reckon Peacock is pretty normal.

That may be an optical illusion, of course, caused by the fact that he often sits next to Mark Lawrenson on Football Focus.

If he ever decides to write his autobiography, I think he should call it From Pundit To Pulpit. It's no Rags To Richie: The Shane Richie Story, but it's not a bad title.

Gattuso is right, though: Aragones probably shouldn't become a priest.

"Father forgive me, for I have sinned." "Ah, don't worry about it, my child. You should hear what I said about Thierry Henry a couple of years back."

CAPTION(S):

You would forgive him, surely? Look at that face
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 22, 2008
Words:272
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