LONDON - Gennaro Gattuso could face a sizable ban for his headbutt on Tottenham Hotspur assistant coach Joe Jordan after UEFA said on Wednesday it was opening a disciplinary case against the AC Milan captain.
Gattuso grabbed Jordan by the throat and pushed him on the touchline during the Champions League last 16 first leg game at the San Siro, which Tottenham won 1-0, and headbutted him after the final whistle before being pulled away by team-mates.
The 33-year-old former Italy midfielder later apologised for what he called "inexcusable" behaviour while Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp called the Italian firebrand "crazy".
"I know I shouldn't have done it," Gattuso told reporters. "For the whole of the second half I was sworn at by Jordan. I just got crazy, I lost my mind and I take responsibility."
Gattuso, nicknamed "Rino", played for Scottish Premier League side Rangers in the 1997/98 season while Jordan, 59, is a former Scotland striker with a reputation as a hard man who also played for Leeds United, Manchester United and Milan.
"He talked Scottish, I talked Scottish, he's Scottish and I played in Scotland so that's it," Gattuso said.
"I will never tell you what we said to each other but it was my fault."
"I don't know why it all got so silly," said Redknapp. "Gattuso had a flare up with Joe Jordan. He obviously hadn't done his homework. He put his head into Joe's face as well. It was crazy. He lost his head during the game."
Gattuso has already been suspended for the return in London on March 9 after being booked during Tuesday's match for a foul on Steven Pienaar after which he banged his fist on the ground repeatedly in anger knowing he would miss the second leg.
UEFA said in a statement its Control and Disciplinary Body would meet on Monday, Feb. 21 to discuss the case following "incidents" in the game, which flared up on several occasions.
The European governing body has in the past dealt harshly with players who have failed to control their temper.
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was banned for six UEFA matches, two of them deferred, for his improper behaviour in their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2009. The Ivorian Drogba harangued the referee after the final whistle, screaming insults and then launched a foul-mouthed tirade towards a live television camera.comments